OVERTONES  |  2009

Location:  Palazzo Fume, Orvieto, Italy.
Date:  19 December 2009
Media: Glass vessels, black plinths, water, fire, shadow, light, musical transmissions

OVERTONES was conceived from a passion for exploring and interpreting time, mythology, symbolism, and the commonalities shared by diverse cultures. The original concept for OVERTONES arose from a short tonal composition written by Italian composer Walter Branchi in 2006, wherein the entire piece of music consists of one continual note surrounded by its overtones. Overtones emanate from a single note and are perceived by the listener as layers of beauty (harmonics) arising from one original tone. The potential cultural symbolism of OVERTONES is exhilarating: a single tone emanates as multiple layers of harmonious sound, the depth and richness witnessed by us only if we pause to listen.

My task as a visual artist was to translate the tonal concept of OVERTONES into the visual language of performance, shadow and reflection – overtones of the physical objects we see – such that the cultural, audible and visual interpretations of OVERTONES coalesced into a cohesive original new work involving symbolism, sound and sight.

OVERTONES was conceived as an ephemeral work incorporating performance, free-standing reflective surfaces, water, fire, shadow, and musical transmissions. The event commenced one hour prior to sunset and ended one hour after sunset, the period when “visual overtones” reverse from day to night: light transitions into darkness, and shadow becomes reflection. At the end of the performance, as the sounds of the city take over again, the audience thus recognizes that ‘harmonics’ are emanating even from the ambient city sounds – audible overtones of the city itself.

Collaborators: Kristin Jones, Walter Branchi and Mark K. Johnson

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