Cramond performance description
Prior to the performance, the disused military building where the performance was to take place was prepared in two ways, in collaboration with Sam Collier. Firstly, a rust-covered steel shutter, found on the ground a few metres from the building, and apparently originating from one of the old anti-aircraft gun emplacements, was masked and then scrubbed with a wire brush to create seven lines (click here
for an image). The shutter was then moved inside the building (click here
for an image). Secondly, seven white lines were painted on the interior of the building, on the inside of one of the window holes (click here
for an image).
The performance began with a single repeated note played on a steel-strung acoustic guitar at a constant tempo (click here
for an image). This was then joined by the same note plucked on a cello at the same tempo. Around this point, the noise of a baby or toddler could be heard from the area of the audience. The performance gradually increased in volume, until both guitar and cello strings were being plucked with as much force as the performers' hands could create (click here
for an image). A metal slide, placed over one of the fingers on the guitar player's left hand, was then used to mute and strike some of the guitar strings, producing buzzing, rattling and percussive sounds. The guitar playing gradually drifted out of time with the cello, the notes becoming increasingly irregular. A cello bow, held by its pointed end in the cello player's left hand, was then applied to the cello's strings, just above the bridge, creating a muting effect. Next, the bow was scraped across the strings, whilst the cello player's right hand continued to pluck. After this point, the cello plucking became more irregular and the notes less dense, whilst the bow, still held in the cello player's left hand, was scraped more and more rapidly across the cello strings. Eventually, the cello plucking ceased altogether, and the bow was grasped with both hands, one at either end, thereby increasing the pressure applied to the strings. The cello bowing then continued, with the left hand releasing the bow and the pressure gradually becoming less strong, so that the sound of the cello decreased in volume (click here
for an image). During this time, the guitar was struck less and less often, until it ceased to be played altogether. As the cello decreased further in volume, the sound of an aeroplane flying over the island could be heard. The cello bowing then finished, and the performance ended.