• Anne

Last night, an image came to mind so I made a quick pencil sketch of it:

There is a curtained stage with a podium, on top of which is a single Dynaudio monitor speaker. In the back, the speaker is plugged into something behind the curtain, presumably an electrical outlet. The audience is comprised entirely of ears, specifically the right ear. There is no person operating the speaker and the ears are not attached to heads, they are disembodied entirely. It can't be determined from the setting whether or not the speaker is producing any sound, but the ears are all in place, either already taking in the sound or waiting to do so, after which the question arises, "if there are no heads to perceive the sound, then are the ears actually listening?"

The piece has the title Modern Fascism since modern authoritarian propaganda transmits quickly and easily through social media. Although social media is primarily a visual medium, the method for conveying inauthentic messages to a large group of people involves the use of "bots," who have no face or personality (and therefore imageless). When individuals become ensnared in a web of untruth, we are no longer active participants in a two-way conversation, but instead become passive recipients, only waiting for an emotional "fix" the same way addicts do. Addicts in the full expression of their addiction are themselves disembodied in a metaphorical sense, and in a literal sense when they die from their condition.

So this image is also a description of the nature of addicts, and the addictive nature of propaganda & social media, as well as an observation that the content or message of the propaganda is irrelevant to the listener, or even the speaker. More important is the constructed situation of "something speaking and something listening." The human-ness has been removed.

  • Anne

I used to be totally uncomfortable with the idea of live streaming, so it took me practically the entire length of the pandemic to finally put a live stream together. That performance is visible on YouTube in it's entirety (click here for the unedited performance), but now you can also just view the individual songs:

Stella By Starlight


I'll Remember April

Tell Me A Bedtime Story

I am so grateful to Ray Obiedo, who provided the excellent large diaphragm mics and also manned the streaming setup during the performance. Also many thanks to Alvon Johnson for being there serendipitously and providing great atmosphere!

Of course, this is a long winded way of saying the next live stream is coming up on Friday, June 4th to celebrate the beginning of summertime (scholastically speaking at least) - so please stay tuned for more details as the days approach and in the meantime, please enjoy the music linked above as well as this lovely collection of photos that Ray took during the session (below)...

Thank you so much! Looking forward to seeing you online again soon!

Updated: 5 days ago

It may be too early to say that we have rounded the corner with the pandemic but I certainly do feel a change of mood overall.

Teaching during the pandemic was stressful at times, especially when we were first on lockdown, but we managed to maintain our sense of culture and connection. Looking back at photos from the past year, I evidently wanted to memorialize with a photo every new variation of my online setup (lol!), so here is the collection. in no particular order:

For the gear heads among you, here's what I have been using on and off throughout the year, depending on whether I was working from the acoustic piano (Pleyel P127) or the keyboard (Yamaha P125): Blue Yeti mic in Aztec Brown (color is important lol!), in the beginning I used my iPhone 7 with Atumtek selfie stand for the overhead camera but later switched to a Logitech C920 once it finally arrived (in November!), MacBook Pro 13" (2019) with a Satechi multi-port USB hub, Twelve South Adjustable Hi-rise laptop stand, a 2011 iMac, a 10" iPad from 2018 with an Apple Pencil, Dazzne D50 video lighting kit (I haven't used them very often, but as work changes from being always online to just making videos I'm sure I will use them more), a matched pair of SE7 small diaphragm condenser mics, and finally, the UAudio Apollo Twin x audio interface. Also, we can't forget the mic stands and assorted cables.

As we make our way to the end of this crazy historical moment, I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to all of you students who persisted with cultivating your musical abilities through unpredictably difficult times. You have shown yourselves to be very strong musicians indeed!