Playing The Beetles


For many societies, ancient and modern, pentagrams have symbolized the human body in relation to the universe, and scarabs (beetles), transformation and rebirth. Playing The Beetles operates through a ritualistic collaboration between beetles and human improvisers paired by color coding. Each human improviser has composed a personal score related to sections of a Plexiglas pentagram. The behavior of live beetles determines the musical choices made by each improviser as the beetles navigate the pentagram—for example, a beetle on its back might cause a horn player to swell a note, or a violinist to bow glissandos.

Performed at The Calder Foundation’s Oh, you mean cellophane and all that crap, McKittrick Hotel, 5 May 2012

Dave Nuss (No-Neck Blues Band, Sabbath Assembly) – cello
Gabrielle Herbst (GABI) – voice
Aaron Moore (Volcano the Bear) – percussion, water bottle
Daniel Fishkin (Dandelion Fiction) – daxophone
Odetta Bess Hartman – violin
Gryphon Rue – saw, percussion