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