Playing The Beetles

Playing The Beetles, Quartet and Four Beetles


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Playing The Beetles operates through a ritualistic collaboration between live beetles and a quartet of improvisers, paired by color-coding. It is a structured improvisation performing musical interpretations of insect behavior and magnifying questions of anthropomorphic identification. For many societies, ancient and modern, pentagrams have symbolized the human body in relation to the universe. Apart from its Pagan connotations, pentagrams can be found in iconography such as da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and various Hermetic traditions. The scarab beetle (scarabaeus sacer) was regarded as sacred in ancient Egypt, symbolizing transformation and resurrection, and is notably found as an analogy for man in the works of Franz Kafka and Kōbō Abe.

Premiered 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, homebuilt instruments
Daniel Fishkin (Dandelion Fiction) – daxophone
Odetta Bess Hartman – violin
Gryphon Rue – saw, percussion