SCM – super critical mass

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Super Critical Mass is an ongoing project by Julian Day, Luke Jaaniste and Janet McKay that engages large groups of individual musicians to create acoustic pieces which respond to the architecture and space where they are located and create temporary communities. Using the simple components of voices, percussion or masses of one type of instrument, Day and Jaaniste explore the aural and spatial qualities of spaces as diverse as car parks, libraries, cathedrals, shopfronts, canals, laneways and galleries. They create temporary, participatory, intangible experiences that are explorations of societies, sound and the “relational properties of spaces”.

SCM harnesses emergence, entrainment, open participation and arithmetic behavior to query existing hierarchies and to frame the turbulence of people and sound in space: socio-politics through immersive abstraction. Unlike many musical frameworks it invites involvement by performers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels. Thus, it is simultaneously an abstract take on social practice and a critique of traditional orchestral models, engaging community through workshop and dialogue.

SCM’s process is deeply site-responsive, involving in-situ research and development across multiple site visits and creative sessions. The artists explore the acoustics, architectures, site usage, pedestrian flows and local participant dynamics. From these collaborative interactions, a single memorizable instruction is devised which becomes the schematic that participants individually and collectively interpret. SCM documents both the process and outcomes and exhibits multi-channel videos, scores and other traces of their practice.

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This work was commissioned for Sonic Social, curated by Performance Space at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2014.

About Super Critical Mass

Working across composing, writing and broadcasting, Julian Day is a Sydney-based artist whose practice combines these diverse elements to produce installations and sound pieces which are frequently collaborative and site-specific, and have taken place in New York, the UK, Europe and Australia. Day also performs as AIR (An Infinity Room). Luke Jaaniste is a Brisbane-based writer, philosopher, researcher, composer, installation and sonic artist. Jaaniste works with elements of installation, body-movement exploration, soundtracks, structured improvisation and algorithmic performance, radiophonic works, remixes and ambient works in an exploration of ideas of community, the present moment and ways of living.

Visit the Performance Space homepage