This was my second time in Philly performing on and through my cell phone or “pocket calculator” as Kraftwerk put it a while back. This night was a moment in time that was created by all, not just by me, the performer.
I was flooded with text messages during the show at Dream Castle. I morphed into a processing center, like a switchboard operator. My brain was firing fast as it struggled to keep up with the demands of the temporary matrix created by me and the audience.
Simultaneously, I composed music and rhythms via apps on my cell. Did I mention someone in the audience kept calling me? It was strange, but interesting to experience from a performance perspective and from a sound perspective, especially as I began to sculpt and loop the feedback coming from the call.
Regarding the texts, I copied the notable ones into my text reader app. It’s called Natural Reader and it reads text aloud. So while Rachel, who is now my virtual bandmate, dictates the incoming messages back to the audience, I sample and cut up the words, sometimes making rhythm, sometimes making melody, sometimes making poetry.
After I finished I was very sweaty and my stomach hurt. I don’t know why, but I felt kind of ripped apart from all the processing. I determined that I was an embodiment of “synthesis”. A word I feel underscores how we should proceed with tech instead of the singularity as preeched by Ray Kurtzweil. Synthesis, as defined by RAFT, is humans facilitating and teaching technology instead of technology baby sitting us.
On the way home the next day on the Mega Bus, I wrote in my notebook that creativity and performance is no longer the product of ego.
I think this night was a good example of that. Me, the performer, became somewhat irrelevant. The group effort was the crux of the creation and moment. We took technology to new heights, because these heights were human.
My work as a Cell Phonist is indeed a work, but one in progress. It’s coming along and it’s changing my brain, revealing so much to me about what’s possible in the future by embracing the existing means of tech and the human condition.
Thanks to those in Philly whose minds are so open and willing. Until the next time.