Redefining 5.1: The Introduction

A typical musical performance involves the face–to–face situation with which we're all so familiar: the audience faces the performers while the latter plays for the former. This scenario has worked for millennia, and for two good reasons. First, the audience has all the performers in full view. And second, the performers' instruments project sound in the direction of the audience. Thus, the relationship between performers and audience is symbiotic.

This performance situation has its roots in Ancient Greece, where the audience sat in a theatre whose seating arrangement was in the form of a semi–circle. Since then, many variations on this same theme have been explored, with vast experimentation taking place during the twentieth–century.

Brooklyn's recently–defunct Monkey Town is a modern–day example of performance space altering, with the site–specific focus being on video projection. Musicians/performers sit/stand in the center of the room while the seated/reclining audience encloses them from the periphery of the room. In most cases, the audience is also bathed in visuals.

Redefining 5.1 represents a first prototype in which the performers and audience switch places: the former in each of four corners of a performance space and the latter in the middle. What will be common to further iterations of this project and the current prototype is the headphones, which are engineered to track head movement and stream audio according to head direction.

In the first iteration of this project, speakers will represent the performers and the audience will consist of only two people at a time. Music I've composed will appear in each of the four channels and in the headphones.