• Juliana Hodkinson
  • Prompt, immediate, now / very restrained and cautious (2013)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • cl.perc.vn.vc. electronics
  • 15 min

Programme Note

Prompt, immediate, now / very restrained and cautious was written for the opening of the group exhibition Embassy Reconstructed, curated by Åsa Stjerna, at the Nordic Embassies in Berlin, during Transmediale 2013. The piece was commissioned by Elektronmusikstudion, Stockholm, with support from the Danish Arts Foundation (Statens Kunstfond).

The audio consists of samples derived from press conferences, interviews, public speeches and publicly available communications, spoken by presidents, foreign ministers and foreign policy advisors of several countries, past and present. The speeches are mainly chosen for the way that they use language and vocal tenor in relation to the task of diplomacy and international relations; the selection ranges from formal restraint through extreme vagueness to national promotion, public regret and open threat.

The sonic relationship between the speeches, in their varying recording qualities, and the instrumental music varies throughout the piece. The instrumental writing stands in contrast to the unmeasured rhetorical style of the voices. Sometimes there is a clear mimetic attempt to bring the two sound worlds together, with the instruments modeling their sounds on the texture and rhythms of the speech. At other times, the instrumental mode is more autonomous.