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Michael Norris: Blindsight;...Embedded video
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Human beings have a fragile relationship with reality: our beliefs are formed from a disordered stream of sensory impressions that flood our synapses. Although our brain is normally very good at packaging this into something that can get us through the day, certain pathological circumstances reveal the tenuous nature of reality. Blindsight is a condition in which a patient cannot “see” visual stimuli, and yet their body instinctively senses and reacts to them. This suggested a musical image: the two winds recite simple chordal gestures, which the strings reflect through a distorting mirror — “sensing” without “seeing”. The piano acts as an intensifying agent, sending flurrying signals down tangled pathways, and releasing static charges through the system.
blindsight was written for the Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Vienna, as part of the Sammlung Essl Music Series 2009.
Commissioned by the Sammlung Essl, Vienna
25 Apr 2009: Performed by Ensemble Pierrot Lunaire Wien at Schömerhaus near Vienna, Austria
09 Apr 2011: SMP Ensemble: XPΩMATA – COLOURS
07 Nov 2011: Stroma: New Sounds from New Zealand