Linda Austin – A Head of Time

My sound score for this dance performance was developed through an extended series of improvisations with the company, in rehearsal and various in-progress showings.  I asked Linda to keep an audio diary, collecting the sounds of family events, passing conversations, interactions with strangers and ordinary environments – specific moments in time.  These everyday sounds were mixed live for each performance, along with ambient drones, airy hissing and musical textures.  Additional sounds emerged from multiple on-stage televisions displaying video documents of the choreographic process.

March 23 – 25, 2012, Imago Theater, Portland OR

Children’s Games


Children’s Games was an evening-length performance combining cinematic images with sung and spoken voice, abstract sound, and performative actions.  The piece drew inspiration from the 1560 Breughel painting of the same name, and the 1970 Truffaut film, The Wild Child.

Children’s Games celebrated the associative, fragmentary and irrational aspects of play and explored the traumatic colonizations of wild space.  Onstage, a chorus dressed in the medieval garb of the Breughel painting conduct vocal games and patterns.

Video projections, recorded sound and live voices mingle before giving way to an enigmatic noise band.

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Bandage a Knife (with Linda Austin Dance)

This dance performance, created and co-directed with Linda Austin, was based on a strategic “forgetting” of Seijun Suzuki’s 1967 cult yakuza film, Branded to Kill.  Themes, images and language emerged in our thinking through , writing through, dancing through the freewheeling surrealism of the film.  Against the back wall, projected fragments of video narrative and noir imagery flashed amidst the dancers.

Choreography, including long “non-sequitur” movement sequences, interspersed with moments of dialogue, abstracted violence and shards of action.  Along both sides of the stage, dancers silently mimicked and responded to movements behind semi-transparent black curtains.  Mounted on the ceiling, a television monitor played a continuous hour-long action by Kaj-Anne Pepper (coming slowly unraveled in an all white “weatherbox”). An ambiguous narrative included slow-motion mock battles, chanted syllables and swung lightbulbs.

Much of my original score can be heard on the album Knives.

Co-written and directed by Linda Austin & Seth Nehil

Choreography:  Linda Austin
Sound and video:  Seth Nehil
Dancers: Anne Furfey, Kaj-Anne Pepper, Linda Austin, Lucy Yim, Bonnie Green, Rebecca Harrison.

Performance Works NW, Portland OR, November, 2009

Linda K. Johnson – Promenade

Promenade 40

This outdoor dance performance was the culmination of Linda K Johnson’s year-long artist residency amid the construction of the South Waterfront. Promenade responded to a rectangular park – a blank plot of grass surrounded by cranes and just-finished high-rise buildings. A PA system was mounted on the balcony of a nearby condo, where I mixed ambient tones at a volume just loud enough to integrate with the urban environment. Six performer-participants rode bicycles with portable amps attached.  Circling the park, they played long drones to create a swirling doppler effect. The bicyclists then moved among the audience, playing clusters, streams and bursts of loosely synchronized sound. At various locations, dancers dressed entirely in white performed short interactions, illuminated by a crew holding battery-powered lights on long poles.

South Waterfront, Portland OR

July 2009

Flock & Tumble


This performance combined 6-channel recorded sound with 12 live vocalists and 4 video projections.  The performers flashed colored lights and moved through the large warehouse in simple geometrical configurations. Interacting with spatialized recorded textures, they produced clusters of sound with voices and sound-making objects. Encircling, traveling and moving among the audience, the performers used percussive whacking of boards strapped to feet, rustling of large laurel branches and the tonal friction of small bells dragged across the floor.  Patterns were informed by research into the emergent properties seen in schools of fish or swarms of swallows. On the four projections, colorful flashes of images: painted faces screaming, dancing figures, recombining words.

The space between events is charged. We utilize an erotics of distance: a call connects across space and invigorates a shared medium – our atmosphere. In balance, we utilize an erotics of proximity: the “tuning-in” of closeness, the ways of changing and being changed by those who are near.
Distance and proximity interact as a self-organizing form. I am interested in schools of fish, flocks of swallows, swarms of ants. Spatial distance may be confused and con-fused as a map of temporal distance for making music. Our sounds stay near, keeping an always-same but always-changing form, self-maintaining but allowing for rupture at any moment. This is a proximation of form.
Our ears move in the spaces between events. – {from the program notes}

Video Performers: Linda Austin, Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner (Rikki Rothenberg,

Live performers: Elie Charpentier, Eve Connell,Theodore Holdt, Emma Lipp, Sara Mapelli, Mindy McGovern,Peter Musselman,Sandra Preston, Kelly Rauer, Morgan Ritter, Kersti Werdell.

Costume & Makeup: Diana Lang

Movement consultant: Linda K. Johnson

AudioCinema, Portland OR
November 2008

Linda Austin Dance – Circus Me Around


My original score for this dance piece featured 4-channel sound, spread throughout a reclaimed warehouse. Audiences were seated in one of three performance areas while simultaneous dances could be glimpsed through gaps. Three times, audiences switched areas and the repeating dance was witnessed from a new perspective and with new music.

Portland, OR, Oct. – Nov. 2007

Linda Austin and I reconfigured the solo from this performance as a video and sound installation called Circus Me (A Round).