On 1 April 2016, the College Symphony Orchestra presented Metamorphonics, featuring video by Yiwen Gong '16, Saulius Slezas, and Elliot Forrest with Dance Choreography by Rose Flachs. The orchestra featured conductor Ng Tian Hui and the event took place in the Chapin Auditorium.
The Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra hosted a multimedia extravaganza including live electronic sound, film, dance and interactive video. Exploring the theme of technology in the lives of people, the production began with the inspiration of generated by three works of music for orchestra and electronics.
Inspired by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's Cantus Arcticus (Song of the Arctic)
MHC student Yiwen Gong '16 directed and produced three short films exploring the theme. The first film was a meditation on the Kino-eye theory of the Russian Filmmaker, Dziga Vertov. Using historical documentary footage, the film explored in chronological order, the introduction of technologies over time and our interactions with them. The second was a short abstract video exploring the life of an ordinary person in everyday life. Shot from a first-person perspective, the film explored the way in which our lives today are saturated with technology. The third and final film was a dreamscape exploring a young woman's reservations about her relationship with technology.
World premiere of Grey Noise Litanies by Valley composer Gregory W. Brown
The orchestra then explored the world of live electronic music with the world premiere of Grey Noise Litanies by Valley composer Gregory W. Brown. Featuring music for turntable, digitally enhanced solo cello and orchestra, the piece played with the line of separation between the analog and the digital world of sound.
The music of John Adam's "Fearful Symmetries"
Finally, the music of John Adams's Fearful Symmetries inspired an original video by world-renowned video artist, Elliott Forrest, and a new dance featuring video by Saulius Slezas and choreography by Rose Flachs. Forrest has become a regular staple of video presentations by such familiar names as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.
Flach's new work spoke to the developing body of research encompassing the effects of technology as a means of communication and socialization. In a collaborative project including a visual designer, choreographer and seven dancers, Flachs used projection, sensors, cell phones and stop-motion animation together with dance to explore how our society is caught in a web of technology, examining the question of how a person's addiction to their cell phones affects their ability to meet and mingle with others.