STELLAR METAL ARC /// STELARC + BOLT ENSEMBLE

The Robert Salzer Series

STELLAR METAL ARC

 

STELARC

BOLT ENSEMBLE

 

Legendary performance artist Stelarc delivers an enigmatic robotic arm performance, where Stelarc and his apparatuses generate sound mechanically ­— sometimes in involuntary ways.

This sound world elides into a graphic score by JOLT Artistic Director James Hullick — with the score being performed by JOLT’s pioneering chamber ensemble, the BOLT Ensemble.

BOLT ENSEMBLE
Peter Neville /// drum kit + percussion
Miranda Hill /// bass
Gideon Brazil /// sax + woods
Zac Johnston /// violin
Hullick /// piano + electric guitar

Sound Engineer /// Michael Hewes
Interactivity Engineering /// Richie Allen

 

REVIEW

‘STELARC AND THE BOLT ENSEMBLE LIVE’

The Wire No.463, London, 2022, Philip Brophy. An excerpt:

(…)

James has produced a graphic score which extends Stelarc’s sweeping dovetails of delirious portamento pitching. The score is broken into around ten sections, concatenated as if it’s a ‘song set’; half atonal shimmers of sliding pitch confluence, half sudden eruptions of jazz-rock with surprising echoes of Sony Sharrock. As these five performers vibe and vamp, Stelarc’s five fingers open and shut with a series of amplified clicks. The contrast between these two ‘networked’ energies becomes clear: Stelarc is essentially trapped and suspended in his rig, becoming performatively disabled rather than corporeally enhanced, as per the augmentative rhetoric of post-body theories circa 2000. Comparatively, Bolt Ensemble musically soar and careen.

Stelarc as disabled? Let’s unpack that. While his experiments in extending muscular and neurological capabilities invite reflection on how artistic practice intersects with scientific investigation, all nascent technological developments can seem impractical and awkward. Stelarc’s high-tech spectacles often mute this perspective, aiming as they do for futurologist potentiality. But once you place such an operational figure in the context of something ‘traditional’ like a contemporary music ensemble rooted in Modernist sensibilities, the clash generates a fruitful dialogue between the two contrasting notions of radical progressivism.

 

SUPPORTED BY

This project was supported by The Robert Salzer Foundation. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

   

 

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