Environmental Dialogue

2015
Pauline Oliveros

This special edit was created by Pauline Oliveros for Wave Farm's broadcast series "Climactic Climate," commissioned by Ö1 Kunstradio - Radiokunst in Vienna, Austria.

Writes Oliveros, "I like to listen to the weather - its songs and rhythms. Sometimes the sounds of weather join me in my performances. Naples 1981 on tour with Elaine Summers Dance and Film Co. We were performing a dance piece about the wind. We were in the Castle of the Egg on an outdoor plaza. I was playing my accordion with wind like passages for the dance. The wind started to rise - soon we began to feel particles of sand from the beach below, the intensity of the swirling waves of sand soon drove us all off stage and inside to safety.

I was in Guelph Ontario for a solo performance with my accordion. During the day at my hotel I was watching the largest media event in history - The funeral of Princess Diana. In Ontario thousands of people gathered in a stadium to watch this event. That evening as a prelude to my concert I invited the audience to join me in an exploration of the energies of two extraordinary women - Princess Diana and Mother Theresa. Mother Theresa had also passed a couple of weeks prior to Princess Diana. We were in a large square Anglican Church with beautiful stained glass windows and a good resonance. I thought this would be an appropriate tribute to these to powerful women.

Just as I explained my process of performance to the audience and was saying "I have to listen to everything all the time and include what I am hearing in my performance" there was the first low rumble of thunder. The audience sighed audibly and I began to play. There were sudden flashes of lightning that lit up. the stained glass windows in wonderful irregular rhythms. Thunder growled and rolled. I felt like I was playing with God's percussion and light show. Somewhere towards the middle of the performance two (not one but two) of the loudest thunder claps I ever heard sounded directly over the Church! As my forty-five minute performance began to end the storm tapered off and ended with me.

The next day I read that not one but two tornadoes had blown through the town. What a magnificent duet. In the review of the concert the critic noted the storm as well. Maybe Princess Diana and Mother Theresa had spoken.

A performance of my Environmental Dialogue took place with players from the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello Venetzia on February 6, 2015 during a wind storm with twenty players from the Conservatorio and the Venice Ca' Foscari University. Players were mixed Jazz, classical instrumentalists and singers plus a young girl of eleven years playing toy piano under the direction of Paolo Zavagna of the Conservatorio and Ca' university Foscara under the direction of Daniele Goldoni. The beautiful old building that houses the Conservatorio became activated by the wind and the banging doors and windows became an engaging percussive part of the musical dialogue."