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The Metalization of a Dream

Still from Metalization of a Dream

Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005) was a Scottish artist who worked in sculpture, collage and print. Works such as the 1947 collage, I was a Rich Man’s Plaything, associate him with Pop Art. The Metallization of a Dream, a compilation of Paolozzi’s early work with monochrome and colour reproductions, was published in 1963. The title is taken from a statement that Paolozzi made in 1961 while teaching in Hamburg — “The search for arch-types to aid the metallisation of the dream.” 

Composer Duncan MacLeod has written a piece with the same title and is an open form sound-work responding to the dada and surrealist-inspired Paolozzi's collages. Like Paolozzi’s collages, this work incorporates ‘found objects’, in this case John Taverner’s In Nomine and the writings of Gertrude Stein that are reimagined, juxtaposed and intertwined with composed and indeterminate materials alongside soundscape recordings to form an equivocal sound world. This performance features a specially commissioned video by visual artist Claire Orme, who creates an ethereal virtual stage for the Galvanize Ensemble to perform in. At first dispersed and scattered, the musicians begin to overlay and unite as they journey deeper into the composition. The colours, structure and atmosphere are a nod to Paolozzi’s collages, visually encapsulating the inspirations behind the composition. 

Duncan's work was premiered at the Lit & Phil by The Galvanize Ensemble and Fretwork viols in February 2019. With the support of Lit & Phil music librarian James Smith, musicians of Galvanize were able to create a performance utilizing the amazing spaces and acoustics of the Library: from viols in the Green Room, to a singer walking the balconies, with live art by Claire Orme projected above the audience and the ensemble of ten performers.

In 2020, the work was performed live at City University London and online, for nonclassical and nottNOISE festival with Nottingham University. On January 29th 2021, it will be shown at Aberdeen Art Gallery, as part of Sound festival, Scotland.

Duncan MacLeod's practice utilises both acoustic and electronic forces. His output encompasses concert music, cross-arts collaboration (film, fine art and contemporary dance), computer music and electro-acoustic composition. Recent projects have included experimentation with spectator immersion and the blurring of spatial boundaries between ‘performance platform’ and audience. His work is commissioned, performed and broadcast internationally by amongst others the Arditti Quartet, duoDorT, Fretwork, Galvanize Ensemble, Goldberg Ensemble, Jane Chapman, Juice, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Okeanos, Making Music, Piano Circus and Tate Modern. Duncan is also an active performer (voice/electronics) and in 2015 formed the trio SounDKard with Sarah Dacey (voice) and Kate Halsall (keyboards).

He is currently Assistant Professor in Music Composition at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Claire Orme is an artist, curator and musician. She is founder of Flat38 Gallery, and a co-Director of Margate Festival. Specialising in performance art and sound installation, Claire employs her skills as a pianist and violin player to investigate the narrative contours of spaces and objects. Much of her work is research-led, utilising archive material and interviews to explore her interest in perhaps overlooked rural and urban histories.

Galvanize Ensemble is an improvisation ensemble of musicians based in Newcastle Upon Tyne and London, run by pianist Kate Halsall. They work with composers, artists, film and text to create installations, radio, cross disciplinary performances & exhibitions. The new works for their current project Happenstance, by Duncan MacLeod, Joanna Ward and Carmel Smickersgill were commissioned by pianist Kate Halsall and been made possible through funding from Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation’s Open Creator and The RVW Trust.

The new video version of The Metalization of a Dream along with interviews with composer Duncan MacLeod and visual artist Claire Orme will be premiered at 1pm on Friday December 18th 2020. The link to the three videos is available by clicking HERE.





About the author

Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey is a composer and arranger, is a member of the Board of the Lit & Phil and chair of the Marketing Committee.

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