As a duo, Amy Cutler and Graham Dunning perform live improvisations with an evolving set which includes deadly nightshade “film soup”, greenhouse field-recordings after dark, visuals with toy goo (aka “glow in the dark ectoplasm”), tape hiss, Dunning’s invented instruments, such as the Featherphone, and the B-movie sounds achieved from just a bow on a pinecone. The collaboration is based on the artists’ shared sense of tinkering.
The live set is an outgrowth from the daily collaboration of recorded films and sound pieces, PILOTS, online here. PILOTS were named after the pilot fish, the spiny-finned jackfish said to precede the shark, but also pilot holes, pilot lights, and the pilot episode or experimental broadcast. PILOTS are a series of lock-down windowsill experiments, B-roll jingles/idents, mudlarks, and petridish horizons. Like scratches or rushes, they are micro-improvisations which test out environments. Inspired by early hand-cranked cinema specimens, they often use household objects, freezer ice, phosphorescence, reading lights, and plant matter. They also feature Cutler’s collections of magic lantern and 35mm slides from private and public archives and botanical collections of the 1940s-1970s, turned into murky re-interpretations of hothouse morality tales.
As a live performance the set is different each time, but is evolving to include plant spores, archival footage, safety diagrams, glitchy swamps, home-made torches, lullaby machines, test tubes, and creepy pastorals of the public domain. The genre so far appears to be science fiction.
Below: first performance of the project, a live stream for Katie G O’ Neill’s PANOPTICON: I Am An Instrument.