ISSUE Project Room : an open and versatile environment in which established and emerging artists conduct, exhibit and perform new and site-specific work
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andrewcsmith on 01/18/2010 at 04:30PM
There's a certain impulse among many improvisors to cease playing when it feels right. We (the audience, the performer) are waiting for that dénouement so that when it comes we can say it was good, it's over now, we know it's over, we can clap.
Cellist/vocalist Audrey Chen and trumpeter Nate Wooley had this dénouement which, as any free-improvisation junkie can guess, consisted of some trumpet howls and bow scratching followed by some long tones and softer swells. Except this came about two thirds of the way through the set. For the next few minutes, Chen just closed her eyes and waited, while the rest of us waited to start clapping. She wasn't about to allow it; she picked up the bow again and began bowing the side of her cello, as if to say that ending felt too right to be permissible.
Many improvisors will go ahead with an impulse; it seems that Chen and Wooley's impulse is to question their own impulses. The actual ending, marching off like some military parade, eventually came against all odds and logic.
Check out their performance below: