I’m delighted that my bid to the Arts Council England has been successful and they and Preston City Council will be supporting Balconi, a live performance that will feature the work of my friends and colleagues Simon Partridge and Jon Aveyard.

Balconi is a site-specific live music performance of a specially commissioned piece conceived in direct response to corona virus and performed in a COVID-safe environment on 14th It exploits the architecture of Preston’s Harris Museum and Art Gallery, spacing musicians across four floors around a central column of space.

Remote audiences inhabit a choice of three immersive 1st person perspectives via three (what we term) ‘avatars’ led by Jon Aveyard: artists wearing head cameras and binaural microphones who take them on a journey through the space capturing the event unfolding within the visual and acoustic perspectives afforded by different regions of the building.

Balconi is intended to resonate with some of the early TV images of the pandemic seen in the UK; citizens of Naples and Tuscany coming together singing and playing from their balconies and windows: those scenes are echoed in the architecture of the Harris. Balconi both represents that moment in time and demonstrates the challenges of lockdown for human communication and artistic interaction.

The specially commissioned music, ‘Self Isolating Clouds’ has been created by Simon Partridge and the Cold Bath Street Band for a socially distanced environment, where musicians can still deliver a live music performance and express the new forms of communal bonding. While representing the sense of loss and dislocation experienced by many during the Covid outbreak, this performance will ultimately offer hope in the persistence of human interaction even under the most adverse conditions.

The piece will be filmed from multiple perspectives and recorded with binaural microphones that will constantly move throughout the performance to make the viewer feel as if they are in that space. The immersive quality experience delivered via screens and headphones will enable audiences to feel that they are journeying through the acoustic and architectural environment within which the performance occurs.

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