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From my earliest work (beginning in the early 60s at the University of Michigan) I have kept detailed sketches as a part of my predilection for detailed and "quasi-architectural" planning of all of my works. This tendency was much less formalized in the early years, but, in the case of Ping, there was a great deal of proposing, trying out, considering inter-relationships between different aspects of the entire project, and this required making notations of various sorts and at various levels of clarity and specificity. Fundamental to all of this in the case of Ping, was the Beckett text and my efforts to understand it not only in its detail and larger purposes but also in regard to its temporal nature. Among the sketches, then, there is a considerable attention paid to time: proportion, scale, and the fitting of elements that seemed necessary into a "scenario" that would present them in an ideally integrated experience. Needless to say, at that time I had had very little such experience - experience with planning and understanding at formative levels, the ways in which visual and auditory materials worked, independently and, more importantly in this context, in cooperation. I at first, considered the possibility of using a montage of readings of a number of elderly men. My thought was that I would record, say, 5 older men reading Beckett's text and then intercut these so that each of Beckett's phrases would come from a different expressive and sonic "space". Early experiments with this idea made it clear that it was not a practical possibility. So my next approach was to envision a complex and quasi-improvisatory performance that would involve fixed elements (a film and a prerecorded sound segment) and proportional structures within which behaviors musical and visual could take place. There was to be a specific, proportional "form" to the whole, a form that brought into satisfying relationships the film, the prerecorded tape, the live musicians’ performances, the modification in real-time of their sounds by musical technician-performers, and the work of a team of four projectionists that handled the two slide projectors and the color and prismatic modifications of the text images that they were projecting. So there was sound resource, sound modification, visual resource, visual modification, and textual fidelity all to be understood, planned for and managed. The sketches are a record of my efforts to explore all of these issues and to foresee the ways in which they could be used to satisfying effect. It is worth mentioning that some of these concerns were more than normally "outside the box" for a young musician at that time: the use and the effect of color, the use and effect of complex processing of the spectral nature of instrumental sound.
Based on: Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989. Ping
Film shoot plans. One can see in some of the examples the film script showed the progress of the full Beckett text in fragments at the left edge of each page. Three horizontal lines delimited 15-second passages of time and detailed comments were provided explaining what was to occur during (in this case) the 18th minute of the film. Around 18:07.5, there was to be a "cut to very fast continuous succession of antic posses within box). As it turns out, these were usually 1 - 3 frames in duration, I believe. This rapid passage then cut to black at about 18:14. At 18:19, a similar rapid burst of color fields is indicated for about 2 seconds, then a cut to the "Standard Pose" in a normal view followed immediately, at about 18:27, by a light blue color rectangle that then faded to white-out at 18:37.5. There is then a cut to the Standard Pose, though slightly out of focus. On other pages, the placement of other interrupting images or alterations in the way the boxed figure is represented are described in a similar way. Occasionally details regarding rapid intercutting or cross-fading are provided.
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Shared Shelf: 3975602
Film, Audio, Video and Digital Art
Performing Arts (including Performance Art)
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Digital Library Development Program, UC San Diego, La Jolla, 92093-0175 (https://lib.ucsd.edu/digital-library)
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- Rights Holder
- Reynolds, Roger, 1934-
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