standard stare (2018 ~>)

a work-in-progress by Ivan Cheng,

with Gailė Griciūtė, Julia Reidy and Marcus Whale.

A standard stare might be one of passive but regulated observation, an infinite scroll with a range of subjects. Relying also on its homophone, stair, the work also invokes architecture and infrastructure as basis for perception.

Standard Stare continues with artist Ivan Cheng's interest in subjectivity and privacy brought into forms of public. Erosion, abrasion, misunderstanding, and the compass of desire course through the work, which works to question the thing that is being revealed. Speech, song or utterance are also occasionally deprioritised in doing so.

In September 2018, Cheng invited artists and composers Gailė Griciūtė (LT), Julia Reidy (AU), and Marcus Whale (AU) to join him in beginning to develop a new work for stage, interested in both improvisation around the 'jazz standard' and social standards. The ensemble, of guitar, piano, and sound mixer, suggests a traditional accompaniment, but has rehearsed maintaining the players’ idiosyncratic methods of playing. This first stage showing will be of the results of their residency in Druskininkai, and begins with a question of accessibility. The composer collaborators were joined by dancer Jokūbas Nosovas and celebrated local singers Evita Cololo and Viktorija Čaplikaitė.

There are two cores in the process - the methodology of working musically with ‘standards’; negotiating, improvising, or fixing arrangements around songs, and the composition of stylized, spoken texts about erosion, access, and abrasion, which was the basis of forming avatar like characters, portrayed only by the musicians who wield instruments.

Marcus Whale plays the character Sandy, the adopted child of three carpenters, who might also be a highway. He also plays with a mixer and feedback. Julia Reidy, a 12 string guitar player, portrays Corgi, referring to the species of dog and a received idea of the british monarch’s pet, fixated on reading words in the sky. Prepared pianist Gailė Griciūtė plays a Salad Bar, a steel, powered contraption with desiccated and chilled contents, on display and constantly lacking. In the work as it developed so far, two young local singers formed a chorus, named Semi-Daphne, referring to the myth of the woman transfigured into a tree. They functioned as scenic elements occupying ambiguous position in the work. The issue of what form of voicing the songs need to take is one that needs to be developed; what texture of interpretation beyond a flattened ‘adult contemporary’. The bodies, in this first development, was alternately objectified or disappearing.

abridged video

2018 09 21 1800

Druskininkų jaunimo centras

Veisiejų g. 17, Druskininkai


Marcus Whale as Sandy

Julia Reidy as Corgi

Gailė Griciūtė as Salad Bar

Jokūbas Nosovas as Demi-Jacob

Evita Cololo & Viktorija Čaplikaitė as Semi-Daphne

Ivan Cheng as Quasi-Controller

featuring ‘Ave’, ‘Blue’, ‘Slow Down’, ‘Call me up’ by Marcus Whale
and ‘Futurity Is’ by Julia Reidy

Thanks to: Juozas Kazlauskas, Deividas Laukionis, Marius Dovidauskas, Ana Ablamonova

Organisers: Druskininkai Artists' Residence, Lietuvos Kompozitorių Sąjunga, Operomanija

With support from: Lietuvos kultūros taryba

photographs Tomas Terekas