Loup-garou

voice, live audio + video feedback
|
2017
Loup-garou is an audiovisual take on Robert Ashley's 1964 performance piece The Wolfman, in which a diabolical lounge singer controls ear-splitting feedback with tiny vowel sounds. The link between lycanthropy and feedback is not explicitly explored beyond the title of the piece, though I think we can make a connection between the wild and sometimes uncontrolled power of feedback, and the performer's body acting as a conduit of these sonic forces.
Loup-garou takes on these ideas with a slight shift in genre, adding a dash of sci-fi to the horror. Where Ashley's piece title and onstage persona allude to classic horror monsters like werewolves and vampires, Loup-Garou looks towards the history of shape-shifting as a means of astral travel. Through this reading the feedback sounds and images depict conditions for ritual transport, with repetitive pulses and the video feedback motif of the infinite tunnel. Over the course of the piece the feedback processing takes an abstracted journey representing both the cellular body and the vastness of outer space. Visual horror tropes like jump cuts and camera zooms nonetheless maintain some of the connection between Loup-garou's lounge singer and Robert Ashley's original.
The materials of the piece are entirely derived from live feedback, using the singer's microphone as the sonic input and a camera for the images. By aligning the camera with the projection in software, processed images can be overlaid onto the live scene to create projection-mapped feedback. Playing with manipulations like zoom and compositing transform the body and scene over the course of the pieces, moving from uncanny transformations into abstracted visual worlds. The sound processing is manipulated in tandem over the course of the performance, with the singer entering the feedback loop at various points in the piece to help navigate the sonic component of the journey.