The Navigator

The Warp Whistle Project is working hard on a cross-disciplinary performance piece that will debut on January 21st at the Caplan Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Commissioned by the Network for New MusicThe Navigator will feature performers from the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. 

Special thanks to the University of the Arts School of Music and School of Theater for aiding in the facilitation of set design/construction, lighting, sound design, interactive electronics, documentation, and promotion. 

From Asa Smith's Illustrated Astronomy, 1848

From Asa Smith's Illustrated Astronomy, 1848

About the work

The Navigator is a hybrid work of art: a staged collision of sonic and visual information.  The visual components are inspired by Asa Smith’s 19th century astronomical illustrations: outdated planetary charts that served a didactic purpose for his readers. Additional source materials include 1950s science fiction stage sets, clock parts, and mythological scientific instruments. Tensions between the hand-made and the mechanical, illusion and artifice, and function and futility, positions The Navigator as an amalgamation of past representations of ideological futures. Similar to make-believe, the viewer is consumed by an experience on the verge of rupture.  

As The Navigator performs its various functions, its true purpose remains enigmatic.  While every journey has a destination, The Navigator’s priority is the voyage.  In “Wind Up”, the music is energetic and intricate, influenced by strains of minimalism, yet the question of mechanical malfunction begins early on as kinks enter into the clockwork precision.  “Unlock” is an hypnotic journey through nocturnal spaces - pointillistic starbursts of sound map a course out of the darkness and into the light.  In the final leg, once a tenuous signal is established, The Navigator is ready to “Transmit” to its final destination.

In context

In day to day life, we put the material world to use: cars, coffee makers, and cell phones, to name a few.  These objects are typically defined by the unique purpose they serve: cars take us places, coffee makers fuel the morning routine, and cellphones . . . do most of the rest.  However, philosophers have argued that we never truly see these objects for what they actually are until they break. A broken cellphone no longer able to serve any of its myriad purposes, can be seen for what it truly is: a chocolate-bar-sized piece of glass and aluminum housing an intricate array of precious metals and circuit boards.  Without a purpose, the object’s techne is revealed.  

Historically, art objects have served the purpose of glorifying the spiritual, entertaining the masses, and representing ideals of truth, beauty, and power. . In the early years of the 20th century, with the wheels of modernity in full swing, the purpose, appearance, and function of western art was set on a new course. No longer fixated on mimesis, artists began working in opposition to the dominant trend that art should copy nature. As The Navigator charts its own 21st century voyage, its destination remains a question and, in doing so, imparts something else about its true nature.

From the Network for New Music:

You won’t want to miss this unique, cross-disciplinary performance, where you will hear and see "The Navigator", a new multi-media work by composer Paul Schuette and visual artist Mary Laube, side-by-side in U. of Arts state-of-the-art black box theater. The Network Ensemble will also respond to iconic graphic scores by William Kraft and Gyorgy Ligeti/Rainer Wehinger.

Advance ticket sales: $20 Regular/15 senior/10 student (at the door; $25/20/10)
University of the Arts students and faculty FREE ADMISSION

 

Teasers: