Incredible composer and wonderful friend Hannah Kendall has made a new work inspired by Network Bed - the work will be performed for the first time at Oxford University as part of the celebrations for International Women’s Day. See more here.
Network Bed is inspired by my artist friend Katriona Beale’s sunken black-velvet
bed installation of the same name, which was exhibited as part of her ‘Are We All
Addicts Now?’ series at Furtherfield Gallery (2017), made in response to her interest
in digital culture and online behavioural addictions. More specifically, Network Bed
recreated Katriona’s experience of a prolonged period of insomnia both fuelled and
soothed by her nocturnal online habits. My musical depiction of the work aims to
encapsulate the conflicting hyper-stimulating, yet sometimes calming, sensations of
delving into, and becoming lost in the online world.
A fluid glass sculpture with an embedded screen showing projections of moths was
housed within the structure, and I was particularly drawn to this feature, in the same
way that the moths themselves seemed compulsively attracted to the screen’s light. A
repetitive single-note phrase, dispersed with grace notes, is immediately presented as a main motif in the piano’s right hand, and returns throughout the piece to represent this. Indeed, grace notes and pizzicato strings feature heavily to recreate the flitting of moths’ wings; particularly adding to the restless and distracted nature of the opening sections. This transitions into a highly-punctuated moment, with inflections of the more driving material to come in the piano, to emulate the piercing and bright glow of the screen. A contrasting sultry ‘cello solo is introduced to capture the seductive aspect of being drawn into the digital sphere, before eventually culminating with propulsion and tense forward momentum, which is finally released with the return of the initial repeating single-note motif.