Prayers of Incompetence is a kaleidoscopic performance for five voices, an automated hyper organ and field recordings. “A meditation on making love with the impossible”. We had been working on this piece in the Orgelpark with I/O, together with Danai Belosinof (artistic and production assistance) and Clare Gallagher (sound), as well as Trevor Grahl (Orgelpark’s organ advisor). Andriana Minou has written a collection of texts on praying, from which about half are used in the performance. The audience receives a prayer book designed by Michalis Paraskakis that contains the complete collection of Andriana’s texts. You can find the full performance at I/O’s website.
From August till March I have spent in the Orgelpark many hours. It’s the only way to understand how their new instrument works and to explore what it can do; a hyper organ that uses the SINUA system – a new software and hardware giving new control possibilities, either through its special console or a computer. The Orgelpark has over six organs in its hall. For this performance I’m focusing on the Utopa Baroque organ, in parts blending it with the romantic Sauer organ.
The four wonderful singers who helped me create Prayers of Incompetence are Sterre Konijn, Björk Níelsdóttir, Laura Polence and Arnout Lems. I’m the fifth singer. We have been trying vocal ideas, colours, ways to combine the voice with the organ and ways to use the texts, in a very compact, as well spread out time-schedule. In June 2019 we had a get-to-know meeting, with a rehearsal in October 2019 and a second one in January 2020. Two more rehearsals followed in February 2020, with the final three taking place in March before the performance day. All took place in the Orgelpark. Working with an organist for this piece might had been a much easier process, but some of the results someone can achieve with the computer are quite unique and spectacular. The fact that the sound is always analogue, even when controlling it through a computer, is a great satisfaction as well; it always feels tangible. It’s such a physical approach to sound, while having an extraordinary amount of control on its properties.
Thanasis Deligiannis | composition, sound design & voice
Andriana Minou | texts & dramaturgy
Sterre Konijn, Arnout Lems, Björk Níelsdóttir, Laura Polence | voice
Danai Belosinof | artistic & production assistance
Clare Gallagher | sound
Trevor Grahl | organ advisor
Marielle Groven | production manager
Special thanks to Wouter Snoei, Marko Ivic and Boris Bezemer.
Photos by Marko Ivic