Zeena Parkins

Zeena Parkins, composer, improviser, sound artist, well known as a pioneer of the electric harp, has also extended the language of the acoustic harp. Zeena makes scores for film, video, theater and dance. She is especially interested in exploring unpredictable orchestrations, live processing of acoustic instruments and installations combining multiple speakers with live players. Other collaborators include Ikue Mori, Bjork, Matmos, filmmakers Cynthia Madansky and Jennifer Reeves and choreographers John Japserse, Jennifer Lacey and Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh. 


Polyconic Projections (June 2006)

Douglas Henderson and Zeena Parkins have worked together in various contexts for many years, from improvising to instrument construction. Polyconic Projections is their first collaborative composition project. The original sound material was composed by Parkins for a dance piece by choreographer Jennifer Lacey, and was then reworked as a stand alone audio CD, $shot, engineered by Henderson. The palette is of contrary geometries, receding planes and recursive staircases of sound. A double exposure of controlled crystalline synthesis over the gestural immediacy of fluttering plastic, paper, chirping sytrofoam and creaking leather. Intimacy amplified into threat. The sound is continually tipped and refocused. Parkins handed over the original tracks to Henderson for a dedicated Diapason remix, to take maximum advantage of the 10 channel speaker system, the elongated architecture, and the free time-sense of the gallery. Moving a piece into multi- dimensional space from stereo requires alterations not unlike those attempted by map makers, who must find ways to represent an oblate sphere on flat paper (whence the title). In this case the flat is made spherical, flat stereo sound turned into full 3-D, and put into a gallery context (where people wander in and out as they please) rather than a concert music one, with attendant changes in durations, centers, and structural trajectories.