Platform 4’s Artistic Director, Catherine Church talks to us about the acclaimed and unforgettable live event, Invisible Music, which has been transformed into a new digital piece of work, blending film and soundscape to create an immersive and intimate meditation on hearing loss.
Revitalising their gig-theatre roots in an all-encompassing aural headphone experience, this digital world premiere hopes to raise awareness for the 12 million individuals in the UK with hearing difficulties by exploring the sensation of having the frequency of your life’s soundtrack altered. Invisible Music will be available to stream online from Wednesday 15th July at 8pm.
You’re launching Invisible Music, what can you tell us about it?
On tour in 2018, we would describe it to people as, ‘A live concept album’! The concept being hearing loss – 15 short musically diverse moments, each examining a unique and often unexplored perspective on hearing loss. Now it has this exciting extra life as a digital film, still exploring hearing loss, with stunning visuals, and music mixed with the spoken word.
I guess I would describe it as beautiful, unusual, immersive, unexpected, and thought-provoking. The digital experience as opposed to the live experience is more ‘meditative’. We hoped to create this meditative, dream- like space. Voices and music are layered, creating a mesmerising journey of ongoing sounds, allowing people to be swept away in the soundscape of radio crackle or gentle waves.
Where did the inspiration for this piece come from?
The inspiration came from a poem my mother wrote called, Surreal Existence, about how she heard and experienced the world. I was so taken with the poem and how it described her feelings I thought – wouldn’t it be amazing to try and make music about the loss the of sound. Bits of this poem are sprinkled through the film.
What was your biggest learning in creating Invisible Music?
Realising as I started attending my mum’s lip-reading classes, how much she was lip reading everyday with her family. It was like a magic act; she was literally acting everyday as if she could hear but because she was so good at lip reading she was able to fool us!
Were there additional challenges in creating this during lockdown?
Barret who created the visuals had already had the basis of the work done because they were taken from the projections in the live show and we had already recorded the music. I had to add subtitles etc but really it was a very smooth process. I think many of my team were grateful to have a focus and for something to do, I certainly was.
Do you think people’s experiences of lockdown will affect the way they look at Invisible Music?
Yes, that is why I thought this project was so right for the moment. There’s so much content put online now with no live performance; I felt if we were to contribute anything it had to be considered and special and not just because we felt we had to.
The lockdown created feelings of isolation and disconnection, providing people with a little sense of what it is like every day for people with hearing loss. Hearing birds for the first time in the film (after hearing aids) was like many of us hearing the birds in lockdown – the birds sounding like they were celebrating the quiet! Surreal experiences for my mum shopping in Sainsburys with hearing loss as mentioned in the film are now similar for all of us.
What would you say to anyone thinking about watching Invisible Music?
Take some time out of your day or evening and make yourself a warm drink, find a quiet spot and plug in and relax with the music and visuals for 45 minutes. Meet a group of new people and get to know them. Slow down. I really hope you enjoy it.