© 2019 BY PE OKX

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WATERWORKS

2008


50-minute composition for choir and percussion with video images. 

Performed at Freedom Church, Alkmaar. 


At the invitation of Jan van Zelm, conductor of the Alkmaar-based chamber choir Good Company, Okx composed a multi-media piece inspired by Francis Poulenc’s 'Quatre Motets pour un Temps de Penitence'. With lyrics based on poems of Dutch poets Judith Herzberg and Rutger Kopland. 

The choir was accompanied by marimba, vibraphone, and by specially constructed and tuned glass plates.  

During the performance, monumental images of divers and swimmers were projected on the choir and on the wall behind them, submerging the performers in a watery vision. As the musical lines turn around eachother, move in cycles, the divers slowly spun and twists in the air, never touching the water, while the swimmers are submerged.

A curtain of waves, consisting of three videos of surf sandwiched together and turned sideways, was projected on the side wall of the church, a water barrier that figuratively submerged the audience. 

 

Pé Okx: 'Fragments of Poulenc’s motets were interspersed between sections of the composition. His theme is penance and guilt, which was my starting point for creating a piece about submergence in water— the symbol of purification, sanctification, and renewal.

Beyond its symbolic meaning, water is the essence of our bodies, crucial to our survival and yet also a destructive force. The water cleans us and we have to clean it…it shapes our future. It drowns us, absorbs us, and supports us. It cycles over the earth.

Vintage footage of a diving contest, homemade instruments from glass plates, and the choir carrying zinc waterbuckets are among the common materials used in my exploration of a spiritual theme. The work itself is a sanctification of everyday experience—in which the divers achieve their dream of flying and the waves mimic the monumentality of stone.'