Displacement Activities

for speaking pianist and electronics

James Gardner

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for speaking pianist and electronics

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Composer James Gardner
Year of Composition 2014
Duration 16'-17'
Categories (all composers)
Catalogue ID ce-jg1da1


Composition is – among other things – a series of decisions.

Displacement activities, Wikipedia tells us, occur when an animal experiences high motivation for two or more conflicting behaviours: the resulting displacement activity is usually unrelated to the competing motivations […] a human may scratch his or her head when they do not know which of two options to choose.’

Scratching one’s head is often a feature of compositional activity. And it is often the performer’s response to that compositional activity.

In this piece, a displaced performer metaphorically scratches their head before two displaced artefacts – a grand piano, and a conventionally-notated Western-art-music score – while trying to maintain some kind of contact with the right here and the right now. Or even the wrong now.

Displacement Activities was commissioned by Dzovig Markarian with funding provided by Creative New Zealand.