Jonny Axelsson Performing Akrodha

We are cast as intimate spectators to a performance of contemporary composer Kevin Volans’s Akrodha, written for Swedish percussionist Jonny Axelsson.  A disembodied voice echoing within a chapel setting introduces us.  An invisible audience welcomes us.  Axelsson calmly begins, playing the range of unseen instruments arrayed before him, for we can hear the beating of the drums- but are denied any glimpse of the scene, tied to his subjective processing of the performance.

Employing a deceptively simple filming technique, the piece isolates Axelsson´s face to map the performative gestures and rhythms in space, and confronts the urge to witness the drums themselves being hit.  Instead, the percussive moment is played through the movements of the camera attached to Axelsson´s head, centred on the face, tremors of the audible passing through the motions of their instigator.  The technique achieves a disorienting reversal of background and foreground movement, where it is the performer who is composed, structural, and the ornate background that swings and vibrates with his actions.  We are bound to Jonny, intimately and forcefully, translating audible rhythm to a visual rhythm.

- Chris Fite-Wassilak