on | off is an immersive, audience-dependent sound project that uses a set of small homemade synthesizers. These simple tone generators, each consisting of only an on/off switch, a volume knob, a frequency knob, and a speaker, are capable of enormous sonic diversity when combined. Their straightforward design makes them easily performable by anyone regardless of age or level of musical experience, blurring the line between performer, composer, and listener.
Drawing on his experience as an elementary school music teacher, Danny will work with Earsight Duo to devise a collection of games, simple compositions and sound-making activities performable by up to 12 audience members. Using a combination of verbal, auditory and projected visual cues devised by Danny and Earsight Duo, participants will be led through the experience as musicians, co-creators, improvisers, and audience members simultaneously.
While at High Concept Labs, Danny and Earsight Duo will be taking on | off beyond its initial conceptual stage by building additional synthesizers, experimenting with game strategies, and hosting community sound workshops. This sponsorship will culminate in a new, half-hour audio-visual experience performable by the public.
Danny Clay is a composer and teaching artist from Ohio, currently based in San Francisco. His work is rooted in curiosity, collaboration, and the sheer joy of making things. His work often incorporates musical games, open forms, found objects, archival media, toy instruments, graphic notation, digital errata, cross-disciplinary research, and everything in between. As an elementary music teacher by day, he frequently collaborates with his students, organizing situations for his classes to create new pieces with professional musicians. Recent projects include works for Kronos Quartet, Phyllis Chen, and Sarah Cahill, as well as playbook, created with Third Coast Percussion, an evolving collection of sound-making activities for musicians of any age and experience level.
Since their earliest film and music experiments as classmates at the Eastman School of Music, Earsight Duo (video artist Xuan and percussionist Peter Ferry) have pursued work in the spirit of experimentation and curiosity. What started as a fascination with adding visuals to music has led them to strive for new paradigms of artistic expression and music making. Earsight Duo constantly seeks unlikely combinations of ideas, collaborations, and ventures into unexplored technological territory. Beyond their need to make art, Earsight Duo performs to inspire their audience’s curiosity and participation.