Before Solomon Frank appears at Adhocracy 2023 to expand our definitions of musical genre, we sat down to talk all things The MacroPlastic Workout.
First of all, tell us about The MacroPlastic Workout – what’s the core concept that you’re exploring, and what inspired it?
We’ve been inspired by the horror and farce of the everyday, entanglements between human and more-than-human. A hermit crab using a plastic doll head as a shell, drifting marine plastics as new ecological habitats for microbial communities, newly discovered bacteria that can digest plastic, microplastics as an unavoidable component of 21st century human diets; how can we see ourselves as integrated into this new petrochemical plastic ecology and more specifically, how will we maintain ‘good health’ and ‘wellbeing’ in bodies and worlds riddled with invasive plastic? We also have various references from across nature and culture: sage grouse males’ inflatable chest sacs, frigate birds’ bright red balloon sacs underneath their beaks, Jacques Tati, John Cage on 1950s TV and cormorants. We also have a shared love of workout videos that developed when we were living together in Sydney lockdown. Having Chris Hemsworth lead us through “feel the fire lower body crunch” and that structure of repeated obtuse and difficult actions has heavily informed the structure of the show.
This piece utilises ‘inflatable-percussive-wearable musical instruments’, which is a wonderful phrase. How did you come to this particular mode of constructable instrumentation?
The time at Adhocracy will be spent figuring out this exact question. We have Rachael Guinness on board to design prototype these costumes that integrate into the installation of balloons and tubes we’ve created.
You’ve stated an intent to create ‘aesthetic and genre dissonance’ in this piece. How are you hoping that this will manifest?
Drawing on expanded forms of clarinet and percussion practice, we’ve established an elaborate plastic gymnasium activated using sound and movement. Our muses are cheap mass-produced plastic clarinets and percussion instruments, household objects recontextualised as instruments (tubes, balloons, latex condoms and nylon). We are experimenting with a refined junk aesthetic to create electroacoustic audio components that integrate into our acoustic practice and allow for compelling new forms of genre dissonance. For example, diegetic sound art suddenly transforms into campy gay pop and pounding techno.
Anything else audiences should know?
The show straddles the fine line between sacred and silly. You might laugh or you might cry.
Find out more about The MacroPlastic Workout at the Adhocracy Website.