Lisa Miralia, host of Mysterious Black Box radio, opened the performance with acknowledgement of the turtle shell among the instruments arrayed for the performance and credited the shell with channeling “every note” of the electro-acoustic performance score from the ancestors. Her assertion caused me to question how I should receive the piece having set the expectation that I would hear a message relayed to me via men acting as media. What followed confirmed the “man as media” metaphor as a gross oversimplification of the performance affect.
In some disciplines, deliberate and repeated exposure to a stimuli might be called desensitization. I sensed that portions of the movements I heard were designed, by repetition, to attune my ear to the acoustic qualities of the instruments. However, this hearing awakened, rather than dulled, my sensitivity to and anticipation for the timbral stroke of each tone color. After perusing the sound palette manifest, the performers launched a journey through measurable dimensions to an anatomic and atomic awareness of my being.
It may sound trite, but offerings from Sanza Time prompted rejoicing at the remembrance that I am stardust. This knowing was spectral in nature. I can describe it as intellectual and sensate, but the dyad is not two points on a line graph. My experience constitutes two points in a sphere of mass. Some truths are so great that at all points they are interconnected by the sheer weight of their gravitational pull.
Sanza Time gently draws the listener into awareness of the relationships between everything we may perceive as differentiable. I became keenly aware of my physiology during this performance. I felt a stirring in my solar plexus–an effervescing. The music graced me with an awareness of a most crucial truth: the dyad of self and other that describes the interconnected sphere of human identity. Objects of great mass may have measurable dimensions of great size, but, in actuality, the expected span of distance is inversely affected by the draw of gravitational pull. Sanza Time impressed me with the measurable distance of human individuality and the actual closeness of human unity.
El-Dabh and Slabe as designers, performers and executors of the stimuli that elicited this response were responsible for and must have been aware of it, yet they stood apart from it in a measurable way. Simultaneously, they were resonating within the soundscape and interacting with it. The immeasurable yet perceptible union we felt in the performance space and Sanza Time reveals the profound mystery of our differentiated sameness. My body exulted at its differentiated ability to sense pitch, duration and timbre while while my soul reveled in its metaphysical union with the energy in the room.
Sanza Time is an invitation to explore the sphere of truth incorporating the dyad of self and other. As such, the performers aren’t asking the turtle shell what the ancestors intend to say, they are asking the audience to understand what the ancestors already know.