A Requiem for Edward Snowden


Jules Rawlinson
University of Edinburgh


Portfolio, Practice Based, audio-visual, surveillance, data privacy, chamber trio


A Requiem for Edward Snowden is a 50-minute audio-visual work by Matthew Collings and Jules Rawlinson which addresses surveillance, data privacy, loss of faith, moral choice, and personal sacrifice in an environment where we are totally reliant on electronic communication and daily routines; and in which our privacy is routinely compromised. The work is performed by a chamber trio comprising violin, cello and clarinet, with live electronics and live visuals. The work is multi-layered and textured, both sonically and visually, and includes computer generated, fixed-media and live captured imagery, manipulated in real-time. This output makes an original contribution to performance practice knowledge about audiovisual ‘comprovisation’ (fixed composition with open or improvised elements) using audio-visual narratives of surveillance and sousveillance. In addition, it makes an original contribution in terms of experimenting with distributed agency in respect of sound-image production. Collings and Rawlinson worked in the studio together in a series of twelve day-long sessions over an initial period of 6 weeks to develop a set of prototype audio-visual sketches that could be arranged for the full ensemble. These sketches explored cryptographic treatment of live camera input, masking, displacement and distortion together with representations of data, networks, street-level surveillance and drone footage. These studio sessions focused on the opportunities that each of these offered for combination and manipulation and for congruence and contrast with the audio part. For example, visual congruence might be demonstrated by threaded clusters of computergenerated strokes responding to audio feature tracking and represent the slow, detuned glissandi of the string part. The main outputs from this work are seven performances in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Utrecht, a digital release on Denovali Records, and contributions to an international conference in Edinburgh and a national conference in Aberdeen.

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30 May 2024


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Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.