On Being Invisible II (Hypatia Speaks to Jefferson in a Dream)

2000

Music selections from—On Being Invisible II (Hypatia Speaks to Jefferson in a Dream) (1994–95) selections from the self–organizing, interactive multi–media chamber opera including: In the Beginning...Reasoned Mind; Evolution with Singular Events; Political Assertions; The Mathematics of Miscegenation; Logan's Speech; Philosophical Musings with a Sense of Reminiscing; performed by Sam Ashley, narrator; Teri DeSario and Roxanne Merryfield, dream voices of Hypatia and TJ, Rosenboom, computer music system measuring auditory event–related potentials (ERPs) from performers' brains, DSP synthesis, and HMSL software; on Transmigration Music, Centaur Records, Inc., Consortium to Distribute Computer Music, Vol. 30, #CRC 2940, , Baton Rouge, LA, 2000, [CD]

In this self-organizing operatic form—with spoken text, not sung—Thomas Jefferson falls asleep while writing one of his famous political documents and receives a lecture from Hypatia of Alexandria across continents and over centuries of time. Auditory evoked responses, event related potentials (ERPs), detected in the electroencephalograms (EEGs) of two biofeedback performers are used to guide the emergence of an electronic music score, to arrange chunks of spoken text, and to edit video images with symbolic associations, all in real-time. Two improvising musicians respond to each brainwave performer, and a narrator provides threads of continuity drawn from a variety of historical texts related to the subjects at hand.