“Working Memory” by Ian Hatcher

Open: “Working Memory” by Ian Hatcher

This minimalist scheduled poem engages our ability to hold language in memory in order to act upon it. The text is displayed on two spaces simultaneously, though the header stream begins first before the second one in the box begins to compete for our attention. Each text is displayed one word at a time at a rapid rate, faster than we have grown used to with works by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries or William Poundstone’s “Project for Tachitoscope.” In those cases the texts are synchronized to music, and potentially accompanied by other graphical elements, but Hatcher’s poem strips away all distractions from the text, which allows attentive readers to focus most of their consciousness on one of two textual streams, since it is virtually impossible to actually read both and make sense of them. You have to choose a track or risk having your train of thought derailed, so to speak, because of the speed at which they are displayed— 170 miliseconds per word (over 5 words per second).

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“Signal Box” by Ian Hatcher, et. al.


“Signal Box” by Ian Hatcher, et. al.

This piece is performed to the beat of a metronome playing at 100 BPM (beats per minute), the fast end of the andante tempo. That allows for Hatcher to read his poem “Control Relay Logic” one word at a time, adjusting the duration of each word to fit the space between beats, as is customary in rap music. This externalized rhythm for the poem makes the spoken word strange, but also musical, allowing Hatcher to repeat words beyond what he might pull off with a traditional reading. The dancers’ movements are also timed to that beat, making their synchronized movements somewhat mechanical. Their repetitive motions are also appropriate in this context, making them seem like logic gates, electronic switches, parts of a machine that is processing information in an orderly fashion.

“Signal Box”
Choreography: Hayley Sunshine
Poetry: Ian Hatcher (“Control Relay Logic”)
Dancers: Kara Hodges, Brianna Jahn, Ashlee Lodico, Marika Matsuzak, Megan Starnes