Impromptu is a layered sound work made up of specially commissioned recordings of renowned Freddie Mercury tribute act Gary Mullen (winner of Stars In Their Eyes, 2000) performing a score inspired by the late Queen frontman’s extensive vocal improvisation games of audience ‘call-and-response’.
Focusing on crowd and fan behaviour at rock concerts, the artists have closely studied Mercury’s documented live stadium performances and his involvement of the crowd in ‘impromptu sing alongs’. Fans are invited and encouraged to be part of (and to create) something bigger than themselves, by joining together in the simple act of making sound.
During the 1985 broadcast of the charity concert Live Aid, Freddie’s call to his audience, reached a global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations. The seemingly simple gesture of inviting an audience to echo his voice, could be seen in this moment, as a powerful call to arms.
Impromptu explores the potential of simple but evocative collective experiences and actions. From important acts of protest, to the simple creation of an in-sync hand clap, these moments of cooperation, coordination, shared effort and participation have underpinned this new work.
LOW PROFILE aim to not only create a homage to an iconic, virtuosic performer, but also to draw on a cultural memory of these performances and the audience’s own experiences of attending and being part of similar events – where the feeling of being part of something live, alongside and with others, matters.
Impromptu has been commissioned by ICIA, University of Bath. LOW PROFILE would like to thank the Theatre and Performance department at Plymouth University for their generous support in the development of this work and Plymouth College of Art for their part in supporting Hannah Jones’ artists research.
Sound Design – Neil Rose
Lighting Design – Charlotte Burton
Vocals – Gary Mullen
Photo Credits – Ed Smith
• Design, production and installation of sensor based system, realised in Max/MSP, to control lighting and trigger audio recordings
Impromptu is commissioned by ICIA (Bath) and forms one of three exhibitions launching the new centre for the arts at Bath University.