Night\Shift Festival, 2015

You/I is a multimedia sound piece commissioned by the Night\Shift Festival. The piece was composed and performed by Stephen Trothen and Jordan Mandel.

Conceptually the piece is an attempt to use sound and experimental composition techniques to investigate the interplay between inner and outer (You/I) as well as user interfaces (UI) between bodies and technological development within the context of a particular city.

The performance was organized around two simultaneous walks - from Kitchener to Waterloo (taken by Mandel) and from Waterloo to Kitchener (taken by Trothen) - in which both individuals took a photo every second and collected audio for the duration of the 5 km walk. This resulted in 8000 photos and 2 hours of recorded sound. These images and sounds were used to feed a program that progressed through a random walk algorithm (a mathematical formalization of a path that consists of a succession of random steps) and staggered through both the pictures which were projected during the performance and the audio which was fed into a mixer and amplified over speakers.

During the performance, Trothen and Mandel interacted and sampled this audio in real-time to create rhythmic and harmonic material that was mixed with the found sounds. As well they followed musical cues based on the progression and street intersections displayed in the images. In this way, the map of the city served as a musical score, with the random walk program allowing for a non-linear but progressive organization of the work.

Kitchener-Waterloo proved to be an ideal site for this investigation as they are two cities which are semantically connected, but often divided by cultural, economic, and infrastructural differences. As well, during the time that data was collected for the piece, King Street was under extensive construction and created a "dead space" in which there existed no traffic between the two downtown cores.

The piece was performed on October 31, 2015 and lasted for 4.5 hours.