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April 27, 2018

How to participate in tonight’s performance of “Remote Control”

Tonight’s program features the world premiere of Guillermo Galindo’s Remote Control, composed for Kronos’ Fifty For The Future. Guillermo invites you to participate in his piece by streaming on your phone one of four videos that he’s created for the piece during the performance. Before the concert, please connect to the “SFJAZZ” Wi-Fi network and open this page. Warning: Strobe effects are used in these videos. More instructions will be given before the piece begins.

ABOUT THIS PIECE

Guillermo Galindo writes:

“War is just a game.

“Digital technologies have changed the way we interact with and perceive our environment, how we conceive of time and space, and how we relate to people and nature.

“It has been proven that, in many cases, video games desensitize players to violence and alter their perception of empathy. For many players, the difference between acting in a virtual world versus in physical reality becomes unclear. The recent mass killings in American schools have raised concerns about assault weapons in the hands of children. According to The Intercept reporter Lee Fang, gun manufacturers are now targeting younger generations—the ‘Xbox generations’ who, unlike older generations, don’t often buy guns for hunting—by emulating video game culture, and selling glow-in-the-dark handguns and accessories specifically marketed to kids so they can ‘hunt zombies in style.’

Remote Control is a sonic representation of an alternative reality. Just like a video game, the piece is a virtual rendition of a video war game. From the perspective of a war victim, the eerie mumble of drones becomes the soundtrack of daily tragedy. By using loud sounds and intense music to create fear—just as Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries was played on airplane speakers during the Vietnam war—music becomes the ominous whisper of death. Alternative instrumental techniques imitate random events on the battle ground (barking dogs, shooting guns, children playing), and audience members become active participants by streaming stroboscopic videos from their phones.

“The piece winks to Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet, in which each player performs from the air in one of four military helicopters. The German voices counting down in Stockhausen’s quartet are replaced by voices of child refugees counting from one to ten. Their tiny voices speak in Pashto, Dari, Arabic, Urdu, German, and English, and were recorded in refugee camps in Greece and Germany.”

Video processing by Cristobal Martinez.

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