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Carbon Song Cycle

Collage of still images from the multimedia performance Carbon Song Cycle
Carbon Song Cycle
Created by Pamela Z and Christina McPhee
Co-presented by San Francisco Cinematheque and Shapeshifters Cinema

Experience environmental balance and imbalance through a site-specific multimedia performance created by composer/performer Pamela Z and media artist Christina McPhee, Carbon Song Cycle is a work for chamber ensemble and expanded cinema. It’s inspired by ongoing changes and upheavals in the Earth's ecosystem, and by the carbon cycle—the process through which carbon is exchanged between all terrestrial life forms and domains. To compose the music, Pamela knitted together melodic motifs inspired by scientific data on the carbon cycle and texts referencing environmental balance and imbalance. Playing on the idea of the natural exchange of elements they pass sonic material between the players and explore audio elements related to the imagery in Christina’s video material. The video is built from footage Christina shot at petroleum fields, natural gas locations, and geothermal sites around backcountry California, along with carbon-inspired drawings and images of processes involving intense heat and chemical transformations. The artists have crafted a site-specific experience that utilizes the architecture of the space to create a unique and intimate experience. The chamber ensemble features Pamela Z (voice and electronics), Dana Jessen (bassoon), Mark Clifford (percussion), Crystal Pascucci (cello), and Charith Premawardhana (viola).

This presentation of Carbon Song Cycle is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.