Aidan Coutts / Shannon Lewis / Walter Wright

The Map is Not the Territory

The Sun Ensemble (Walter Wright, Shannon Lewis, and Aidan Coutts) have created a 14 minute piece in three movements titled "The Map is Not the Territory."

The first movement (0:00-4:30), titled "Sunshine", is smooth, uplifting, and hopeful in tone, with some hints of the coming turbulence. The second movement (4:30-8:58), titled "Colour", is turbulent and chaotic, and begins introducing the feeling of desolation. The third and final movement (8:58-13:58), titled "Corrosion", is atonal and arrhythmic, and dives full into the feeling of being lost and discovering what's been previously undiscovered.

video content warning: flashing images

The video follows the three movements described above. Images used the first movement include Shannon’s painting of an ‘imagined’ landscape and a video clip of reeds blowing in the wind. The video clip fades in and out and is slowed to match the tempo of the sound. If the first movement represents the map, the second movement represents the territory. Images used in the second include images taken on our walk through the landscape and a video clip that represents both direct and refracted sunlight. The three images are sampled, converted to black & white, then tinted and, finally, collaged using Processing. Shannon, who is synesthetic, associates the colours used with the letters ’P’,’C’,’R’,’S’,’U’,’N’. The tempo used to collage the image fragments is arhythmic. The light represented by the video fades in near the end of the movement, adding more colour, texture and further fragmenting the image. In the third movement we are deep inside the landscape. Shannon’s painting reappears and we zoom in towards the centre. A new video clip of reeds blowing in the wind fades in and out. This third movement attempts to resolve the tension between the two preceding movements, between the map and the territory.

Altogether, the piece takes you through a journey of sound combining styles of composition and creation you might not often hear put together, giving the listener plenty to discover every time.