PROJECTION for SAB + piano
duration 4'30"
first performance 6 May 2012 (at Montsalvat in Melbourne) by Melbourne Chamber Choir / conducted by Mark Shiell

As tempting as it might be to claim otherwise, this work is not about the “projection” of the singing voice, nor about the psychological defense mechanism, but about the film projector.
Imagine the fragments of film looping through an old camera. Wiped clear of sounds and picture. We see a jittering projected light on the screen. From the speakers just noise, the static of dust.

Though an enthusiastic believer and dedicated user of modern technology, I am nostalgic for a movie played on an actual projector. This is, of course similar to the way people become misty-eyed about the smell and tactile sensation of reading a “paper” book, or the reassuring crackles of vinyl! My father, at great expense, recently got his father’s Standard-8 home movies restored and transferred to hard drive. These date back to the 1930s and are wonderful to watch, but I feel that several very important atmospheric cues are missing from the viewing experience:

- finding the correct number and height of books to prop the projector up
- the darkened room and sense of togetherness for the occasion (“someone look after the lights”)
- the momentary disappointment at some malfunctioning or wrongly labelled spool, expired globe, or overheated component; always ending up being a false alarm (“don’t bump the projector”)
- most importantly the sound

I have created soft repeating rhythmic patterns for the voices, as well as a half spoken “minimalist” buildup that very clearly imitates the sounds referred to. These are dispersed within a melancholic song that blurs the harmonic centre through unexpected shifts up or down a half-step, and through long sustain tails in the piano.