Erika appears as a character wearing a mask, and the audience member wears headphones, and they have an intimate conversation. — artist Mark-David Hosale
The witnesses outside the tent hear a constant sound, “a polyphony of voices speaking the text,” Hosale explained. “The only thing you hear if you’re not the participant is that sound, and you hear her singing. The participant hears through headphones Erika’s voice speaking very quietly and also the sounds from the fact that we’re using some bio-sensing. We are sonifying her muscles, her movements, and there is a sensor connecting her heartbeat to some jewelry, so it pulses with the heart rate.”
“What’s lovely about the piece,” Batdorf said, “is whether you sit down and have a one-on-one experience, or if you stay long enough and look through the eyeholes and listen, the sound score on the outside of the tent is actually designed to go with my singing as well. So being outside is an equally valid way to relate to the piece. The goal of all the work is to serve the audience member in a very particular and intimate way. I don’t want it to become about me. I do a lot of solo performance, and I’m very much interested in not having people look at me and going, Wow, what you did was so impressive. I’d rather have them have an experience and not even really remember me. The mask, in a way, gives the audience members some privacy to have their own experience.” — Paul Weideman
Erika Batdorf and Mark-David Hosale’s “Burnish” is presented as part of Currents New Media from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, June 9; 12 p.m. to midnight Saturday, June 10; and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 11. The installation is outside El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe (555 Camino de la Familia).