In Whirled (Trance)Formations
A singing Mask Event for the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse
by Norman Lowrey (North Zipper)

Performed in Second Life at U21 Global
and in Real Life at Drew University
October 3, 2008

Begin in quietude...
Imagine your whole being in both First and Second Life
as a "vehicle of transformation."


Always listening,
you are invited to
become entranced...
(trance)form yourself... by:

Leaving space for quietude...

You are welcome to wear singing masks or not or to use any other means to sound/move/be still

Return to quietude, still listening...

(Any Real Life participants may join in wherever you are, by simply listening and observing or joining in the sounding and moving)


This is (obviously) just a simple conceptual piece calling for improvization, "spontaneous order", as Pauline Oliveros calls it, given a particular mind-set.

In this as well as other Singing Mask ceremonies, my interest is in listening into the moment and using masks to connect with alternate realities, modes of cognition, if you will, or underlying fabrics, weaves of energies.

Within this framework, everything is "perfect." No need to worry about making mistakes. Simply remain aware of the basic conditions: listening, transforming, or in other words being in whirled trance (formation).

Play In Whirled (Trance)Formations
by North Zipper (Norman Lowrey)

Avatar Orchestra Metaverse (AOM) is an orchestral formation in the virtual online environment Second Life, exploring its interactive possibilities. New networked media-formats like Second Life give composers and performers of experimental music new possibilities of conceiving and creating works that contain open, interactive and possibly infinite elements, set into the perspective of conventional practices of creating and performing music.  The telematic nature of such virtual environments offers new ideas and practices that challenge the traditional division of functions like composer, performer and listener, and give a new perspective to the non-virtual musical world.

Members of AOM are located in Europe, East Asia and North America.  Since its beginnings in early 2007, AOM has created and performed over 15 compositions screened live at music and media events in Europe, Canada and the United States.  Composers represented to date include Bjorn Eriksson (Sweden), Andreas Mueller  and Shintaro Miyazaki (Germany), Pauline Oliveros and Norman Lowrey (USA), Jeremy Owen Turner and Tina Pearson (Canada), and Biagio Franca (Italy).

With members spread over 3 continents, the group explores the nuance of identity (real life and the virtual world) and possibility that is opened through real time telematic connection within an audio visual virtual environment.  Most of the members of AOM have not met in person.  The work of AOM exposes a new kind of listening and sensing, bringing forward subtle yet powerful mind connections whose elusiveness begins to disappear as the core members of the group continue to explore this very new medium together.  AOM provides an intriguing 'open to all' playing field not only for professional musicians, improvisors and composers but also for other artists (new media, visual arts, architecture, poetry, sculpture, dance) who are intense listeners and bring not only new ways of perceiving musical practice and performance, but also a focus on the visual manifestations of idea, concept and sound.  

Currently, most music performance in Second Life and other virtual environments involves streaming of either recorded music, or live players playing 'real life' instruments streamed into Second Life.  The focus of AOM is quite different.  The 'instruments' and visual tools that are used by AOM are created by AOM members for each composition within the Second Life environment itself, using the limitations and possibilities that the medium, and the internet, presents.


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