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Composer Sends Fringe to Sleep with Sloth Symphony


Award-Winning Composer Sends Fringe to Sleep with Sloth Symphony

Multi-media production and musical sensory experience A Symphony of Sloths premieres in the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2014. Taking its inspirations from slow-moving animal the Sloth, Composer and Director Marika Pratley will challenge common perceptions of Sloths through music.

Pratley’s ‘obsession’ with Sloths developed whilst studying towards a Bachelor of Music majoring in Composition at the New Zealand School of Music. She composed her first ‘sloth work’ titled Sloth Knows for Javanese Gamelan, wine glasses, and pipe organ for her graduation performance.

A development of this concept and using the original composition as a base for the soundtrack, A Symphony of Sloths features an unusual combination of instruments, including Indonesian Gamelan and DIY electronics. This will be the first time Pratley incorporates the use of robotics into a musical performance. “The sloth robots are intended to enhance the surreal atmosphere we experience while daydreaming,” she says. In addition, there will be video projections of sloth-inspired movement.

The production has deeper political meanings for Pratley also, through her work as an activist in Wellington. “Under capitalism, everyone is overworked. People forget to relax and burn out. I want people to embrace their ‘inner-sloth'.” Pratley is using her musical practice and performance concepts to investigate the ramifications of the capitalist obsession with maximising labour-productivity, with little economic benefit going back to workers. This work demonstrates how the Sloth has much to teach us in finding life-work balance and becoming happier, healthier human beings.

Pratley was awarded an Honorary Mention for Sound Design under the Production Design Category at the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2012, for Salted Singlet’s production of A Unfortunate Willingness to Agree. Her first composition for dance, this work was also awarded Best Dance and toured to the Auckland Fringe Festival in 2013.

Pratley is a member of the sound-improv band, UENAI, which toured NZ in 2012 as the support act for Wang Fujui (Taiwan), celebrating the launch of The Subconscious Restaurant, a publication by White Fungus.

A Symphony of Sloths
Puppies, 110 Tory St
6pm, 16th and 23rd February 2014
New Zealand Fringe Festival, Entry by koha.

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