Multimedia installation, 2020.
Kerogen Voices is a music theatre piece exploring the phenomenon of man-made earthquakes caused by fossil-fuel extraction.
In this collaborative work, the voices of science, of myth, of workers, of engineers, of Earth and of folkloric entities coexist and are in dialogue. These voices are suspended in an immersive soundscape of elementary flux. Dense strata of text, vocals, and enveloping sound invite the audience to listen to the movement and signals of our planet and to imagine its subterraneous fossil guts as a giant sentient body – responding in a multitude of ways to the interference of mankind.
Grima began envisioning a live performance with a cast of actors, singers; a choir. He imagined live music and visuals. A libretto. Adopting a name from the organic matter found in sedimentary rocks that forms the basis for petroleum and natural gas, the Kerogen Voices ensemble came together.
They began to build the work, a collective, immersive, listening experience for an audience in a theatre venue.
In the spring of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the Netherlands, making a public performance impossible. Over months of quarantine, the Kerogen Voices continued to develop the work remotely. They worked on texts and music, and recorded their voices onto different devices from different cities and continents – some stuck in their homes, others seeking deserted public spaces, such as underneath bridges, to create their sounds.
The pandemic continues to prohibit large public gatherings, and in response, the Kerogen Voices made the sounds of the project available online for one day on www.kerogenvoices.club
Work is ongoing to ultimately produce a CD of the soundtrack; able to travel through the private spaces of hosts who are able organise safe listening sessions of the piece.
Jimmy Grima And Ira Melkonyan
The Kerogen Voices: Cheyenne Stutzriem, Joey Frankland, Billy Mullaney, Jimmy Grima, Irene Sorozabal Moreno And Matar Pershitz The Human-Induced-Earthquakes*
Voices: Ira Brand, Juan Miranda, Noah Voelker, Isobel Dryburgh, Paride Piccinini, Erin Hill, Abhishek Thapar, Melih Gençboyaci, Ira Melkonyan, Sasha Melkonyan
Libretto: Jimmy Grima
Composers: Jimmy Grima and Irene Sorozobal Moreno
Lyrics: Jimmy Grima and Ira Melkonyan
Choir Leader and Arrangements: Irene Sorozobal Moreno
Sound Design and Mastering: Mario Sammut
Sound Recordings:Justin Schembri, Jimmy Grima, Tom De Ronde Research
Dramaturg: Billy Mullaney
Production Dramaturg: Maria Rößler
Advisors: Joachim Robbrecht, Florian Malzacher.
Thanks to: Lara Staal, John Meijerink, Juul Bereen, Yolanda Van Gemert, Ruth Borg, Harco Haagsma, Maaike Boot And Udo Akemann, Das Theatre.
* list compiled through The Human-Induced Earthquake Database (Hiquake) www.inducedearthquakes.org.