Following a successful concert last night (which essentially amounted to as much material and outcome as we achieved in the 3 days of the first LLEAPP, but conducted in an afternoon!), after some discussion of structuring, placement and the utility of The Odyssey, we spent the best part of the morning working with Jan minus instruments.
The first exercise aimed to promote visual awareness of the ensemble and group management of 'sound' through gesture and posture. The simplified version is that through eye contact (and some pointing) we would cue in a member of the group, who would cue in another member in turn. Once all members were cued in, we began cueing members out. We did this with a variety of speeds, and it revealed the limitations of oblique lines of sight.
The second exercise introduced signals for creating solos, duets, trios etc. A participant would hold up two, three, four (etc.) fingers to invite a duet, trio, quartet (etc.) and once an agreement was established the duo/trio would jump into the circle (often to be immediately replaced by a soloist or another group). Some attempt was made at crossfading, but it seemed to produce a ministry of silly walks.
Even though we were working without sound, there was still a sense that the participants were trying to create an interesting form, with repetitions, clusters of interlocking solos and 'silences'.
After a coffee break we rearranged ourselves into a slightly deformed circle (see Christos' post below), and began to introduce the cueing, signals and groupings into our work with our instruments, attempting to cue in and out all members in 30 seconds (roughly one second per cue). Unlike the non-instrumental version, we had to keep a heads up approach while (perhaps) wrestling with interface.
In the afternoon session we extended the rules and vocabulary to include a 'follow me' signal, where we should try to imitate the 'lead' performer. It became clear that augmentation was sometimes easier than imitation, and in practice the follow me signal was used to silence proceedings (as long as all members followed the cue ; )
This do-as-I-do was also intended to bring a sense of 'home' (one of the themes discussed from the Odyssey), but as the afternoon progressed, we didn't really revisit this direction. Similarly, overt crossfades seemed to be overlooked (although spontaneous introduction of new textures continued).
Other threads included 'rogue' agents (and agency) where (some) players ignored the rules completely. As the rules extended the sonic water became increasingly muddy to the point where it seemed that we were approaching free play again. While this was reasonably sonically and musically satisfying, we later attempted to bring some our previously discipline back into play.
The session closed with pieces of 2, 7 and 15 minutes which saw some confident use of gesture and augmentation, with simultaneous duets, trios etc.