The Blind Owl
for fixed media, dance, and video art
Author Sadegh Hedayat wrote a novel titled “The Blind Owl” in 1936, which later became a major 20th-century literary work and also Hedayat’s magnum opus. “The Blind Owl” conveys a tale of the nightmares of the narrator, where he relates that “…death that beckons us from the depths of life... Throughout our lives, the finger of death points at us.” He also confesses many incredulous things to his shadow, which, when it appears on his wall, closely resembles an owl. The reference to the owl being blind is a reflection of the narrator’s prior lack of self-awareness.
In The Blind Owl, as the narrator conveys his hallucinatory head-space/nightmares to the reader, it has been tried equally to emulate the same sense of morbidity and aimed for the listener to feel disturbed by the sounds were created to align with the novel. The piece also reflects the sense of loneliness and solitude that is experience by the narrator as he recounts his experiences. In order to make the music universally appealing and relatable, the primary electronic techniques that are used to process these sounds include changing voices’ pitch, and/or duration, and boosting or weakening various parts of their spectra – to resemble a variety of different types of people of varying ages who are acknowledging this.
Premiered at Ears, Eyes + Feet/ May 5-6, 2017
Videographer: Kaiwen Fa
Choreographer: Antonia Neal
Narrator: Sahel Salam
Mezzo-Soprano Singer: Page Stephens
Piano: Farshad Tahvildar-Zadeh
Double Bass: Rhys Gates