Opia

n. the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable—their pupils glittering, bottomless and opaque
— The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
 Performance in Copenhagen of Opia by the Esbjerg Ensemble conducted by Rei Munakata following its premiere in Esbjerg; March 2018

Performance in Copenhagen of Opia by the Esbjerg Ensemble conducted by Rei Munakata following its premiere in Esbjerg; March 2018

 

Rhetoric

This work is about the inward reflection that takes place as we look into another's eyes. While we see into the window of another's soul, it becomes apparent that they too see into our own and here begins the interaction of two people who function simultaneously as observer and the observed, the nature of which begins to realise the term opia. Each discovers a part of the other's soul, hidden and intimate, the intensity of which converges into a question: What is reflected in the eyes of the observer?

The rotation of string instrument bodies signifies the hands moving to block out sight and the interaction rises in intensity. The movement continues in a state of introversion until horn melody, as though through a dream, calls the perceiver back into a state of interaction. Following the return to 'open' string instruments, the eyes are once more open, leading into a dynamic state of interaction and finally closing in a state of peace.

It is not easy to look into one's own shadows and light simultaneously, yet it is the only way to also see a complete picture of the self. The phenomenon of opia is one that allows a space for such states of being and for points of deep connection between two people to bloom.


 
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Form

Opia is presented in three movements, each divulging into a differing aspect of the phenomenon opia, as coined in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The intention behind each movement and its relation to the definition is structured as follows:

  1. Dusk: Invasive; explores a desire to turn away from the observer

  2. Rêverie: The intimacy of being simultaneously observer and the observed

  3. Dawn: Intensity; converges the above recollections, thus forming the definitive term opia


Performance

Premiered by the Esbjerg Ensemble in tandem with Pulsar Festival 2018. An analysis work of the phenomenon 'opia' as coined in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, defining neologisms for emotions that do not otherwise have a descriptive term. A sound portrait in the motion of music with sculpture of performers equally important to the tandem of sound production. Choreographic elements of performance form an equal counterpart of universal structuring and form. 

 
 Performance in Copenhagen of Opia by the Esbjerg Ensemble conducted by Rei Munakata following its premiere in Esbjerg; March 2018

Performance in Copenhagen of Opia by the Esbjerg Ensemble conducted by Rei Munakata following its premiere in Esbjerg; March 2018