The GSO is a multi-disciplinary ensemble of musicians, video artists, programmers, visual artists, poets, dancers and actors. It is the first ever of its kind in Ireland, and the carrier of original ideas in the field of show arts. The main idea is the mixing of genres and practices in arts and music making. The medium used to connect and relate these practices is the sign language of Soundpainting.
Soundpainting is a world arts phenomenon widely spread throughout Europe and America which has been missing in Ireland until now. Soundpainting, which was developed by jazz composer Walter Thompson, is a live-composing tool which uses a universal sign language in a multi-arts context to direct the improvisation and performance of a group in real-time. This makes each soundpainting performance unique and particular to its own momentum and also makes Soundpainting a powerful community arts tool.It is made up of more than a 1000 registered signs and is now considered a universal language, so that any soundpainter can without problem conduct a group of performers from any origin. In this way it stands as a medium for the meeting of cultures between continents. The classical tradition of conducting already has its own language, but here the same philosophy doesn't apply. There is an implied interactivity, a constant shifting of the power centers, and an intentional exchange made between the soundpainter and the soundpainted.
The GSO is a project-based ensemble, and its crew is different for each project. Each project has a specific idea behind it and a particular way of bringing the artists and their specialties together. Some long-term projects involve large crews of 25 members. Other short-term projects can involve 6 members. The idea is not to compromise but take all the time it needs to achieve something of interest, working with patient, dedicated and passionate people ready to explore new ways of doing and creating. We want to facilitate an atmosphere of openness and curiosity in a space suitable for genuine research on tools and materials.
Because each project has a specific crew, the material produced is rich and diverse. As opposed to building up a repertoire with a given crew and a fixed set of instruments, we focus on revealing our multiple potentials so it is really the meeting of personalities that makes and gives to each project its singularity.
One of our biggest challenges is to bring together and harmonize rehearsed and improvised elements specific to the moment. We want to confront structured knowledge with authenticity of actions and needs of the present moment. We want to connect our wells of traditions with the flashing speed of instantaneous intuition.
The GSO has four projects in the making at the moment. Short-term artistic projects like XP1: Nuclear power; long-term ones like the CHORUS project and "At C"; educational projects like Soundpainting Workshop with Adi. We play theaters.