Out Of Phase Stereo or ‘OOPS’, in addition to being the first line popular karaoke number ‘Oops!… I did it again’ by American singer Britney Spears, is an audio technique which manipulates the phase of a stereo audio track, to isolate or remove certain components of the stereo mix. It works on the principle of phase cancellation, in which two identical but inverted waveforms summed together will cancel the other out.
Conceived during a night out at Echo-Point (a popular karaoke bar located at 262 Pitt Street, Sydney) OOPS!… I Did It is a relational artwork by Angela Garrick that subverts the traditional function of karaoke, wherein participants replicate the performance of rock and pop idols to that of a mostly unknown recording artist. In this sense, the act of ‘performance’ is geared towards a niche market, a small pool of perhaps ardent fans and friends. The act of Karaoke in this instance for the wider audience, is one of guess, chance, spontaneity and they will present themselves and their own act of performance on what they feel should be enacted, rather than the typical act of mirroring. As the videos are looped, the participant does not possess the power to dictate which song they will sing, that is determined by chance. Such a reversal of power dynamics can be seen to privilege the artist, whose work is dictated by no one but herself. Indeed, the artwork relies on participation, but cannot be claimed by anyone else.
The karaoke industry works on the basis of profiteering from wildly famous artists and the attempt to replicate them – either badly or in earnest. Through a potentially fragile performance, OOPS!… I Did It offers individuals five minutes of fame, but asks that they must acknowledge that their momentary celebrity status is conditional on the hard work of other devoted artists. In good humour, it will be fascinating to see how the participants will take the effort to present these songs.
Uttering the Unknown Utterance: Melodic Interpretations and the Performative Act of Unknown
As an avid observer, I look towards facilitating an opportunity for people to express themselves in moments of spontaneous performance. Without prior knowledge of the material, their action is one that could arguably go any which way. Ephemeral, fallacious, or both at once, the audience of this constantly evolving singer gains humorous insight into the nature of performance, curiosity and of the degrees of shyness. Whilst myself, the artist, gains an intimate knowledge that informs the work itself, being my songs I have created.
The songs that make up the installation are known by perhaps a select few, and were initiated within my songwriting process as melodies without the use of music at the outset. Within the recording process, these melodies formed into songs with careful consideration and the addition of instrumentation. As they exist now as formed and released material, it is of interest to present them with the music only, framed for a viewer’s participatory enactment of the vocal melody.
New melodies and vocal arrangements are now formed by the participants, perhaps meeting a line somewhere between their own creative intuition of where the melody ‘should’ go, and perhaps a mixture of spontaneity and quick consideration. I have witnessed the instances of performance by proxy as informing my own ‘knowledge’ of the songs themselves, and adding a certain oneiric depth to my work, dually reframing it within realms of speculation and chance.
This work seeks to frame a performance enacted by the participants, seeking to both imitate and subvert Karaoke’s traditional function as an act of mirroring. Pop and rock idols initiating mimicry as a source of entertainment and enjoyment is here reconfigured.
OOPS!… I Did It – A new installation by Angela Garrick
Curated by Yarran Gatsby
Technical Assistance by Owen Penglis
Production Design by Micha Couell (Melbourne)
OOPS!… I Did It opened on Wednesday February 24 2016 at Alaska Projects ….and April 14th-17th at Magic Johnson in Melbourne.