Images Of Ascension is a work for Music, Video, Dance and Theatre created by Dirk Johan Stromberg and Clare Chong.
The work stems from a discussion with Robert Reigle in the winter of 2016. Upon hearing Dirk Stromberg’s work “Rising Tones” Robert noted, from his research, how few works truly ascend in pitch. Reigle had only found a handful of works in his 40 years of research that ascended consistently on a macro level. The ensuing discussion was the impetus to create a way of thinking and approaching the concept of ascending material and through collaboration has grown to include video, dance, and elements of theatre.
Dirk continued to apply different concepts of ascending material through formal wedge shapes, hyper-instrumental possibilities and granular concepts in a cross-genre set of structure improvisations drawing from jazz, electronic music, ambient music all steeped deeply in a psychedelic aesthetic. All the original music was performed on Dirk’s creation, the Phallophone – Described physically as something between a lightsabre and a car muffler and musically as the perfect cross between an acoustic instrument, analog synth and an instrument for electro-acoustic creation (Laurent Soulie – University of Bordeaux, SCRIME).
Clare Chong, excited by the musical language and performative elements of the electronic sound world, then responded to the sounds of Ascension, resulting in the Images of Ascension. What started as a documentation of Dirk’s interaction with the Phallophone evolved into a manipulation of those images through editing. It then inspired Clare to use a method she has often used in filmmaking - To collect images, dreams, sounds, words, and in one sitting, react to these materials to craft a narrative.
Using the same method of reaction to Dirk’s music, Clare created the zentai clad Phallophonist, Dancer and other creatures persistent through the psychedelic videos, forming a series of journeys that imply another aesthetic of existence. The videos tells a story of birth, frustration and confusion, a need to tear out of, but also to remain in the security of the womb. At the point of creation, the music made Clare realize the smallness and insignificance of human existence. This is expressed through the worms, through the scanning, recreation and multiplication of human faces, and her wonderment at objects of worship.
These videos are not explorations of Ascension so much as a physical manifestation of the sound world created.