PINK PLEASURE: Barbara Golden/Bill Thibault. Program Notes.
"Pink Pleasure" is a multimedia performance for live instruments, narrator, live electronics, video and interactive computer graphics.
The core of the piece is one hundred images reenacting the "Naked Maya" painting by Goya. Completed in around 1797, the "Naked Maya" is the later-day sister of the mysterious Mona Lisa. Through the ages, the odalisque has been a prevalent and sensuous icon and "Pink Pleasure" narrates through text, music and image, a version for the nineties. It disassembles the painting and examines our experiences of the shared human legacy of eroticism and romance.
The organizing principle of the piece is a set of three properties used to classify erotic and creative experience. The three principles are modeled after the three gunas of ancient Hindu thinking: sattwa, rajas, and tamas. Sattwa is the inspirational or mental aspect of romance: emotions, anticipation, expectation, disappointment. Rajas is the active aspect, involving travel, work, preparation, or communication. Tamas is the tendency to seek the lowest level, to wallow in desire, seeking only pleasure. We call these principles INSPIRATION, ACTIVITY, PLEASURE, and also attribute them to regions of the body, colors, elemental images and Platonic solids:
INSPIRATION=head+magenta+air (sky) + octahedron ACTIVITY=feet+red+fire+tetrahedron PLEASURE=center+pink+water+icosahedron EARTH is represented by the body of the "Maya"
Musical material is based on a set of ten melodies extracted from a ten note synthetic scale by random processes. We use an idealized model of the paths taken in the body by energies of the three kinds to determine note order. To represent an INSPIRATION (HEAD) experience, the melody is played from start (HEAD, Capo) to finish (FEET, Finis). For an ACTIVITY (FEET) variety, the melody is played in retrograde order. The PLEASURE (CENTER) music starts from the middle of the melody and moves outward toward feet and head. Musical passages reflect qualities of the selected principle in tempo, orchestration and timbre. INSPIRATION uses light, airy styles with breathy tones. PLEASURE consists of lush, dense textures, and ACTIVITY is reflected in more rapid tempi and intense feeling.
A short coda is a further disassemblage of the above. Pleasure, inspiration, activity become one...
PINK PLEASURE has been performed at California State University, Hayward in 1990, the 18th Annual Electronic Music Plus Festival at Mills College in 1991. Video versions and lecture/demonstrations have been performed at Journees Electroacoustiques in Montreal at Concordia University in 1992, and in Budapest and Prague in 1993.
"A Plethora of Avant Garde Sounds". by Liz Sizensky. SF WEEKLY, 1991.
...while Barbara Golden has gone multimedia. Golden's interactive computer piece, "Pink Pleasure", combines Golden's music, photos of 100 women posed as Maya from Goya's painting "Naked Maya", and portions of an erotic journal Golden has kept for the past twenty years. With each selection the viewer makes, the computer randomly combines visuals, music, and text in breathtaking patterns....
Computer Music Journal. Vol 15, Number 4, 1991. Published by MIT Press.
18th Annual Electronic Music Plus Festival. 3-7 April 1991. The Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, Oakland, California, USA. Friday April 5: John Bischoff, Ron Kuivila, Barbara Golden.
Barbara Golden has recently joined the world of high tech with her acquisition of a Macintosh computer and her collaboration with Bill Thibault. She has not abandoned her earlier bawdy-house style, but she has moved herself somewhat into the background in her performance of "Pink Pleasure". "Pink Pleasure" was originally conceived as an interactive installation using a Macintosh Hypercard interface. The concert version added the live performance of musicians Toyoji Tomita and William Winant.
The computer program allows the player to select three elements that are then superimposed on a video display (projected to a wide screen during the concert). Other visuals include women posing in the Naked Maya position, various scenic romantic landscapes, and computerized animated geometric forms.
The music is based on a 10-note scale in which the note choice is based on an analogue of ancient Hindu properties believed to make up the basis for human behavior. The result is a peculiar blend of serial music and mysticism. Barbara read selections from her erotically obsessed poetry, which by now has been given political cachet by the current Jesse Helm tirades. It is apparent that Barbara is still not at home with all the technology, which is in direct contrast to her deliberately raunchy style. I am confident that additional experience with the medium will come together with satisfying (and terrifying) results. Brian Reinbolt.