The Woods Enclose premiered at the DXARTS Winter 2022 Concert, Movement Actuation, 23 February 2022.
The Woods Enclose is a six-channel work (presented here in stereo) of digital aural literature based on Angela Carter’s short story The Erl King from The Bloody Chamber, 1979. Carter’s reimagining borrows from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1782 ballad Erlkönig, which was famously set to music in 1815 by Franz Schubert. While Goethe’s Erlkönig depicts the wild pursuit and murder of a child, perpetrated by a supernatural woodland being, Carter’s story follows a female protagonist who is seduced by the Erl King and finds herself entangled in his greenwood life. She soon realizes that the numerous caged birds in his humble cottage are in fact other girls that he has lured into the forest with his “elder bird-call,” entrapped, and made to sing for him – and that he intends the same fate for her. Carter’s sensuous, descriptive writing is translated here through the processing of materials such as wax cylinder recordings of bird imitations performed in 1902 and 1903, a 78 RPM record by Bela Berkes circa 1914, 100+ field recordings, and bowed Appalachian dulcimer.
The woods enclose
He said the owl was a baker’s daughter
Skin the rabbit
Mother, mother you have murdered me