Binary Conducting concepts were developed to facilitate open form compositions similar to Earle Brown’s Available Forms. The idea has been brewing in my mind since I saw the David Murray Big Band conducted by Craig Harris at the Knitting Factory, sometime in the late 90s. It finally took off at a Bitches Brew workshop I conducted at the Sound Symposium Festival in St. John’s, Canada 2004 . It was there that I first jumped off stage, to arrange the form in real time. However, I did not work with my own material until a year later.
For my own open form pieces, the units in the score are fully notated. I arrange the units horizontally (one after the other), and stacking them vertically. There’s no need to come up with a fancier title for this conducting system, if I basically just turn units on or off - hence just Binary Conducting. Currently I use flash cards to indicate the units, and three or four self explanatory hand signs to conduct the piece. I have used other conducting techniques as well, such as a remotely controllable lighting device for the Third Eye Electric Band, in which colors were associated with specific sections in the band. In fact, any technique that allows for indicating one out of numerous units would work. For Dark Circuits Orchestra’s Crossing the Langrangian Point, performed in a dark room, I wrote a software that transmitted conducting information to the player’s smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The all-electronic Dark Circuits concept grew out of two laptop orchestra performances in Bulgaria in 2005 – one on Bolshevik Island in the Black Sea, the other in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. First I called them “Third Eye Laptop Orchestra”, but the whole idea of “laptop” orchestras quickly became stale. One of the exciting elements of contemporary electronic music practice is that we are still developing our own instruments. Herein lies immense potential, and I am primarily working with performers who develop their very own approach to electronics. Since 2014 it’s called Dark Circuits Orchestra.