The Garden of Forking Paths
By Eli Klausner
|Melissa Achten: Ritual Schizophonia|
The Garden of Forking Paths is a movement from a larger work for solo harp titled Labyrinths, which takes its initial inspiration from R. Murray Schafer’s The Crown of Ariadne and centralizes Ariadne’s thread as a vehicle for navigating sound generation on the instrument. This myth is then placed in the context of Labyrinths, a collection of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, in which the concept of the labyrinth is explored using a series of mental games presented through stories filled with archaic and apocryphal information and absurd philosophical conjectures in which all things are possible. Borges invites us to contemplate the nature of complexity and what it means to be lost. The Garden of Forking Paths places the performer amongst pre-recorded harp that at first suggests conventional minimalism invites the harpist to not simply participate but to navigate the landscape of various timbres through semi-improvised and performative gestures.