Look up! I am no canopy – I am a messenger

Cli-fi speculative choral piece/performance/audio
October 2022 / commissioned by October Salon (Belgrade Biennale)

Co-composer / sensory percussion

Imagine a tree canopy – you in it. Far above the ground. Sounds of leaves crunching from the wind surround you. It is hot and you have just come out from above the ground. After 17 years spent gathering impressions, sucking on tree roots. You are well rested. Ready to sing. And so you do…coming from the belly of the earth, you bring knowledge. An enchanting yet unknown frequency. You have heard the Earth move. You have inspected it. You bring riddles, speculative prophecies. You would have brought them, if you haven’t been M.I.A.
A heave! Long awaited to be heard.

Look up! I am no canopy – I am a messenger is a work that takes particles of different eras, but also different disciplines. It looks into speculative zoology/ Entomology, but predominantly the historical/biological attributes of Magicicada septendecim while in a parallel manner analyzing an Orthodox chant. The specific brood XI is believed to be extinct since 1954. There were speculations about brood being found again in 1988- these speculations were never confirmed.

The work draws a strong reference from a book Insect singers: A natural history of the Cicadas (1929). It creates its own new hybrid myth. An insect-morphic orthodox prophecy. A reincarnation of Brood XI (whose year of coming out from underground would be biologically- historically 2022) who has come to seduce us into an act of courting the world with an act of the most romantic call- giving out the speculative prophecy. Translating a new hybrid myth, from these sentinel species, we bring news of climate- love in the era of scarcity.

Now, finally, we are able to understand the frequency.

Music and text for this experimental prophecy were written using references from the Orthodox chants, but deconstructed towards a different context, riddle- like, abstract thoughts about climate change, famine, anxieties, etc. Behind every choral composition, there is a myth of our time connected to each “calling/message”.

Written/Composed/Created by Sanja Anđelković
Co-composed/ sensory percussion by Lav Kovač
Cicadas (chamber choir): Živan Popović, Ivana Nožica, Branislava Zagorac, Vuk Popović, Vlado Ilić, Nataša Berić, Eleonora Vojnović, Sanja Anđelković
Conductor: Živan Popović
Costumes: Jana Stankovski

Commissioned by The 59th October Salon (Belgrade Biennial), production and organization by The 59th October Salon.

Curators: Zorana Đaković Minniti with Katarina Kostandinović

Special thanks to Stacy Lo for bringing the book Insect Singers all the way from Taiwan!