The Lockdown Jams / Bastard Assignments

16th June 2020

We start with excitement to write along playfully.

As composer-performers, bastard assignments met in 2012 forming up a group creating their own work and performing it themselves. Rooting in the sphere of London’s experimental music and performance scene, they have been developing work for each other continuously and pulled together their practices. The composer-performer blurs the boundaries of an artistic performer and the score writing mind behind a musical idea. Being creator and performer at the same time is an investigation into a practice, developing skills, unlearning skills, sharpening interests and exploring the very own capacity of doing music overall. Taking this mindset, Bastard Assignments found their own way to continue working together during the lockdown due to COVID-19 crisis. They developed the idea of lockdown sessions. 

In their lockdown sessions the four members of Bastard Assignments teamed up to deal with this extraordinary situation from their individual homes by investigating strategies of working together via online communication platforms such as Zoom. They could win various composers to enter their project and commissioned pieces to be performed and recorded via Zoom. The compositions are mostly developed together with Bastard Assignments and a result of a preceding online rehearsal.

22th June 2020

a stairwell standing walk___down stairs ratzisch

fingers crossed we _______//

/______    _________ walk

24th June 2020 

Going Browsing, Idling, Investigating, Dreaming

A splintered set of sensual experiences, being walked towards an google street view idea of Wales. Let’s go and detangle from our bodies, and take-make our up a wholesome sensation. How can we extend our nature, can we recreate, can we relate? 

A talking TTS disposition navigates as an inner voice through the mildly distorted google street view of Wales, while we can listen to our ears dreaming into a vivid gluping, gurgling waterscape, circades chirp and clitter, soft sounds make up the ulterior realization that reality becomes a game. Browsing, Idling, Investigating, Dreaming examines in disturbingly beautiful pictures of sound and glitched landmarks the reality we lose while being locked up. It becomes an example for the way we deal with nature. It asks in which moment our experience of nature will turn over into a peerlessly perfect copy, that does not only approximate nature but devours it. Maybe one day we will walk as that disembodied shadow through a blueprint of nature, never stop walking and we are calling solely for that body, severed form a sensory experience. And the archive created from records of nature will be the basis to program new dreams and realities, artificially living on. 

Moira keeps asking

I want to be a body again

and run into a lot of thorns 

I am sure I could run again 

spotting two roots, freeze for them 

to engage beyond

do you remember a broken Wales summer

summer forgotten 

You are a special garden 

there is no way, no way into no way land. no in / out no

3rd July 2020 

Rehearsal Zoom session with Elaine Mitchener 

Reading the headlines of a newspaper, incorporating words and Bastard Assignments learn to let go. That is the over and over repeating task, learning to let go. With Elaine Mitchener learning how to deactivate and become the object, letting go. It is an investigation into the vibrating air that gives birth to a sound, that declares movement trembling the circumbiant air to the instrument. It searches for the energy that is in a place where there isn’t a traceable sound. Before a word … there was? It is an invitation to think the body movement musically and find happy accidents, spontaneous actions that come from a place of letting go. The rehearsal becomes a small taste of having no freedom and embodying freedom. 

10th July 2020 

read red. smell red. 

I like to open some doors sometimes and draw towards

I enjoy all your pencils chewing misbelief 

you remember: times of underlining some mistakes red

country mixtape doors fall red cross 

a holiday beach bunker investigation

We could be at the sea probably, a little breeze freezing. But think of how empty the beaches could be with all of us practicing beach time at home.

And then there is a smell of red bunker toilets. 

The red lockdown is a traveltape, and we have a 13 min ride to the beach, drawing in the backspace of our little car, maneuvering clothes around, hiding in the smell of passed summer love, hiding from indoor sun. Covering up with our cloth-tent - red lips consent.

15th July 2020 

See the lake, the street following a lake in loose connection, a grassland dividing path, lake and passants. Five garbage containers dominate the screen, three may show a heart and Dancing Queen reminiscence moves on into gestures of presenting green. The green grassland is floating around the lake and green constitutes the places for black hearts floating in green. 

trashcan searching plants places

a fight of quiche and salad and grass and wind and dune and sand and the rush of rustling last fighters of onion springs. 

20th July 2020 

still at the beach and a little batik wave embracing your silent face

aiming for the waves, the ruffling shades of blue

plus 500 is my place and get to know the way around. 

you can stay in control all time. when you are ready join the chosen. 

soon visit and take a chance on me. 

beach volleyball and water. 

feat. winner takes it all and Mrs Lucatelli-Tape-radio 

blue turns into fade of a radio off-voice improvisation 

23th July 2020 

Bleached Tape 

i don't wanna talk the winner

he will take it all? but when does it come 

and the judges will decide and the game is on again while spectators stay low

nothing more to say 

/we finally arrived on the battlefield of emotions

what shall we do with these emotions 

25th July 2020 

With Marcela Lucatelli we are following a one of a kind locked up holiday experience with ABBA’s greatest hits - we are following the destilled colour ideas red, green, blue. Our predominant colours of (online) beach vacation maybe. Marcela Lucatelli and Bastard Assignments takes us spectators on the route through a calm observation of a beach side, three tapes named with the colours - and a final ‘bleached’ version. 

Red: red doors, remarkably red spots on

27th July 2020 

Blue: after dealing with the shapes of red, the clothing, the hiding, and opening up space, the colour blue is dedicated to be the floating water, illuminated with home utensils like the water-plastic-bag, the water-blue pen, blue fairytale water-running-shoes…
Green: takes us spectators to the wafting grass and the blowing salad, a performance of tasting the grass.

Marcela Lucatelli manages to declinate a series of outside practices for the locked up composer performers. It is a series of becoming the grass, the water, the red dotted flower, an architecture, a being in space. Within enabling the performers to re-enact, her wide and silent landscape shots become an allegory of the idea we have from certain spaces like the beachside. And this memory is enriched with practicing the various qualities of happenings at the beach side. While practicing a manifestation of (beach) holiday’s the same may also fade, our home-act can be unlearning at the same time as re-enacting the idea of an outside. It can be unlearning up to the questioning face of Lucatelli herself, that stares at us wondering where a dreamland collage ends, where a generic outside is bleached out to finally grasp with a conscious hand our presence just behind a screen.

3rd August 2020 

with Neil Luck into Paranormal activity

Under the title Every Time We Say Goodbye Neil Luck invites the Bastard Assignments into a spherical spin off á la American Horror Movies and pays homage to Found-Footage-Pioneers such as Paranormal Activity. Sharing different fixed angles of camera positions with us, the fixation becomes a binding source of discomfort as it is hardly possible to spot what is actually happening outside the framed view. Vague shadows, flashes of light, moving objects and clattering images determine the pure association of horror-aesthetics of any kind.

The water drips anxiously to the shot of a wardrobe, entrance door and ensemble of various objects hidden behind a cat tree. A narrow soundscape of running fast-high frequencies and numb tones. When there is no movement the sound already impels the idea of motions within a filmed still life. Allegations of movements appear only in light flashes, which carry the power to make the air fluctuate gathering in rushing shadows. Hard cuts to other emptied rooms like the abandoned electronic piano, with some scores in a pale mint-green wallpaper ensemble pay tribute to the overall growing atmosphere of inconvenience the emptiness, that carries all the ideas of movement in sound rather than action, ideas of persons rather than a still appearance of a living being. When the camera actually is taken by something - and it is actually the full immersion of taking the image, shake it, knock it out shortly and put it back - a distant being becomes present more evidently. A shot to a moving elevator chair densifies the tension further when we still wonder where? And what? Trying to define the shadows and mentally slow down the movements. There is a consciousness that wants to recognize and detangle the occurrence, slow it down to something detectable, rewind to slow-motion. 

Within the desire of slowing-down and deciphering there is an anachronism of images proceeding continuously opposed to a viewer’s eye that cannot come to know all of the rhythm and speech that is layered. An evident layer of piling up time are details like the playing piano from a distant past or a close future now perfectly out of sync with a ticking clock, a radio-chatter, scratching, gurgling, chafing and beeping as the invisible sound-protagonist is whistling to start the automatic chair to make it wind downwards towards a fulminant explosion. 

By letting us as spectator in the dark about what happens but by incorporating different time layers and revealing parts of a being that whistles to that chair and in a way directs the empty stages sneakily, the Every time we say goodbye ... is an own take on the genre of Found-Footage-Collage, which is popular in the already mentioned horror genre films. By giving the impression of a a) a viewer and b) a spectator with a similar view, still hidden and armed with executive power the borders of our perception blur unpleasantly. There is not only the view of a hidden camera but the certainty to be watched, to watch and to manipulate/be manipulated while viewing. 

     Times we said goodbye, Ella Fitzgerald

10th August 2020 


Lip Sync performance. The composer of a facial dance act. With Thick and Tights movement layered on the Bastard faces grotesquely solitary heads in the blue-greenest light, we and up at a pizza place. With a pathetic introduction the visitor is thrown into a world of google map zooming in tremendously pathetic music to jumpy madding pictures. A quick zoom journey that visually may hold the reminiscence of Alexander Schuberts googling browsing idling  quickly adjourns any reference in a camp turn. It is a pizza place indeed where we get the four characters lip syncing an interview with Prince Andrew refusing to have had a sweaty dance with a particular woman that made allegations against him. Fortunately Prince Andrews seems to be able to start wearing again. Which might be the honorable link to a sweaty oven pizza, that pops up moving, circling, dancing as a playground for the little faces  we might see Andrew in. An oily playground freshly heated up. 

(c) BBC Newsnight on Twitter

What Thick and Tight are exploring with their piece may be a real camp call of action in it’s exaggeration and sensitive approach to interview as a dramatic piece of sound art. The very interview is charged naturally by a tension between interrogator and respondent. It may even be seen as talking forces striving for the conductor's role in an improvisation piece that is predicated on knowledge of rhetoric rules, subtextual manners and contentual implications. Within the counter play of subtextual gestures, normatives and contextual matters the actual rhythm of this conversation evolves. With slight music intervention in form of re-assembling and re-mixing not only words but also secondary speech noises, Thick and Tight dissect the rhythmic qualities that shape the dramaturgical progression of the interview. 

The interview lip sync is framed on the one hand with a reference to the clean google street view images of the Prelude and the other hand with a grotesque finale, waving hands out of a pizza, a royal waving performance. A down sliding fence sets and end to the oiling sweaty waving and there is a single chorus claim of Andrews pretentious claim

read the full interview:

17th August 2020 

(c) Bruce LaBruce on Camp.

Thick and Tight - A surrealist parody? Definitely. The term Camp is this broad and ungraspable variety of styles, an aesthetic exploration calming the ironic dimension and a level of ’tastelessness’ artistically valuable. It is a celebration of excess, inversion, ostentatious posturing, the theatrical. It is a mode of performing and intermingling so called high and low culture. 

© Thick and Tight Homepage

25th August 2020 

Screen Test

The Screen Test was originally conducted in the 1960s by Andy Warhol: a series of short (silent) black and white portraits in front of plain backdrops. The still image originates in photography and may resemble a mixture between study photography, the traditional (Hollywood)-casting video and even a mug shot of the most wanted faces. By extending in a way the time of exposure the screen test becomes a struggle between model and camera, a battle of the two eyes, a very present spectator and an human object, observed, a surface to throw light on in order to gain an insight through the slightest physical reaction. And it might well be that micro-reactivity that unravels partly the mystery of the portrayed faces. Warhols micro-gesture films  — by the way exclusively silent —in a way brutally confronts us with the camera as the cumulative eye of a thousand eyes? The camera eye, and that is especially clear in times of the rise of Zoom conferences, shapes behavior, the double check, forces with psychological pressure the self reflection of one’s outward appearance. Comparing the camera of Warhol which allows an indefinite number of spectators within it, the Zoom call, a video conference is obviously not only revealing the eyes behind a camera, the communication partners. Therefore the psychological pressure of the unknown spectatorship may vanish, but it is evident, that with the mirroring image is introducing new effects. Whereas the Warhol eye confronts a brutally direct view, a showdown of human versus camera-observer, our communication tools are made to install a second controller mechanism. The screen test done with Zoom allows to certainly check the mirrorimage to subdue oneself a permanent remediation. 

A Zoom-Screentest therefore undermines the unforeseeable effects, the frightening gaze of the vague. Simultaneously it opens another room to self-tame; the call is a face-to-face situation with invitation to a permanent re-evaluation of visual self-representation. In a way Warhol was extending the Portraiture photography into that indefinite momentum generating a deeper insight into a protagonist’s inner world, whereas the invitation to permanent self-representation marks an extension of the Selfie-Portraiture with it’s claims of optimization and an impetus of self-control in self-depictuation.

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Raphael Jacobs
Raphael Jacobs is a writer and installation artist based in Antwerp and Berlin. In interdisciplinary settings he combines disciplines such as music, language and design.