Every lemon is different: A performance piece by Phoebe Pryor

electronics (Lara Agar) and field recordings (Phoebe Pryor)

Written for and commissioned by Phoebe Pryor

performance installation at The Performance Bar, Rotterdam, Holland | 8th Feb 2020

duration 15’

Every lemon is different is “an investigation into the ways a lemon can be encountered; holding / passing / rolling / zesting / juicing / chopping….” - Phoebe Pryor

Phoebe asked me to help her develop a soundscape for this unusual performance piece, inviting the audience to re-discover how they encounter lemons. For this, she sent me field recordings like diary entries: a collection of segments which Phoebe had sent to me from abroad as part of her travels through Seoul, South Korea, Amsterdam, Holland and the UK. They followed on quite naturally from an ongoing and lenthy exchange of sounds over the course of a year; random, fleeting, peculiar, violent and delicate particles of air vibrating were all captured lovingly through tinny (although these days with increasingly good quality) phone microphones or as ‘voice memos’, and sent precariously (although somehow always arriving almost entirely whole), over the miraculous waves of the internet, landing instantly in my pocket. The thrill of receiving a buzz, knowing what it would be, and wondering what ordinary noise had caught Phoebe’s particular attention this time.

At this point, I recall, Phoebe was on a particularly meaningful journey through sound, traversing the planet, and making art, and so I wove the various aural snapshots of her life (she gave me some she specifically wanted me  to use) into a soundscape. As is the nature of an exchange, I then in turn created my own phone recordings, a snapshot of where I was and what I was doing on a particular day, although it was an entirely normal and uneventful day, and a day that I would have forgotten about had it not been for making this particular voice memo on my phone, over the evening meal. I wasn’t travelling anywehre, so mine is instead of the people I was living with at the time, each speaking in their native language. Unfortunately I cannot remember what we ate. Therefore many thanks to Louis d’Heudieres, Lucy Armstrong, Klara Kofen and James Oldham, whose voices feature in reciting the title and theme of the work, and especially thanks to Phoebe, for introducing me to a new way of looking at the world, and for encouraging me to be curious about everything.  

© LARA AGAR 2023