“Binary Opposition” for Video and Electronics Premiered on December 11, Harvard University

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Binary Opposition for Video and Electronics by Edgar Barroso from Edgar Barroso on Vimeo.

Duality is one of the strongest concepts in life on this planet. The male-female dichotomy, Presence – Absence, Rational – Emotional, etc. are all concepts that help us have a starting point to make sense out of the rather infinite possibilities that emerge from a deceiving simple dual . Binary opposition is a piece that explores the interaction of stable and unstable materials that interact producing a set of possibilities that goes beyond the limited nature of their own. They are all affected by each other, and are also “invaded” by a disruptive characteristic of the frame space that speeds up the materials, similar to wind that provokes acceleration. Metaphorically: The actual weather of the frame.


“…Another noteworthy effort came from Harvard PhD candidate Edgar Barroso’s Binary Opposition (2010) for video and electronics. The piece began with the mysterious, vaguely ominous whispering of multiple speakers. In the video, a stark white stripe appeared across the screen and was intermittently invaded by specks and blotches of black. As this introduction ended, the sounds and images became more abstract. Sustained sections of foreboding repose were contrasted with short moments of intense agitation. Amid lacerating shards of noise, lifelike sounds were perceived in the distance, including the chirps of birds and the original whispering. At its climax, Binary Opposition reversed the pattern, sustaining the agitation and intermittently contrasting it with less saturated moments. A dark, contemplative stalking, just beneath the surface, underpinned this increased activity.

In conversation after the concert, Barroso revealed that the pathos in his recent works has been a reaction to the intense escalation of violence in his native Mexico. In a lesser composer’s hands, this profound angst might be rendered as avalanches of discordance, but Binary Opposition succeeds through its balance of contemplation and visceral anxiety. As Barroso explained in the program notes, dualities are “concepts that help us have a starting point to make sense out of the infinite possibilities that emerge from a deceiving simple dual.” Binary Opposition succeeds as a complex portrait of unease…”

David Dominique


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