Vintage Martin Audio modular loudspeaker stacks have helped support an experimental work entitled “The Misery Portal” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in central London, with Alex Czechowski of Ace Vintage Systems (Warwick, UK) commissioned to provide the classic rig.
Created and performed by dance and performance artist Samir Kennedy, show designer Simon Vincenzi came up with the idea to utilizing loudspeakers to create a ‘portal’ or proscenium for “The Misery Portal.” Vincenzi, a London-based theater director, choreographer and designer over the past 20 years, served the internet extensively and came across the Ace Vintage Systems website, which provided him with inspiration for the show, together with his requirements.
Czechowski, working with sound engineer Dave Callanan, designed the sound system around eight Martin Audio 215 Mk3 bass bins and three MH212 “Philishaves” per side, together with top boxes. Amplification for the totally analog system was provided by iconic BGW Grand Touring amplifiers. “It was great to show the capabilities of the iconic Martin Audio Philishave, together with the Martin Audio 215 Mk3 bass bin, the best bass bin ever designed by the great Dave Martin,” Czechowski says.
Lighting designer and production manager Marty Langthorne explains the concept of the show: “Our week at the ICA was a research and development period for this new performance piece, ‘The Misery Portal,’ an opera of sorts where a lone performer sings melancholic songs from an ancient time, grappling with feelings of grief, loss and inner turmoil. The performer’s outline is barely visible in this dark and hazy portal, slowly dancing their way through this state of mind. The sound world is full and held with tension as the speakers pulse out the hugely varied composition throughout the piece.
“Working with vintage Martin Audio speaker stacks and Alex’s incredible expertise was a huge part of this performance and allowed the sound world that Samir created to be heard in its full potential through speakers that you know have had a history.”