The University of Melbourne
6 files

While You Sleep

posted on 2024-06-26, 06:28 authored by KATE NEALKATE NEAL, Sal Cooper, String Quartet

While You Sleep is a 60min performance work uniting string quartet, piano, electronics, video and animation in a surreal counterpoint of music, movement and image - where nothing is quite as it seems.


Australia Council;Multi-media new work;

Australia Council;Music;

Arts House;Culture Lab;

Chunky Move;Space Grants;


Add to Elements

  • Yes

NTRO Output Type

  • Original Creative Work

NTRO Output Category

  • Original Creative Work : Other


Melbourne, Canberra, Perth - Australia


Arts House Melbourne PICA, Perth Street Theatre, Canberra

NTRO Publisher


Start Date


End Date



Writing, Performance, Score creation, Visual-music work, Collabortive practice

Research Statement

In extending the parameters of contemporary music creation and execution, this work creates new script for string quartet on moveable chairs, as well as embedded visual media on three floating perspex screens. Embracing the elaborate complexity of the musical fugue the work weaves gesture, design, light and immersive visuals, in a syntax of compositional treatment in first, second and third subjects, transpositions, stretto and other formal tools in the fugue form. The work is entirely memorised, the four performers of the string quartet required to embody both scripted sonic and movement based code for performance. Alluding to experiences that prompt the fugue state's loss of self, While You Sleep dives into memory, uncertainty and our own delicate, repeated patterns of behavior. Dark, subtle, surprising and moving, While You Sleep deftly probes the uncertain landscapes between grief and identity, reality and illusion, and fuses visual media and sonic languages into a highly original and compelling 60min performative score. While you Sleep was premiered in 2018, and toured nationally in 2022. The work was well received and reviewed, and a finalist in the 2022 Art Music Awards, Performance of the Year. "The quartet move with their instruments like a chorus or roll on wheeled-chairs, while screens show animations that range from the pianist playing a library of book to a horse being lifted with a crane." Samsung, Melbourne Arts "With delicate yet stinging scratching on the strings or abrasively modern distorted blasts that wouldn't sound out of place in Kanye West's 2013 album "Yeezus", the performance truly demands full attention. Any hints at musical or visual convention seem to immediately plunge even deeper into absurdity." Joshua Daffern, Citynews

Size or Duration of Work

60min performance score


University of Melbourne