for string instrument, electro-mechanical devices and lights (2018) dur: 15’30

Performed by Karin Hellqvist


Simon Cummings writes about marionette on his music blog 5:4 after the performance by My Hellgren at Nordic Music Days in Bodø, November 2019.

“Cellist My Hellgren was turned into something not unlike a robot in Johan Svensson‘s Marionette. Initially, there was a clear sense of hierarchy, Hellgren’s physical actions on the cello being translated in real-time by a complex mechanical and electric system comprising lights, fans and scrapers among other things. So closely aligned was this relationship it was as if the gadgets became the imagined interior of Hellgren’s body and brain. However, as the work progressed the relationship developed, first into a human-machine duet, and eventually to the point that it was as if Hellgren had become an automaton (echoes here of some of Simon Løffler’s work), perhaps even a reversal of the opening state, Hellgren now being controlled by the mechanics. This was reinforced by a wonderful coda in which three light bulbs uncannily engaged in their own free-will dance, independently of the cello. A fabulous piece that blended perfectly its visual and sonic elements into a seamless, dramatic choreography.”