Caitlin Rowley's ‘parksong’ series is a set of four experimental vocal works in the form of framed art prints. Each piece functions on three planes simultaneously: As visual art, presented as an object for display; as a textual/graphic ‘recording’ of a performance and a prompt to trigger imagined sound in the viewer’s mind; And as scores, providing all the information required to perform them. The series as a whole investigates the private experience of performance, in both private and public spaces.
They also explore the idea of ‘permission to perform’ and the different approaches of visual art and music towards this. Seth Kim-Cohen, in his book ‘In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art’, describes the act of recreating a visual artwork as an act of mimicry; ‘Performing a score on the other hand, is ... an act... of reanimating inert matter’ (p. 50). As visual art, the ‘parksong’ pieces eschew any explicit invitation to reperform them; but they also work with language to pique the viewer’s imagination or to issue a challenge designed to encourage the viewer to experience performing them for themselves.