Dark Pool is a composition for seven vocalists, commissioned by Sound and Music as part of the Portfolio programme.

The piece derives its name from the specialist language of financial markets, where a dark pool is a trading network in which deals are made without pre-trade price offers being visible to any participants. Used by fund managers with access to large amounts of liquidity, the aim of dark pool trading is to execute large transactions without other traders noticing.

The inaugural performance took place as part of the Wet Sounds series, at Ironmonger Row Baths in London, with both airborne and underwater sound.

Taking inspiration from this peculiar setting, Dark Pool stages an investigation of the liquid aspects of neoliberal and libidinal economies: flows of capital and flows of desire. Texts taken from a variety of sources, including film, documentary, literature, philosophy, news reports and marketing materials, are playfully deconstructed and reenacted, or transcribed into a series of narratives and songs. This is done with the aim of laying bare some of the discursive mechanisms that produce neoliberal subjectivity – a state of being where competition and narrow self-interest are accepted as the prime motivations behind human actions and interactions – as well as to suggest a possible way out of this oppressive state of affairs.

The premiere of Dark Pool was performed by Melanie Pappenheim, Rebecca Askew, Joana Araújo, Hannah White, Melaina Barnes, Phoebe Wright-Spinks and Poppy Tibbetts.

The score for Dark Pool has been published by Composers Edition and can be viewed and purchased here.

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