Partita for 8 Voices

  • Michel Lam
  • Canada
  • 2022
  • 27 min
  • Immersive
  • Dutch Premiere
  • DocLab: Nervous Systems, IDFA Doclab Spotlight

Even before our ancestors banged on a tree trunk with a stick or hollowed out a bone to blow into it, they were already singing. The human voice was the very first musical instrument—and judging by Partita for 8 Voices, it’s also the most versatile. The eight members of the Roomful of Teeth ensemble growl, pant, buzz, mutter, creak and… sing. With rhythmic word sequences or sounds that are hurled into space like streamers, they perform the composition that won composer Caroline Shaw the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2013.

The visitor starts off amid the singers, immersed in the music, in the 360-degree cinematic view. The facial expressions of the singers slowly give way to abstract forms, parts of the score that look like waves, contour lines, galaxies or a flock of swallows. This creates a breathtaking interaction between the oldest means of human expression and state-of-the-art computer graphics.


  • 27 min
  • Spoken languages: No dialogue
Michel Lam
Pascal Pelletier for Les Productions figure55
Key collaborator
Caroline Shaw
Sindre Ulvik Peladeau
Caroline Shaw

IDFA history

Dutch Premiere
DocLab: Nervous Systems
IDFA Doclab Spotlight

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