Video by Thom Varey


the branch of knowledge that deals with the amount of space people feel necessary to set between themselves and others.

The Proxemics Studies are a collection of songs that emerged from Mike McCormick’s exploration of intimate space in its various manifestations.

In the summer of 2016, McCormick decided to address his performative limitations by composing a set of personalized technical studies for the electric guitar. Exploring the physical and practical distance between him and his instrument encouraged him to examine other “distances” in various aspects of his life. This lead him to compile a collection of saved letters, emails, and electronic messages sent to him from partners with whom he had been previously intimately involved in order to examine the emotional “spaces” he had created in his past.

Spanning a lengthy period of time (the earliest letter is from 2009) and a variety of relationships, these correspondences reveal the complex nature of human intimacy – some messages show the unabashed beauty of unconditional love, others reveal the bitterness of heartbreak, and still others expose the volatility of passionate lust.

Setting these texts to musical ideas derived from electric guitar etudes has resulted in a collection of compositions that explores the space between the guitarist and his instrumental capabilities, between the individual and his past relationships, and between the composer and his artistic output.

Proxemic Studies: Volume I is the first collection of these compositions, and was released on Norwegian label Smeik on February 8, 2020.

Photos by Jen Squires