Category: Sound Art

Bodyscape

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The main request of the residency was to ‘BE’. A paramount condition in order to let ideas flow in total freedom. There was no obligation of outcomes. Ideas (at least for me) appeared in diverse situations, such as discussion during trails or while having a coffee in the kitchen. I worked mainly on the followings projects:

  • Soundwalks during the open house of the residency: The participants were free to speak, but all of them stayed silent during the 30 minutes trail. Another interesting aspect was the discussion following the trail: Two groups, which attended the walks mentioned self awareness in relation to listening to their own bodily sounds. Moreover, they both started a discussion about the importance of music in neurodegenerative diseases, although I only proposed to listen to the environmental sound and never mentioned music, apart the fact I introduced my self as a composer;
  • During a discussion with Guillermo Munoz, a physicist, after a dinner, who was looking for ways to develop a periodic table for nano particules, I suggested to investigate a fourth dimension. http://leonardo.info/blogs/nano-table/;
  • A sculpture in a tree, as a deprivation (of sound) chamber, to be installed in the coming week in the trails, in collaboration with Christine Lee;
  • Writings;
  • Bodyscape, a composition based on biological and sonic information of the body of a dancer, I developed the strategies while in residency. It was then developed as a work in progress at the Lab Gallery in San Francisco from July 30, and premiered on August 4.

Bodyscape

The piece is a work in progress that changed during its five-day installation at The Lab gallery in San Francisco, where it was performed along with musician Cheryl Leonard and dancer Crystal Sepulveda. The main idea was to focus on the body of a dancer as the main sonic source. The information was taken via biosensors and microphones, which recorded movement of and events generated by the body. In this ecosystem, where the dancer produces sounds, mainly inaudible, we as composer and musician amplified and send them back to the performance space, where the dancer interacted with them as biofeedback. A member of the audience mentioned at some point that it was difficult to know who was producing what. In a sense it was an accomplishment, because I didn’t want to have sound responding to a precise event or gesture, but instead a (organized) chaos in which we tried to discover the rules.

The performance is site-specific and a work in progress. It means that each time we will perform in a new place, debate new ideas and progress on the base of the knowledge acquired in the precedent performance. The site-specificity of the work relates to the spatial considerations of the performance space (e.g. size, resonance, reverberation, sound system equipment, luminosity). The improvisation relies on the set of rules we define between the performers and that will be improvised. The biofeedback is an interaction between the movement of the dancer, the performance space, the sound and the other performers. Thus, it is an ecosystem that is created and on the base of which all the performers react and interact. Therefore, the improvisation part is also linked to the reactions of each other.

The piece will be developed again in the coming months and presented early in 2016 at The Friedrich Dürrenmatt Museum in Switzerland.

Pictures taken during the performance: https://www.flickr.com/photos/swissnexsanfrancisco/sets/72157656413117579

If a tree falls in a forest …

By

Gekko

[The Aleph) contains in its inarticulable shape all the relations with the universe and it is, ultimately, the universe itself. – J.L. Borges

 

Discovering, casualty, accidents, improvements and knowledge encapsulate the meaning of a recently rediscovered word: serendipidity. Apparently, the origin comes from a fairy tale (Merton & Barber 2006). It refers to an ancient king that sent his sons to discover and experience the world (the three princes of Serendip). Following their quest, they had experiences; not the originally planned, but accidental and connected to their knowledge, taking them to new horizons and therefore discovered by serendipity. Real or not, the story behind the word serendipity enlightens a field of possibility for the soundwalker : While walking, one is confronted with several choices of roads, paths and sound (s) to explore. Walking (while listening) is an art practice and a mental map might emerge from the experience of the (sound) walker, the city is therefore perceived through this experience:

As this wave forms memories flow in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira’s past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls. (Calvino 1974: 11)

The walker is confronted with architectures, contexts, paths to follow (or not) and people to listen or not; revealing imaginary sounds emanating from the past. A constant feedback loop between the walker and the environment is activated. (Personal) Memories might arise from such observation.

 

Observing one self-observing

Listening

Walking

Memory

Cognition

Experience

 

Bibliography

Calvino, I., 1974. Invisible Cities. New York: Harcourt

Merton, R.K., and Barber, E., 2006. The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science. Princeton: Princeton University Press

 

 

Ecoutes Imaginaires (Imaginary Listening)

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Art and science are inextricably connected. Changing views of the manner in which nature operates bring about corresponding changes in art . . .

If I imagine myself then as a composer in a situation where anything can be done, I imagine making a music a little different from the concerts of ambient sounds we nowadays hear wherever we are when we listen. I imagine this music as technically like my experience: wireless. I imagine all distinctions between art and life removed. Art would then have to do with the opening of ourselves to the world in which we live  –

From a typed letter from John Cage to Billy Kluver

 

Ecoutes Imaginaires (Imaginary Listening) is the idea of a possible imaginary aural perception emerging from the past while exploring a landscape, and while (sound) walking. Walking is conceived as an art form from which the aural landscape is revealed. Focussing on natural landscapes, reading urban contexts and urban organisations, surrounding architecture through the ear shall provide an alternative and contrasting experience to sight, leading to a combination of several possible realities:

  • The one that existed, but not there anymore;
  • The one that remains;
  • The one imagined;
  • The one, which combines existed and imagined realities within one’s own imagination.

Realities, in which memories, cognitions, perceptions are coined and ready to emerge. Realities appearing as multiple layers and folds in which the imaginary sound is ready to be listened.

What is imaginary listening? This will most probably stay in the imagination of the (careful) listener and will be constructed in his mind; it will be mostly revealed by memory, cognition, perception, consciousness and/or experience. Bill Viola noted that in the past, hearing voices was related to obedience:

The ancient Greeks heard voices. The Homeric epics are full of instances of people guided in their thoughts and actions by an internal voice to which they respond automatically. This suggests a people, as Julian Jaynes has pointed out, not fully exercising what we would consider free will or rational judgement. As with most of us, there is a conversation going on their heads, but it is not with themselves. (Viola in Lander and Lexier 2013: 39)

Auditory hallucination might be considered or perhaps schizophonic would be an appropriate term. How to promote a way to perceive places that have existed, through imaginary voices and sounds? Foucault told us that:

There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places – places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society – which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found in the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. (Foucault in Soja 1996: 157)

Realities

The one that existed

The one that remains

The one imagined

The one merging the one that existed and the one imagined within one’s own imagination.

 

Bibliography

Lander, D. and Lexier, M., 1990. Sounds by Artists. Ontario: Charivari Press

Soja, E., W., 1996. THIRDSPACE, Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers

 

Serendipitouscape

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