Images of recent studio actions
Small kinetics, a live sculpture happening, material resonance, fleeting energetic, talking teacups.
Objects for tea drinking – instruments for sound making. Music, eating, digestion of audio.
Slippery environment of temporal construction, for me it is important that the assemblage encounters levels (different stages of assemble), that I continuously add, subtract and rearrange the array of small reactions that narrate and characterise a larger sound.
The simplicity within such recognisable objects means the viewer is comfortable around them – Someone said to me after that they really wanted to pick up one of the motors or even just tap along with an object, they asked how I would have felt if an audience member had just joined in? I replied with a feeling of excitement “That would have taken the performance to a new area – and in my opinion, a much more exciting territory. Like that of chemistry, it is that of the catalyst that intensifies the reaction – Such a catalyst as audience member, to whom is breaching the threshold of the stage (performer – audience), that takes the action further out of my hands; rather I have become just an instigator or a starting point. This is becoming of primary interest for me, I am increasing more interested in what happens out of my control rather than in. That is say, even by allowing an audience member into the arrangement i’m still somewhat in control, just for the fact that i know what is likely to happen. Perhaps it is more an element of chance rather than a complete act of letting go. Regardless, it would deepen the interrogation between the boundary of music and sculpture, it becomes art making/happening in the moment. Each action specific to a moment yet they constitute an event
A silence punctuated the array of ringing objects that was quite profound, I had allowed one motor to stay on a little while longer as we approached what felt like an ending. The same initial departure became the last activated object. 3 minutes felt like ten under the scrutiny of silence, the final motor had stopped only to be met by short applause, as a silence filled the once activated room; perhaps silence isn’t the word at all, but a far more sensitive array of creeks and shuffles with the adjustment of posture. It became clear to me after that the point at which I thought we had finished, was in fact not then at all. To me, there was a real beauty to that silence that was acutely paralysing, I had experienced it once of twice before when watching other performers – A hard to explain kind of phenomena. The ending, start and finish, the loop, duration, all very workable performative elements that can and should be interrogated and subverted so as to accommodate themselves within the course of a larger duration happening. On this particular event in question, 3 of us played separate works at once, within close proximity of one another. We had decided to do this on a whim in a purely experimental gesture. It is difficult for me to properly reflect upon the performance as a whole being so much a part of it, I can only really reflect sonicly and a matter of feeling and response. Duration as a course of unfolding happenings, is something that has really resonated with me, as an alternative a statement, an action that is unfolding over time becomes more about where it is going and what has happened, rather than the singular statement of a work.
The following day, we set up once more with the intention to better document what was happening. A friend accompanied us in the studio that day, adding and handling the objects in ways i had not thought of, contributing and characterising the sound. Much like the hypothetical catalyst I mentioned before, a new element introduced and the chemical reaction different once more.
I am reminded of a recent blog post by David Toop ‘a distributed conglomerate instrument’ describing the seemingly endless succession of small dishes that form the dining experience of shojin ryori. Not bland in the sense of being indistinguishable or boring. Each dish has a particular character and subtlety of taste and texture but the cumulative effect is to balance rather than overwhelm the others.
“While eating shojin ryori cuisine outdoors at Izusen, Daitokuji temple, Kyoto, in spring sunshine, April past, I reflected on François Jullien’s In Praise of Blandness, the appreciation of blandness or insipidity in ancient Chinese aesthetics and ritual practices. Commenting on a text describing the use of muted music during ritual offerings to the ancestors he says this: “For the most beautiful music – the music that affects us most profoundly – does not . . . consist of the fullest possible exploitation of all the different tones. The most intensive sound is not the most intense: by overwhelming our senses, by manifesting itself exclusively and fully as a sensual phenomenon, sound delivered to its fullest extent leaves us nothing to look forward to. Our very being thus finds itself filled to the brim. In contrast, the least fully rendered sounds are the most promising, in that they have not been fully expressed, externalized, by the instrument in question”
Such reflection seems relevant in the context of the banal household objects and there abstract resonance.