11 Letter words RelabellingRelacqueredRelandscapeRelated
8 Letter words Re
10 Letter words RelabelingRelabelledRelacquersRelationalRe
7 Letter words Re
9 Letter words RelabeledRelacquerRelandingRelapsersRelap
6 Letter words R
5 Letter words Re
4 Letter words Re
8 Letter words RelabelsRelacingRelandedRelapsedRelapserR
7 Letter words RelabelRelacedRelacesRelandsRelapseRelate
6 Letter words RelaceRelaidRelandRelateRelaysRelendRele
5 Letter words RelaxRelayReletRelicRelit
4 Letter words Rely
I’m not certain if it’s still a model of the mind. Maybe the mind doesn’t really change and it can become the only route we take around and through geography. How do we articulate it and situate memory? Maps are two dimensional scores, bits of notation suspended in time, and only as relevant as one chooses to make it. I am suspicious of how dependent I am on maps, diagrams, scores, books, in providing guidance. I pass through institutions looking for things to learn or read. As performers, we’re bred on history, and learning has a firm foundation in the past. In Kelley-Gander-Floyer, the text has been distributed by the composer (Ivan Cheng) across the site it was made for, inside, outside, and outdoors of Track 12, Carriageworks. The sprawling text is made mobile, moving in and out of different light sources and mouthpieces. The text sits in the headsets of the 100 performers, modelled on hypothetically identical skillsets to the composer-artist. An ideal interpretation of the work relies on a shared understanding of score content, hierarchies, and structure, as well as a negotiated and rehearsed performance technique. I’m interested in what draws us in to (re)learn work and what might constitute a definitive interpretation in impossible circumstances. How divisible is (non-Freudian) ego? As a clarinettist, I have an obvious skill set that I hone so as communicate someone else’s arrangement of language. I love the position of serving another person’s command, but being deeply accountable to the resonance of their missive with an audience. Virtuosity highlights this. Does this keep performance vital – the volatility of real time? The amateur performer (a sight reader?) might approach it differently. They often come into contact with the work as a form of community, and as the amateur performance collects an amateur’s audience, they are received somewhat generously. The development of epoche-lacan-orbits sits alongside my graduation, at the onset of ‘professionalisation’ of something I didn’t formally study. I’m told development never ends, but outcomes are time-based, as finite as an enrolment in academia; that is, fixed, but then, only if you choose. What’s worth showing in this changing climate? What’s worth showing in this changing climate? 19
This document is bound as a book because it doesn’t demand to be otherwise, it demands strictures. As always, there are different ways of reading or passing through it. Jeanette Winterson wrote I don’t want to experience time in a line – but I think that maybe it is too easy to string things together as a line - of course you will find a way through the aggregated mass, even if it isn’t diachronic. I’m still trying to figure out how to talk about it – I like the notion of forming lines between things, but even when drawing multiples of lines we tend to make extinct other lines – ordering things can always be seen as tyrannous. Different places, different climates, different times, different/ identical thoughts, different/identical climates? The triangle enacted moves from ‘Australia’ to the ‘USA’ and ‘France’ + Binding in French is reliure which I learnt from ‘For the love of Lacan’ by Derrida. He relates personal anecdotes, which is probably what I found attractive about his writing – there’s a glossy negotiation of ego (super-ego: honour thy father). The translation of written text into reading (and then the processing of the reading + rereading) is an occupation of time. I have spent hours reading, and no matter what speed or level of comprehension, I can declare benefits. In the court of discussion, who can speak solely about ‘that’ text – one would speaks around it too. Can a ‘necessary’ building be acceptably discussed without its physical conditions? How does one move the hypothetical into the physical, the notated into the performed? I am bound by my mind and its limited infrastructure, but I’ll substantiate how I can.
(If I think towards travel or a holiday, I think towards a different time. What is the worth of the transitional, liminal, limbo time of transit? What is the worth of a holiday? Our sensitivity to time segmentation is something similar to a museum preserving a fossil –a particular specimen, rather than its ossified neighbour.)
Speechmaking is reliant on finding a kind of line through all of the points, whether it is forming a figurative, animalistic or mythological constellation from disparate points into a compelling argument, or it’s trying to illustrate rather factual and cohesive facts into a version of one’s own. That is, the invocation of substantiation - these facts - will then be tied irretrievably to the spee-king of them. What speeches are we forced to do in life? Necessity shifts – let’s look at our childhood, which in my limited estimation is the locus of (en)forced speeches. Structuring acceptable arguments on research topics and formalising tactics of debate is a stunning method of scoring the mind. In recent years, education has become increasingly progressive – sliding towards fun, and accepting that people learn in different ways. Will the future slide to match this reform and become malleable to individuals? Beginning to tap into pseudo-psychoanalytic ideas of how education is absorbed, should learning even be accessible? Shouldn’t we have to work for our education and to have to work against a type of resistance? I’m personally conscious of people self-improving, of the tiny stakes of comparison competition around us. If we maintain hierarchies of access, is that so perilous? It might serve to eliminate prejudices or barriers by leaving them solidly in place. Education and society will never match or be cohesive. In down-home wisdom quoted from a text below – all relationship are based on lack. The types of text included in this work range from inane-didactic-circular, to personal-academic-critical, and in all instances, they are not allowed to be complete by the virtue of inclusion here, a fossil separated from their natural habitat. Everything has been edited down, truncated, and when performed, the onslaught of relayed text (or the mass silence broken by introspective, broken muttering) becomes undigestible without a companion (this publication) to act as a map of sorts. 26
Indeed, after the first showing of Kelley-Gander-Floyer I’ve found education a very problematic word when trying to discuss this work. Suddenly people are concerned about their understanding of the work, whether they read it correctly. But that might not be the purpose of this work. The invitation is to reread the score, to systematically criticise and question (epoche) the structure and content which is laid out into strict systems which are attached to piled formal and personal decisions. The provocation is to make an understanding with the ‘ensemble’ that’s available to you – your community, reader, regardless of your proficiency or virtuosity with this language. As it stands, this is the text. Certain texts (or their authors) carry more weight, and have been removed, because they are too unwieldy. Of course, I have say in this, it’s something of a beauty pageant. Two pillars hold this up, they are named: Amelia Groom and Susan Gibb. The exerting force on the model was the gender imbalance in microcosm - the push of representation for the musical work of the young composers James Brown, Austin Buckett, Lachlan Hughes, and Marcus Whale. I spent a while talking about Kelley-Gander-Floyer as a model of the mind, a mirror-stage. It shifted in scale, from piles of notes and sheets of diagrams into a 1:1 physical or hypothetical model, and has since folded down into this, a barely exhaustive dossier. A body of text follows - all of this has been staged, but will you use your time to restage it. Through my recitation and incantation of these texts, they somehow became duration. Constantly changing the conditions of reading and recording the text in long takes, there were strangely small differentiations in their duration. Beyond my own writing, there is utilisation of correspondence, some of which is published without permission. I never sought approval for the use of other ‘performed’ texts, which I treated with typical reverence, attempting accents, thinking about appropriate pedestals for these substantiative texts. The texts grew in volume despite being constantly slashed. For legal reasons, they are not reproduced here, but will be referenced, and at times, commented upon. Absence acts to underline the lack. xxxxx
The following is a pre-ramble, a soft introduction spoken mostly inaudibly to the showing audience of December 20, 2013. It was intended for publication rather than performance.
Thank you for coming out today to this first development showing of epoche-lacan-orbits. Memory is a type of virtuosity too. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the commissioners of this work, Carriageworks, who have supported me so much over the past two weeks, which is just a fragment of the proposed three year commission, as well a ‘many thanks’ to friends and family who have supported me so well. This showing will last approximately 50 minutes, but for some, the unique material you have in your track lasts 70 minutes. There is a total of six hours of willfully aggregated, meticulously recorded material, and this is a first arrangement of it. A huge amount has been generated, discarded, reworked, and continually rerecorded. I hope you find the work constantly in dialogue with this space and with this site. Everything is language, everything is line. Some of your tracks are very explanatory, detailed. The project will begin to crystallise for you. Others are more ambiguous. Dialogue is necessary. This score, this arrangement, of which you have 1/100th soon to pipe into your ears is written for this spatial condition. You are the ensemble charged with interpreting this score. Your proficiency at doing so will vary, but the integrity and transparency of the work, as with all scores, is dependent on the ensemble performing. Who is the audience? Participation is definitely optional. I feel the inclination to note that this work is aligned to the ‘everything always’ of noise. Noise is not a polar opposite to silence, but they work well together. Let’s all synchronise our headsets. We won’t be in sync, but that’s somewhat the point. xxxxx
raising right arm, Ivan speaks through headsets Though your glasses aren’t charged, getting up in front of you all reminds me of the time I spoke at Lachlan Hughes’ 21st birthday party. Lachlan’s aunts are very fond of me, and one of them suggested I would make a great stand-up comedian. That night, she mentioned this to me, she mentioned it to Lachlan. Lachlan disagreed on the night, and then when she called him up a few days later to thank him for the party, she once again restated ‘Oh, your Asian friend would be such a great stand up comedian’. Lachlan called me to tell me again that he disagreed. right arm still raised, walk forward slowly What did she see in me? What were the signifiers? Most people I’ve asked about my potential as a comedian have told me ‘maybe for a niche, cult audience’, others have said that I don’t have enough issues with my self esteem. I remember seeing Mike Kelley’s show in Amsterdam with Lachlan and exclaiming ‘wow, Mike Kelley is a genius!’. He’s a hero of mine. I love him and thus he is relevant to the extent that I was going to build a four metre high horse out of papier mache, balloons inside, in homage to his extracurricular activity projective reconstruction #32 – Horse Dance of the False Virgin. As this work – Kelley-Gander-Floyer – is constantly threatening to be a multi-day gesamtkunstwerk – a total art work, looking at genius, prodigy and potential, a total art work about types of suspension, it made sense to be using balloons, little latex bits which expand to take up space, and with the right type of gas, happily suspend themselves (time locked newspaper, flour and water), holding these balloons to place, suspending them. Walk backwards, arms still up The newspapers are of course signifiers of recorded time – that is, printed paper with current sporting, political, cultural events or tips, attached to a date, attached to a pattern. The temporary and naïve association of these… Pivot 180 degrees, arms coming down.
During this performance, the horse would be battered brutally like a piñata, flipped inside out, and shoved into the back of a four-wheel-drive, waiting outside the space. The homage to Mike Kelley extends to reconstructions, restagings, reperformance in this work too. I’m interested in (inverted commas) lines Walk forward. We’re looking at types of transport along lines, so what you primarily will be asked to do over the duration of this work is walk. Depending on your headset, you may also be asked to relay text, or a sung line. I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, I know it would make me uncomfortable. Stop. Look around Know that, at any point, you should feel free to take off the headset. These headsets are the way I’ve notated this “score”. Like any ‘score’, it is open to interpretation, and the intentions of the composer can be ambiguous. Trust in me, but also trust yourself. Who is always right? The score is for the capacity of this space – 100 people. Today, there might be parts missing. Prepare your visor When you’re in the space, you shouldn’t be too conscious of what other people are doing. I want your gaze to be as though you are looking into a mirror Like your audio headset, your visor is an optional attachment. Let me teach you how to put it on: Look at your reflection as you move it in slowly, aim the wire for your hairline Be cautious when moving with it on – your vision will be slightly impaired, and the space will sometimes be darkened. If you want a break, I recommend just moving it to the top of your head. I hope you find pleasure in the reflection of light. I hope you find pleasure in my voice, alongside the music of my composer pals James Brown, Austin Buckett, Lachlan Hughes, and Marcus Whale. We must all now head inside the space. Put on your visor as you wish. When inside, spread yourselves out comfortably and stand still. xxxxx
soft calculation tone, gentle but forceful. medium pace) messa di voce < > Dialogic - meaning: related to dialogue Dialogic space. This is dialogic space number one â€“ email dialogue that recounts dreamt dialogue, whether with dream characters, or with images. double extraction. as though a rapid mind cycle, but very much a measured pace slightly tiered dynamics, tied to commas. My friend Susan Gibb dreams in geometric shapes, , , I wrote to her: My dream / Last night I had invented a one piece, very svelte, strapless black suit which released a mist at the press of a button. I came from a family of inventors, and my older dream-brother, an inventor who was more business savvy than I, took me to meet a man named Ernest, who was a good investor in start up inventions. Ernest was the type of man who commanded the room despite his demeanour being pure parody. slightly self effacing, ambiguous ridiculing tone, slight insecure mechanism humour
He now preferred the name Momo, and my brother and I we were dream-referred to as Little Momo and Littler Momo, rather than our Christian Names, but Ernest, I mean, Momo, was annoyingly adamant that the misting function was problematic, that weâ€™d be sued and held liable for malfunction. This was problematic to me, as the misting function was the main, patentable innovation in this svelte, strapless suit. What is form without function?
true rapid, scrub out some of the commas a tier louder than previous phrase A night before this, I was in dream St Petersburg, there was no map, and I had just stepped off a boat. I walked through one passageway, mainly with the intent of just walking around, I remember feeling exactly like this as I stepped off a ferry into Helsinki, and in my walking around Helsinki, I took more boats around the islands, staying the night in a hostel on an island fortress, but here in dream-St Petersburg I was looking up at the sky, I was memorising landmarks, committing navigable points to the memory bank, mostly for the sake of knowing which object to walk away from. and suddenly this American man and his girlfriend were asking me for directions in heavily accented, American Russian. I said (North American accent) 'I'm so sorry, my understanding of Russian is rudimental at best, I’m not being rude about your accent. I can't help you navigate, I’m new, a tourist in this town too. I know that through that tunnel just there is the Plaza San Marco of Venice not St Petersburg, but of Venice, it’s where I got off the boat, but it’s the same, I don’t see any canals, but through that tunnel there is the Plaza San Marco - not that grey lit tunnel, but the yellow one, the one that a car drove into, the one that people are coming out of.' almost sleepy, relent on the ‘charismatic space of storytelling’. definitely weary. this is not a dramatic shift But these American touristers, attempting another language, not Russian, not English, not Italian, something else, they didn't want to go to Plaza San Marco, though I was indignant that it was all I could do to help; he pulled out a map from his pocket and she pointed at the Hermitage, number 52 on the tourist map. At that point I registered how
simple the geography was and knew that I could take them there, it was mostly a little north west, and then we could take the right road north, and it'd just be on a corner. I didn’t see how they couldn’t navigate themselves. pressing a little again, separate mindspace. slurred articulation, as though nothing is of great importance But I wanted to go, I’ve always wanted to go to the Hermitage, I’ve read books, watched films, sighed enviously as friends and their relatives relate stories of the museum. If you’re interested, there’s a great film called ‘Russian Ark’, filmed in the Winter Palace of the Hermitage in a single, 96 minute steadicam shot. In this moment, I knew that visiting the Hermitage was one of my only touristic options - once I had gotten off the boat I passed the other prospect, the palace for arts, but I had already visited. So the Hermitage is known mainly to me as mythology. 57
We started to walk, and the tourist map he had was a little reductive, and missed certain small streets. We thought we had gotten to the proper street to head north, but it was a quiet lane which seemed like it would disappear into a tunnel, so we had hesitations about danger and such, but looking over the wide nature strip to the street proper (this was as ominous as the time I walked on the highway in Los Angeles to the Getty museum in rain) - - it seemed that the big road was going into a tunnel, and i thought, perhaps the tunnel just runs parallel, and while I understood that the tunnel could collapse, it's a good, identifiable thoroughfare, in interesting counterpoint to all the landmarks I was noting on the horizon. An appropriate way to get myself back to Plaza San Marco if necessary, maybe I'll sprint through it if I'm alone on my way back.
Approaching the tunnel, the three of us are hesitant, though I don’t know that we had chit chatted enough to become a royal we, we're more hesitant, as there's quite a heavy breathing noise. Shift of space, we're somehow attacked, and reappear in a laboratory space, less clear in dimensions. (without being too obvious, move intonation up a little more to be uncertain, as though placing the thought as moving along. note conflation of time and detail) I'm not myself anymore, I am physically (and mostly psychologically) my good friend, Stephen Sharpe, who is one year and two days older than me, and we're with a whole group of people that I don't really know. The man in charge (do you know the Teshigahara film ‘The face of another’? It was like that surgery), and the man just really wants to bleed us in a way, it's quite vague, whether we'll live to survive, whether organs are harvested. It doesn't really matter, there's a spread of food, so I/Stephen goes for it. There's a knife, and you know it'll only cut fruit, it's not a weapon. It’s not worth trying. In the spread there are delicacies like pastries, antipasti, cheeses, but I, Stephen, loves fruit. First of all Stephen eats these crystal grapes, they're like plum sized, round, iced over amethysts on a vine, and he, I, cut them open on the bare bench before eating. I’m not a savage, there are other people who have been kidnapped and I have good manners. There's some other fruit, like a normal looking rockmelon, and I pick up a glass of wine when suddenly, all the other captives are convened to drink the wine. A toast? It probably has a sedative or drug inside, so then a bridge of options visualises in sight as to what I, meaning, what Stephen can or has done, whether he's poured some wine into other glasses to create the illusion of drinking, siphoned some down his clothes, something like that. Maybe it’s a rationale for a pvc raincoat? Either way, one woman, short, passes out, and the man surgeon asks for “the chinese drop sheet”. They lay it on top of the unconscious woman after she is put on a surgical table, and they cut gashes in her so she bleeds quite explosively, but it only hits the dropsheet covering her. It drips to the floor and runs down floor grooves into a container. It's at this point we begin to suspect that Stephen too has been drugged, and he thinks further about the things he’s consumed, the circumstances, the consequences, and while the effects of the drugs are not quite clear, which might be a symptom of a drug, a catch-22 of diagnosis, we know we'll all have to drink some of that blood. 58
(choreography side thought – if performing this for a live audience, this would shift from stationary, slow, controlled swaying to fist punching in the air and sprinting in large circles around the space. Text shouldn’t be imbued with particular meaning, belief, but careful diction still, as though it is inescapable Susan replies: I was excited by the rumour that PT Anderson was working with Thomas Pynchon on a screen adaptation of Inherent Vice, which in turn lead me to rematch the trailer for the book that Pynchon narrated, with it being the only recording of his voice readily available sans his appearance on the Simpsons. In subsequent dreams his voice has became a disembodied narrator, speaking between menacing faces, cuts of abstract shapes, slow zooms... have I ever told you that my dreams predominantly revolve around zooming and two abstract shapes? It’s weird, and Agatha and I have laughed quite a bit about it as we assume it has something to do with my natural affinity for a lot of her work, particularly the powerpoints.
Its hard to explain the dreams so I have made you a mock up version of my recurring nightmare that I have had since I was a child. Its not 100% accurate but I am sure it will give you an impression - to understand it more, in the dream I track alongside the size increase of the square and each turn of the square is punctuated by a rhythm that echoes its weight and rotation. Its funny, I barely dream, but when I do they are most like this with a sense of menace. What does this mean? I am probably afraid to know! When do you get back? I would love to go to Mulligan's to get my palm read with you! Did I tell you about the psychic I went to for my birthday? At this point, I have been back, and she is away. Via email, I excitedly told Susan about how I was interested in horses, the role of horses in this project. We first met in this space, where she was a convenor-curator for the JUMP mentoring program, and I remember talking next to a table weighed by a morning tea spread about things like Charlotte Church, who we recently revisited because of her now viral speech about the demands of male dominated recording industries on pop ingénues, and about other pop pubescents (it’s funny that Helen Reddy of I am Woman fame points out that girls in the recording industry make a choice to be involved, and that power is not necessarily stripped from them with clothes – clothes are not power?) refocus, aggressive persuasion, constantly toppling self Alongside the Camden childhood of Susan’s-love-of-horses – growing up riding them, and as she corrected me recently in a conversation we were having over gender, sexuality and affect, still riding them, at least once a month. Susan is a legend. pitch variegation, mechanical, replicating human tone
Alongside the Camden childhood of Susan’s-love-of-horses, there’s the Saddle Club, a relatively-popular Australian and Canadian tween television co-production in which a group of girls overcome obstacles with episodic neatness. The franchise spawned a few relative hits on the recording charts. I was fascinated with it as a vehicle through which to talk about things because of the deliberate naiveté throughout, the good vibes of friendship compounded with heteronormative messages of this latter day princess feminine attitudinal horse riding ideal. Let us note that a horse is something of a vehicle, and I like the notion that we roll and jump off their backs into the buggy (as historical babies), and then the magical horse-drawn cart (our Cinderella moment with little worldly perspective, and stylistic bearings related to our rural/suburban lives), and then in our metal automobiles or rubber soled shoes planted to pavement, watching the police horses in a police state, and the in between space of their excrement. Limited to a middle-class suburban perspective, my sightlines are drawn tight, okay, okay, but as a vehicle, the Saddle Club seems like such a crystal to gaze into being something else. I fantasise about Susan’s youth, I am still in mine, I project something of their lives onto her (?) active word is ‘pillory’. Sub-meditation into this text. The Saddle Club had relatable characters who were not particularly impressive in any way apart from their ability to recreationally ride horses, it was a paeon to responsible representations of teenage girls, of a cultural sexuality and manipulation over an audience. The singing released was always sub-par, underproduced, and the crosscultural message of the casting seemed to be deleted by the bland class structures represented. How did that make you feel – How do you feel about that – (speed, urgency, but a grasp on importance of words. raise volume if you care to) But the beauty of it is that they are all riding horses, young girls, riding their dreams, transportation, transformative rides taking them on orbits always back to the same place, their problems returned to the same place, there was never deep digression.
I return to the idea of suspension, my thematic line, they return to a light frustration, angst. What gaze looks at these girls? Their contemporaries, sure, and then others too. Who gazes at young artists? Their contemporaries, sure, and then others too. How do we look at these emerging artists, and what space, like with the saddle club, what concessions are they allowed? Are these girls competitive within a wider market as horse riders or even horse groomers? Why are we putting a spot light on them, (or let me rephrase), why are we constructing a rig to attach a spotlight to, over these generally unremarkable characters. We can make generalisations that the characters marketed to boys in franchise form are generally more spectacular, skilled, exceptional, but are the self-esteems of my female peers so low that something real is needed, or are they uninterested in the fiction and aspiration of gender. Wait a minute, I’ve got my blinders on, I’m just chomping/champing at the bit. 60
only pause now, sidle back a little What is my relationship with a single horse, say, (Pearlshine, Moonlight, Sylvester Stallione) as opposed to my relationship with all horses, horses as a breed and a sentient being by my side, lifting me in speed, the brutal horsepower shift, side saddle, frontal saddle, no saddle, weightless (pack-horse) (in control, percussive consonants) That generation of the saddle club has become used and redundant, because they age. I wonder about where they are now, as women, as former child actresses, and then I think about where the horses are now. What is the legacy of the horse? I talk about transportation, increments of distance, increments of measuring time, that I count the time I use here in word counts, seconds, minutes, durations of the music used, blocks of text as standard measures, and in the same way that these measuring sticks are cut to length, we think about horsepower. Let’s think about giant giant horses, how we slid off their backs and into carriages in the evolution of transport. The muscles were with us, and then powered us, and we think about cars, at least, prestigious ones, in terms of horsepower. What’s the power in my car? My car is parked outside. (back to humanoid mechanical) How has the way we see a horse shifted so drastically? It’s there, that change in time, our dependence, and the way I look at it from above, atop, behind, grooming on the side. Yes, there’s the vantage point that you have cantering, and let’s face it, if it was our primarily mode of transport we’d need speed, we’d be used bending over the mane and galloping into the sunset. They don’t use ‘need for speed’ as a cliché for nothing. But you might say ‘Ivan, that isn’t a cliché. It’s simply a tagline or cultural phrase which rhymes’, and I might say, that’s besides the point, I wish we could let
it slide. Hop in a different carriage. But if we slide from the back of the horse (and let’s not even consider the danger of doing this while side saddling) into a buggy or carriage, we’re already in this confusion of class, at least, in the way we can perceive it from our perspectives now, I see: (Deliberately listing, as well as somewhat listless) Horses in relation to the saddle club, the horse portraits in 30 rock, the horse as companion in xena warrior princess, Hercules of course, the film Melancholia, the Bat for Lashes song, Patti Smith, Natasha Bedingfield, The Rolling Stones, Susan Boyle, Susan Gibb who likes to ride horses, Gilmore girls, as in the pony who dies while being ridden, then the horses of Lorelai’s dragonfly inn, Cletus and Desdemona, Desdemona - plays of antiquity, not even the immediate of Shakespeare, because the Othello thing was too easy, but thinking more about Poseidon, horses from the sea, Hippolytos and his death, Phaedra of course, classic Freudian mother cursed to lust 61
after her son, and the way we staged it, Greek theatre with masks, a monologue I learnt for a Greek theatre adaptation of Hippolytos, in a version by Anne Carson (this translation is not anne carson place alongside translation into greek ancient greek original, phonetic, text relay + space acoustic) (gravitas, hoarse reading, jagged poetic line) zeus, if I am guilty, let me die. but make certain theseus learns how wrong he is, whether I live or die.” his wrist flashed back the whip and it flickered with the solid cracks over the horses’ flanks. We servants jogged beside our master, heads bobbing near the reins, out the straight road to Argos and Epidauros. As we plunged though that desolate country, we saw a headland rising beyond our borders, far out in the Saronic Gulf. At that moment a subterranean undertone gathered volume like Zeus thundering, or an earthquake’s massive tremors – a thoroughly chilling sound. The horses slashed their heads, their ears shot straight up. Our fear grew violent as we tried to locate the source of that sound. Eyes scanning the shoreline swarmed over by the loud surf, we saw this huge uncanny wave frozen against the blue sky, wiping out our sight of the Skironic coast the Isthmus, and Asclepius’ rock. The wave bulged ever higher, a mass of seething foam, geysers shot clear, and then it charged the land taking dead aim for the racing chariot. Just as the wave’s tremendous peak broke loose its waters, it disgorged a mammoth bull, savage and crazed. The whole earth swelled as the bull bellowed and answered with a counter-roar. Our numbed eyes, hit by these wonders, blacked out –
nt for a
At that instant the horses panicked. Hippolytos, instinctively skilful with horses, seized the reins in both fists, leaning backward against their live weight as a sailor puts his back into an oar. The horses clenched the fire-hardened bits in their jaws and tore free of their master’s control, no longer feeling the harness or the chariot’s weight. Hippolytos tried to reach safer terrain but as he veered the bull would cut him off, spooking the horses sideways, out of their minds with terror. But when they bore down insanely on the rocks the bull closed silently in, harassing the chariot’s outer edge, which struck the cliff, the whole chariot rocking up and over into chaotic, sliding wreckage. Axles, spokes, linchpins sheared off, exploding into space. Our wounded lord was trapped as the reins lashed him into a terrible snarl – he was dragged thrashing and his head smashed rocks, the flesh coming off in skeins. I never heard more tortured screams: ‘Stop! you mares,’ he was saying, you were my children stop! Don’t kill me! My father’s murderous curse! I am a good man! Help me friends, Cut me loose!” we were all willing and sprinting, but it was hopeless. We were winded and the horses outran us. When he did somehow roll clear of the leather thongs we found him just barely breathing. What happened to the horses and that grim monstrosity of a bull I don’t know – they must have vanished somewhere among those rough cliffs.
pause, continuing the hoarse tone and style, but not trying to manufacture poesis The Greek notion of theatre is in the round. Masks, chorus, males… There is
movement in circles, looking out of the circle and then people looking into the circle and one door and then I suppose there’s music, but we’re not historically sure what it was, so people spend their lives speculating. What’s the attraction to period style? Who likes to point out anachronisms? still hoarse, gradually shifting to something more neutral Season 2, Episode 10 of Gilmore Girls is titled ‘The Bracebridge Dinner’, which is an event held in an inn, modelled after the event that happens at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, which is modelled after events that take place in Washington Irving’s novel The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Canyon, Gent. This renaissance style dinner theatre is hosted for the town-folk of Stars Hollow by the manager of the Independence Inn, Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, after the party guests are snowed in, but everything paid for. By a series of circumstances, Lorelai’s daughter, Lorelai Leigh Gilmore, also known as Rory, invites a school colleague, Paris Eustace Geller, to join the dinner, and when asked by Lorelai Victoria how she’s going, Paris Eustace comments of the amusing anachronisms – the shape of the ice, the tube socks of the servers. Paris’ character is portrayed through the show as hyper-intense, favouring academic study over socialising, but also hyper-aware of her personal failings in the light of the standard teenager. Indeed, the series seems to revel in the disjunct between the uniqueness of the characters and worlds portrayed, and the fundamentally mundane and conservative views which underpin their behaviour – homophobia, snobbery and racism, intellectual preferencing, Christian values, and female protagonists who dress in accordance to passing trends, often for the eyes of male purveyors. Nevertheless, the Bracebridge episode of Gilmore Girls is rendered attractive for the lavishness and balance of the table, with distinctive characters all having tidbits of dialogue and one liners to keep the repartee sparkling along. The episode, it should be noted, begins with the Gilmore Girls building a snow-woman, in an amateur likeness of Bjork, as opposed to a stooped over Ebenezer Scrooge, which a man is power-buffing in front of a small audience. The episode ends with the snowy Scrooge a stump, the Gilmore Girls crowing that the first prize – a new set of US quarters, will be theirs by default because of the collapse of Scrooge. What I mean to say is that Paris notices the anachronisms.
quite measured, somewhat slow. Text progresses in circles – every phrase returns to a departure point, so take that step back towards the initial podcast point whenever we can. I listened to a podcast on the ABC Classic FM website, produced by Stephen Adams, which was related to a concert that Austin had curated, called Everything Always. Humorously, the concert was restricted to a certain presentation of Noise – through selected works of Peter Ablinger, Cat Hope, and Austin Buckett. Ablinger and Hope are of an older generation of composer, and Austin has what I understand to be close relationships to them as artists. insert a richer radio voice in, enliven resonance Stephen Adams, the producer, a man, a composer, is a man who I first met when I was just starting High School – he was teaching composition. So I suppose he was one of my first composition teachers beyond what the school supplied. One of the works of his that he first showed me, (and we returned to with the year 12 syllabus, long after his departure), was, is Sydney Dreaming, though this is far from the only piece of his. I suppose I’m trying to imply something here, about works that become representative in our minds, like certain things by Marina, or Miley, or Mariah. There’s a limit to how much brain space (or is it names and knowledge) that we can (or want to) attach/invest to a name. On the web archive of the Australian Music Centre, Stephen Adams has a pretty long list of works. I know this list isn’t everything, though it’s ‘always’ there. I hone in on Sydney Dreaming, and click the hyperlink. Stephen writes: Sydney Dreaming was written in response to the sound environment of Redfern and the tensions between the "two-thirds world" of life on The Block and the "first world" of commuters and the nearby university. The piece brought together my attempts at performance poetry, my work with ambient-industrialfolk-rock band One Over Zero, my choral experience, and textural and timbral ideas from my work with electronic music and harmonic singing. Written in Year: 1988 Duration: 9 min. Difficulty: Medium Contents note: The work forms a day cycle in the form of a triptych: 1. waking from half sleep into action 2. the bustle of city life, contrasted with reflections on its outsiders 3. day's end and the slow decay of the city's brilliance Stephen, who I see around the place at concerts and such, lives just across the road, on Wilson St. I have only been to his house once, perhaps in 2011, when I still identified as a vocal improviser of sorts. He was on sabbatical at the time, and I think he was um, trying out some ideas, and was using his wife’s texts, to come up with a new performance piece. It’s not my right to convey his thoughts, which were 73
never made public, so I would discount what I’m saying, I only speak from memory. But being at his house was fun I think/ I think I was a little nervous, I was early, and had bought a muffin and coffee, in a combo deal, from a place on Abercrombie St. He was ill, and had wanted to reschedule, but I did not receive that text message. He played me some of his vocal work; I believe it was on his computer, a macbook, with a program like protools? I marveled at how neatly he had labeled all of the tracks he was working with. We improvised a little, and about ideas. Perhaps it’s a given, but working in radio, and with his history as a vocal performer, he has a tremendous, really fruity, rich bass voice, and when he reads things out in the podcasts that he produces, I smile, Oh Stephen, that’s nice. These podcasts are part of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s series on new music, these particular ones subheaded NOISE. I like that this is nationally representative, it’s somewhat major. I want to make a funny alignment - that we’re talking about white noise, particularly in light of Stephen’s two-thirds world reference to Redfern. So he began this podcast with sections of white noise, from Austin’s piece Dead Machines. As far as I know, this white noise was prerecorded sound by Elia Bosshard, who is Austin’s girlfriend, a flautist. A flautist named Lina Andonovska, who by all accounts is doing quite well right now, and is receiving a few awards, commissioned the piece ‘Dead Machines’. I think I read that she was an ambassador for the recent Melbourne Festival. She seems to me, to be one of the faces of newer classical musics in Australia, though her interests span across musical genre, to gypsy type music, jazz, genre genre etc. I know that she passed this year’s American summer at the Bang on a Can festival, alongside a few other Australians. Anyway, the mythology of this piece goes that Austin had written it, commissioned by Lina, who premiered it in Melbourne. From what I understand, she had expected that the piece written for her would be more in line with earlier work by Austin, similar to his release ‘stuttershine’. They had studied together, and were in each others’ circles. From what I understand, her imaginings in commissioning the work were more loop based than the brutal noise, coming out of four channels of speaker. Austin’s musical history lies in a jazzy piano history, and I dare say that part of his enthusiasm for this project was perhaps trying to transgress these classical forms of presentation with his music. His trust is valuable to me. Speaking to Lina recently on the phone, I asked her about how she felt about that premiere, a year on, about how the work functioned, and how she would treat her responsibility at birthing this little baby of a piece. She described it as a linchpin for her recital in which it was premiered – it was so completely different to the other music that it managed to act as a great complement, and yes, she had been surprised when she received the score, so had invited the audience to come to their own conclusions.
My personal weakness for the avant-garde, for experimental work means I hear this as an almost populist statement, of trying to water down serious material for an audience to access it, and still, perhaps it remains impenetrable. Is that okay? I do know that Austin’s new landlady is named Lina, a lovely Italian woman who gave him and Elia some cake when they moved in, but this is another Lina; what is the line of intention between a composer and performer, especially in the now? As a performer, I know that we rarely have the time we want to prepare a premiere work to
perfection, and it often takes time to understand this new arrangement of language that we’re playing with real depth – understanding a piece constantly shifts, it becomes something else, constantly. With a very minimal score, I wonder how Austin gauged how his notation would affect Lina, his performer. What was he trying to extract from her as a performer, and how would another flautist, perhaps his partner Elia, interpret the same score, seeing that she had been involved with the development of the work as well. The score for this piece Dead Machines, is very clean and clear. In the notes, Austin talks about the way he wants the mouth of the performer to operate on the flute heads; yes, it is a piece written for the head joints of four different sized flutes. Place lips over embouchure hole and blow air to create a flat plane of white noise. The articulation should neutrally be in between shh and ffff articulated with t (but not possessing a blatant accent or emphasis on this). Entry should be as though one is switching on and off a static television or radio in between stations. The ‘switching off’ of the texture may be achieved by blocking the air with the tongue. The embouchure size should be small, and with a concentrated and high velocity of air; as if blowing air into a balloon or tight space. Taking this instruction to be as carefully considered as the way the work is notated, it’s difficult to reconcile with the title of the piece. What is a dead machine? Is it the performer? A television or radio signal is a cohesive, vibrant vision, product of many people, and often maximized to be as ‘alive’ as possible. There’s a culture of the in-between as well, people using the poetry of the static and noise, so I can’t see that as dead. The instructions pertain to breathing, and it is a highly energized type of breathing. Pausing to consider, which might be the invitation from the distance between written text and musical language, it might be my definition of ‘dead’ which fails me. The mythology of ‘dead machines’ precedes my deliberation about it. It is only heightened by the fact that Austin does not have a recording of this work that he would be happy to give me. So what I’ve heard, comes from this podcast, over which Stephen Adams speaks in that voice of his, and from a beautifully clear review of the concert Austin curated for ABC classic FM.
Published in Realtime 113, the review is written by Rishin Singh, a Sydney based musician who is active within what might be termed the improvised music scene. I’ve known Rishin for longer than I’ve known Austin; he is someone who I’d consider articulate, intelligent, opinionated. RAUSCHEN IS THE AEROPLANE LANDING OVER MY ROOF AS I LEAVE HOME TO CATCH THE TRAIN TO THE CONCERT. RAUSCHEN IS THE TRAIN IN THE TUNNEL: SPEEDING METAL REARRANGING MATTER—STAGNANT AIR INTO A WAIL SQUEEZED BETWEEN WALL AND WINDOW. Rauschen is the between space on your radio dial, the audio snow of complete information separating tinny broadcasts of opinion, news, entertainment, talkback music. Ironic then that this concert of the Noise Works of Peter Ablinger, Austin Buckett and Cat Hope took place in a studio of the ABC in Sydney before 50 or so audience members, though primarily for national broadcast. Although proclaiming the rather ambitious title Everything Always, the program of 10 short compositions can be dissected into three different approaches to the use of Rauschen: simulation, submergence and composition. dot dot dot In Dead Machines the Conservatoire reared its ugly head, sounding in the central solo section to this listener as if the score directed Andonovska to improvise her own contribution to the pre-recorded Rauschen. The result was virtuosic chromatic runs: the Conservatoire’s version of everything, always. There’s a distance in how we can even begin to consider, shape our understandings of what we consider noise. Rishin looks and listens with a very particular set of educated ears. In my experience, those who might be considered uninitiated into these less popular sound worlds enjoy the music viscerally, they like the sensation of the sound, as opposed to other sensations. Can we avoid implications which attach us to certain institutions, traditions? Probably not, but do we want to? What would that liberation mean? But let’s come back to that podcast, the downloadable, little radio program which Stephen Adams at ABC classic FM produced. There is an interview with Austin. The interview also included Cat Hope, who apart from having a great name, is a composer and flautist, associated with Decibel, with PICA in perth, with Tura, things like that. I met a Swedish girl named Tura. In type, you might even confuse it with the name Tuva, like Tuva Semmingsen, who sang a version of Laschia c’hio pianga for Lars von Trier’s film AntiChrist, which stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. I actually saw this film at Dendy in Newtown with Lachlan and Marcus, as well as 76
another friend of ours, Travis. It’s funny, Travis and I used to run a performance group together. The last event we were planning never happened, but was supposed to take place in an corporate showroom space, a kind of multi-room installation, where there would be billowing sheets, powered by vacuum cleaners, and then I think there were going to be bodies which methodically worked to reduce, stymy the billowing. It never happened, we were younger then. There are stories I could tell you about Willem Dafoe in particular, but maybe it’s best to speculate, just to think about his character. But that aria, lascia ch’io pianga, has just followed me around the world, you know, the first time I sang it was in my piano teacher’s studio; he had decided that I would be a countertenor, he taught me what a countertenor was, and we spent some time during lessons with his Russian playing accompanying my singing. He was a great man, Matthew Krel, and his powerful, deeply musical presence is missed in Sydney, especially with the recent announcement that his personal project, the SBS Youth Orchestra is to disband after 20 years. As I grew up with Matthew, I grew up with knowing the workings of that orchestra. It was a tragedy when he passed sudden in 2009 of encephalitis. The person who conducted that interview in the podcast with Austin Buckett and Cat Hope, was Julian Day, who is the first composer I know who expressed distaste at the linking of age to the term ‘emerging artist’. I had rolled back into Sydney from a trip away, I had all these dreams of programming music of so called ‘emerging composers’ from places all around the world, of trying to figure out what on earth trends were, of trying to overcome a perceived insularity and creating a space for real critical discourse rather than fetishism around foreignness, but yikes, there are hoops of finding people to give the hours to learning the material, that the material is so difficult to represent accurately, that it’s quite specialized, that it takes a lot of power to muster the organizational will to make anything happen. I had emailed quite a few people to hear what they thought might be interesting to hear. Julian was one of these people. I’m a big fan of Julian’s music, I’m a big fan of Julian’s music, I’m a big fan of Julian; he has a pretty great voice too and… Austin spoke an anecdote: A friend of his was playing a Bach fugue, and his piano teacher had asked him to bring out one of the voices. To Austin, this did not really make sense. Should equal voices not be equal? So here lies a lot of hoops to do with the semantics of historical performance, right? How should we play something. What freedom, or liberties do we have with music, and where do we stand. To me, it’s like a lecturer, talking about phenomenology, and we weigh up their importance as a lecturer, their clarity in expressing ideas. If you were me, you might also actively critique their physical presentation; body language, garments, choreography, and their social standing. A lecturer is anyone, right? And as a lecturer, I want you to be my insidious student, critiquing everything I do, while respecting and working inside this educational structure I’ve set up. Therein lies a big issue for me; I guess I’ve always been pretty confounded by people’s allergy, reaction, distrust of educational institutions. I know they’re always limited, but 77
we can manipulate it into whatever we want, right? The measured nature of Austin’s music is striking. Parsing through his scores, they have an attention to aesthetic detail within the performance directions. The structure of the music is almost always very clear, as though they are a concrete architecture that we move through. Each piece of his is a building, or a series of linked rooms. Some works of others might be better likened to a single room. While it is, of course, possible to imagine anything as an architecture that we move through, I’ll confess to thinking further about this analogy – most important is the awareness of how we move through. Elizabeth Grosz says that “Art is, for Deleuze, the extension of the architectural imperative to organize the space of the earth. Art, developed alongside of the territoryhouse and house-territory systems, is what enables the emergence of pure sensory qualities, the data or material of art. This roots art not in the creativity of mankind but rather in a superfluousness of nature, in the capacity of the earth to render the sensory superabundant, in the bird's courtship song and dance, or in the field of lilies swaying in the breeze under a blue sky. It roots art in the natural and in the animal, in the most primitive and sexualized of evolutionary residues in man's animal heritage. Deleuze and Guattari provide a strikingly architectural example for their discussion of the performance of sexual allure or attraction: Every morning the Scenopoeetes dentirostris, a bird of the Australian rain forests, cuts leaves, makes them fall to the ground, and turns them over so that the paler internal side contrasts with the earth. In this way it constructs a stage for itself like a readymade; and directly above, on a creeper or branch, while fluffing its feathers beneath its beak to reveal their yellow roots, it sings a complex song made up from its own notes and, at intervals, those of other birds that it imitates; it is a complete artist. This is not a synaesthesia of the flesh but blocs of sensations in the territory—colors, postures, and sounds that sketch out a total work of art. These sonorous blocs are refrains; but there are also refrains of posture and color, and postures and colors are always being introduced into refrains: bowing low, straightening up, dancing in a circle and a line of colors. The whole of the refrain is the being of sensation. Monuments are refrains. In this respect art is continually haunted by the animal. (DELEUZE AND GUATTARI 1994:184) It is to this extent that architecture, and all the arts that follow from it, are linked to the birdsong, the olfactory dance of insects, the performative displays of vertebrates, 78
including humans: they are each the constitution of a territory, a sexualized territory, the space that is one's own in which one can enact sexual seduction, extract sexual satisfaction, and intensify sexual forces. Was I influenced in this text, by Grosz, by Deleuze and Guattari on receiving Austin’s music? No, music is constantly analogised to physical structures, whether it’s a cathedral, a baroque palace, a box – sonic landscapes is just a set of language. By using field recordings, and with his fetish for four speaker setups, Austin sets a very distinct set of aural lines in space, which you might think of as a little arena which operates regardless of the acoustic that it’s in. Incorporating field recordings into his work, I feel as though he’s trying to trigger an awareness of the physical environments that sound generates or evokes. Why is this sound here beyond aesthetics? His work ‘reset’ is for multi-percussion duo and field recordings, the percussion set up in the centre, reflected images of each other, with the only difference being one side has a gong, the other a bass drum. The audience is seated in a circle, the quadraphonic set up all around. However, it uses a field recording from LAX airport, which sounds to me like this really distinct civic space, a type of stress, lighting, transitional, terminal, something along the lines of the anti cinematic, not love actually, not tom hanks in the terminal, not the child actors of unaccompanied minors, there’s an abstractness, almost like a meditation on the appeal of repetition in what they call minimalist music. Indeed, the two percussionists are attached to ‘obviously large headphone sets’ which provide a click track, in which the two percussionists are only sometimes in synchronicity. I guess it sounds phase like, minimalist, but it’s notated quite precisely and, on the page, without this organic shift or clarity of gesture that one might expect from something with such a clean rhythmic basis. It’s notated in 13 sections, each ending with a pause, but the way he’s laid it out beautifully on gridded paper relates to 30 second increments, with the tempi calculated to match. What’s the natural rhythm that we would want to go at, how does this click track shift our rhythms? Listening to it, I can’t help but hear it as somewhat poetic, especially with the amount of colour he uses, the richness and line between what we might say is ‘brutal’ and ‘awesome’. It’s pretty glued to who Austin is as a person – quite romantic, vegetarian, excited and passionate about certain things, holding reserve and thinking through ramifications of presentation professionally? I like the idea of him thinking about the sound world offered by sandpaper on a snare drum – it’s source material for a cd of thirty one minute long snare drum loops, but poetically, it’s sanding down a skin, a direct hand rather than brush on the resonance of the drum, barely enough impact to trigger the rattle of the snare.
I was with my friend Megan Washington in the American bar of the Savoy in London. People said ‘of course Meg would meet you there, she loves the American bar’. I’m not sure what that statement meant, but I imagined it was loaded. It didn’t make sense to me though, because our meeting place had sense = we were seeing the musical Cabaret at the Savoy theatre. She took a cab there, stuck in traffic, and taking the subway, I arrived first, ordering a drink in the dark room. Speculating on ‘why there’ in a time free conflation of things she said that night and my own observations, I could only really imagine that her love of the American Bar comes from her understanding of its historical place, the importance one might lend to a café where French intellectuals met. I was not in a clear position to question the American bar, it was our first oneon-one evening, and over a drink we met face, and I don’t remember what I drank, but remember she had a very specific gin order, and I have difficulty in constructing further the point – she was seductive as a companion, it’d be hard to say all that was said, which was and is always so necessary. Is not one of the finest tenets of friendship the fertility of interest? Can I cleanly indicate us as male and female, non-sexually attracted, gravitating towards something, maybe it’s the fluid of beverage? I might assert that because we kept on moving and drinking, her shoes were impractical for the cobbled nights, but very beautiful – a red sole. I wore new suede slippers with an elaborate cross stitch, a first pair of comme des garcons shoes, and because on the phone we had mentioned new coats (mine an issey miyake fete blanket coat, hers rick owens (unseen, undescribable), that was what I was in or wearing/ or are we survivors, smoking, puffing smoke signals, a cigarillo, a cohiba, dismantling layers in my fingers and mouth so I stub it out in a pot plant and we step back inside to a show where we feel we could have performed every role better. Over nine hours or so, we confidently formed definitions of each other, saying what we are, what we could be, articulating what we had thought to say. This was a ‘first meeting’, engineered after a first meeting. A history into an evening, and then into a jittery few paragraphs here. Her ties to the music industry are not really ignorable 82
either. Our acts of disambiguating interests despite (or within) profession moved gently towards somewhere governed by something, and in a statement that acts as a marker, a substitute for elegance, all these personal anecdotes lead to a point of substantiation within the work epoche-lacan-orbits, and while they are all true, selected from a chronology of my life and then taken out of what we might call diachronic order, which is historical order. (This correlates to the sensation of reality-truth-nonfiction, adamant constructions, pure recollection in a certain style. Lacan’s seminal text compilation Ecrits was diachronic, but since his theories evolved throughout his career, Ecrits only documents revised versions of lectures and essays. Who steps out to decide that a chronology of launches, of announcements and declarations, is the best way to keep things. What a confident way to premiere thought, with the presumption that a mind reading the work will construct lines through the text, and as Lacan drops names for the sake of arguments, we are expected to gather them like bundles of hay and examine them by different lights. These examples line the context so it is then clear what or how we’re seeing, so maybe it’s sensible to outline it in this way – let me talk about this project’s conception.
Epoche-Lacan-Orbits has occupied a wide space in my mind ever since it was proposed, when I met Lisa Ffrench, who had asked me to ‘just bring ideas’. It was my last week in Sydney before leaving for a year or so, and thinking about using the space again after a short residency, I was dealing with the scale, the capacity, the audience. My notebook pages of these Carriageworks ideas are amusing; I brought three decently formed ideas to the meeting – a collaboration with James Brown which we had talked about for a while, which probably would have been synaesthetic and slightly surreal, a lobster who climbs a staircase of steaks to become a cat, the feet of audiences in wrapped in plastic bags, placed in troughs, which at points would be filled with warm red jelly, made to cool, a multi-projector experience, or an extended production of an opera I would stage called Dogma, which had music by Russell Phillips and Lachlan Hughes and a libretto which was a string of maxims I had put together. But the priority idea was to execute one image over a duration; it seemed I was interested in the acoustic of this Track 12 space, of forming a focal point for the room, for the audience. So under notes which espoused a calendula garden, scout’s honour, burden-free baseball playing, I made notes on a glass, cylindrical tank in the centre of the space, the audience seated around it. I would be seated as a singer inside the tank, and one of the most stunning violinists I know, Doretta Balkizas, would be seated at the top. We would perform a recital of baroque style songs, our instruments as two equal parts. Probably no text, with my voice amplified by a microphone directly above the glass tank. A very particular sound alongside the violin. During the hour duration, the tank would fill steadily with water, and at a certain point, Doretta would start pushing sediment and litter into the tank. It was supposed to be something like a barometer. 83
Lisa Ffrench, associate director, programming, asked me how I would develop this idea over three years. I was stumped, I had no idea that my ideas were supposed to have duration, how a three year incubation might work. I got to work, coming up with images along the same lines. At LAX airport, the same place that Austin Buckett made field recordings for his work ‘Reset’, I worked on my proposal: A multi-day gesamtkunstwerk that begins and remains in a perpetual state of supension. Developed over three years with a bevy of collaborators, each new scene- environment brings an alteration in scale, exploring the possible movement, while each unfolding action allows for an understanding of world state. Renewing the intoxicating culture of instrumentalists as uncompromised performers, the scenes each have careful light and design choices, and while scenes are developed separately as standalone works, their place within the greater performance structure will guide the technical changes required. The images are devised to shift in scale and perspective from episode to episode, with the constant being the relation of the body within the site, no matter what the staged context, audience configuration. Ivan will serve as a performer in each scene. And I’ll pause there, because this proposal got a tick, and work began. There were two other composers who are no longer part of the project; one is Mark Bradshaw, a composer who has scored a few films, most famously Bright Star for Jane Campion, and the other Russell Phillips, a colleague from school. Russell is about to begin his training to be a doctor, and has made jokes about becoming my GP, which makes me a little scared, a little apprehensive, but I know that they were just jokes. As far as he led to believe, his work load was very heavy and he wasn’t sure he could commit to the project. His name has appeared still on notes I’ve been making, he was a link, an integral part of the social chain and professional chain related to my conservatorium life. Russell was the prodigal something to some of us. I love, I loved his music, he’s a great guy, he might be here today. I miss the presence of his music, but only partially, there’s a lot of love for a lot of things. Mark Bradshaw is someone who I would say is pretty tremendous too. Actually, I believe he’s worked with James Brown, or vice versa, with James thanking me for getting him some work, since Mark came to a performance we did. The first time I met Mark was a Chronology arts performance, where the collaboration of Martin de Amo and Alex Pozniak had just premiered, one called Quest, danced by Miranda Wheen. Mark had recently scored Martin del Amo’s Sydney Festival work ‘Anatomy of an Afternoon’, and had worked with Marcus Whale and our good friend Jacob Abela as musicians for this performance. Later that night, Mark and I took a cab to George St, where we eventually found a karaoke place that would accommodate our talents, and 84
Mark, let me tell you, you are the uncontested karaoke superstar in my book, blowing any competitor in the Bruce Paltrow film ‘Duets’, starring Huey Lewis and Gwenyth Paltrow, out of the water. But the reason I had asked Mark if he would be involved was not so much on the basis of his film scoring talent, more what he said was the music that he sometimes thought about writing, something more like Xenakis, and I wanted to commission him, give him a chance to do so. May I highlight that personal circumstance operates over personal interest? There’s a safety in approaching certain composers. I don’t know that I necessarily could have even coaxed such work out of Mark, especially since we had no existing musical relationship, let alone a collaborative partnership. Would he be able to compose something exterior to his oeuvre? and was his suggestion of his interest, this passing conversation, purely honest? the genre of the work I’m trying to make is also difficult to negotiate. Skipping over my tendency to curate and control carefully, music that is written for something like dance is different to something written for the concert hall. It’s about different types of focus. You will hear, or have heard sections of this work which pass with a lot more success than others – some of this music was written to be seen, written to be accompanied by film, or dance, and the expectations we have differ, as well as the expectations of the audience. In my agenda to talk about music composition as pretty aligned with text composition and performance composition, you’ll notice the language and structure through which I write these diary like passages, are in opposition to some of the other academic language or fiction, emails that you might hear. If it’s relayed to you. In terms of genres not aligning, in realizing my personal agendas in the work, or why I asked people to be involved, about the limits of my taste and social circles, the process has been funny. Receiving an initial package of sound from past work by James Brown, I began this email exchange
Hey, I've listened Oh My God, I think I lost sight of how radically different your music is to the other boys involved. This makes things almost too easy; i had been constructing this argument based on historical aesthetic, levels of focus and awareness. Game changing, but I love it. Do you ever write for voice? Are the sounds ever particularly body generated, or do you hope to create a different type of dialogue. When it came to the choreography of Merce Cunningham, the music was 85
composed separately, written without intention of matching the rhythm of the dance â€“ after all, it makes no sense to simply accent the movement, the music should be in dialogue with the body - interposed. It was only in performance that the two first came together. With this somewhat in sight, how radically does your work, knowing that you often score performance and dance, how does it change during a rehearsal process, and do your collaborators often have their own aesthetic agenda? I know itâ€™s a broad question, i know you have many collaborators, but i'm certain there's an answer that 'i want' in there. x James replies Mostly I think of things in terms of texture or creating a sonic landscape comparable to a visual landscape, except through time. Working with movement or dance I'm usually trying to offer a foundation for them to work from. That's why I call my music 'ambient' even though it might not strictly be sounding as such in relation to the genre. From the ambient music wiki page: Ambient music, unlike other forms of "background music", is intended to enhance acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies in the sound environment. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to "brighten" the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think. "Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting." I usually compose in the space where the choreographer is devising the work almost from scratch, so it is usually a dialogue between improvised dance and improvised music, where I find something that works with what they are doing and vice versa. Then when something starts gelling I run with that, and then often go away and tune it and work on the production a bit more in private. Once I know it is working well.
Often I find the music pushes the dance in a direction that it might otherwise have not gone in, which is satisfying, & does make it feel like a true collaborative and natural process. I never usually try to specifically match sound to movement aesthetic, though I do often try to juxtapose it intentionally. Eg. Slow lethargic drone for staccato movement.
Thanks James. I'm interested in trying to consider the performer as instrument in the music you've sent me. It is electronic in origin. Iâ€™m working with headphones, so two channels, and not necessarily of high fidelity, not amazing studio monitor headphones. Iâ€™ve been thinking about the role of spatialising the sound, the quality of recordings, of manipulating, maybe abusing the integrity of my source materials. So I ask you, can your work, much like an instrumental score, be divided into parts, like channels. The work is always layer based and quite easily and often separated. Because I work entirely digitally I often pick and choose layers and take them out, building texturally. I often will have more than 50 layers in a song, and a lot of these might be MIDI mirrors of other tracks, so they are playing the same thing, to emphasise that layer, or to add a more interesting texture
So how do you consider the 'performer' of your music - the hardware that it comes out of? My hardware/software is everything really. Hardware as in my computer. I was thinking about this yesterday, without the software I probably couldn't make all this stuff, without computers I would probably not be a composer. I often play midi sequences live with just the computer keyboard. Have technical limitations of a venue ever shaped or forced revision of the music you make while in a tech rehearsal as opposed to the set up in 87
development periods? Or in corollary: does sound ever get glossed over during developments with equipment that lacks with the understanding 'that it'll be different in the proper space'? Often a huge amount of subtlety is lost from the composing period in headphones or studio monitors to the speaker system in a theatre, where the majority of my music is heard. Thatâ€™s why I prefer to make a lot of it in the space so I get used to how it sounds, so in a way I write for the space and then have no other expectations otherwise. It's actually shocking to me often how different sound systems can be, and the acoustics. I did a masters degree in acoustics so I know a lot of this stuff theoretically but it's still shocking to hear. I could also fix up a lot of problems if I had the time/money/equipment in a space but often I don't have that kind of time. I'm also becoming a lot less precious with this than most people. Some sound designers would be horrified with what I do (e.g.. recording a lot of things on my laptop speakers)
I guess I'm trying to flesh out a simulation, or more importantly, notation, of how things operate in your absence. For example, I know that the sound for Cannibal, Matthew Dayâ€™s work was sent from abroad, as opposed to Intermission (which I believe you operated on every instance). As well as this, I know you have a long relationship with Belgian company SOIT and their associates, and through this, Iimagine you send things based on understanding of what they might be looking for. I'm understanding this action as similar to a composer writing repeatedly for a particular instrumentalist - is my branding of you under this category 'composer' working, or is it flawed?
I've written stuff remotely, but always with someone I have collaborated quite closely with before, so it doesn't usually feel like to much of a disconnected process. It's weird for me specifically with cannibal because I wrote the music on headphones (most of the track is sub frequencies so I couldn't even hear them, just see them in a spectrograph in the software) while in a hotel room in Japan. I sent it off to Matthew and he used it in his show, which I have never seen. And this is actually one of the works I hear the most compliments about. I thank you for your definition of ambient music; it definitely aligned me better than I was. I suppose I have been primarily (and still am thinking) 88
about the relationship of sound to real-time, 'staged' image. I know you have a mild form of synaesthesia. It was one of the first things I learned about you. How many hard drives have you stored your material on and how do you catalogue stems (since you have ostensibly changed software over years)? I buy a new hard drive around every six months. I have a hell of a lot now… probably more than 30. It's disgusting. I'm scared to plug them in. Also did you know magnetic hard drives just die out with time? So I'd imagine plugging one in in 10 years and it not working. I want to store everything on the CLOUD in the future. I started writing music in Sibelius in high school, with notation. I wrote my high school composition for my HSC in this and it was a techno song, so it just looked like a million repeating crotchets and quavers on a page. My music teacher thought it was hilarious. I actually did quite well marks wise. I think they found it very contemporary. Then I used a program called reason for a while, and then protools, and finally ableton Live. I love ableton. I couldn't imagine not using it now. I use it from the beginning creation process to mixing and mastering to performing. So the technology / instrument has become pretty transparent at this point. I have used it almost every day for the last 8 years now
Dialogue as written form folds out easily, but the conversational flow of text moves us away from a comforting departure point. Picking up from the pause laid in relaying the proposal should be easily achievable, but is not so easy aurally. The style with which I construct other texts is deliberately circular to match much of the choreography in the work. The structure of text I’m piecing together has a very different type of time on the page that is scanned, versus the page read. To reiterate by allusion: The promise I made in this proposal to perform in every episode of the work is pretty confusing to consider – that was a huge restriction that’s placed on the aesthetic possibility of what the work might be. Why would I want to perform. I sat there psychoanalysing this decision, as though I knew a deliberate process of psychoanalysis, as though I could self diagnose and construct and argument before or against. To talk about the self is fundamentally a failure. Once again, I think about the act of extinction which is articulation. I spent years saying that I was 89
interested in drawing lines between things, but I’ve realised my attraction to that is a nervousness and a fear. Everything said becomes reductive, scrutable. The mass, the monolith becomes clearer and cleaner, because it must then be articulated by the viewer. (A structural line and we’re there.) Megan Washington told me that all relationships are based on lack – we’re attracted to what we perceive as desired, and once we achieve that we’re able to move on. How does time relate to this, since it’s a task that involves instinct, to move on, or what exterior forces are there. As James works to deadlines, to developments, so do the other composers and commissions. How can we defend our-self against time, the oncoming tsunami, when I can’t tell if it is pushing us forward or backward, or if we are entirely suspended within it. Privilege. Privilege Privilege. Privilege. Privilege Privilege Privilege
James is currently across town in rehearsal with the performance collective ‘post’, who are developing a show called Oedipus Schmoedipus for the Sydney Festival. I’m quite excited to see and maybe be part of this show – It’s performed daily by different groups. This is very exciting because in a matter of short rehearsal periods, they are expected to become an ‘ensemble’. How does the reckoning power force deal with the idiosyncracies of their performers, or elevate this to a dependable, quantifiable product? And what for? Sometimes I dream of not worrying about what other people think, but at other points it seems as though what other people think is entirely the point.
In a review-dialogue, we see Rob Horning and Daniel Tutt discuss around Lacan. These are two poses that were anonymous to me apart from the ‘line’ through the internet) which took me there. A quick meditation on the idea of a search engine and a work or phrase being quickly illuminated and separated into another stream of visually undistinguished text. Horning and Tutt write attractively, and as you might describe a crush by a brief description, they appear here as brief excerpts. Rob Horning ‘Theory Cults’ I never made the plunge into the more obscure corners of Écrits, but I can relate to the impulse to do so and to the thrill that’s implicit in substituting a blind faith in nominalism for argumentative logic. During graduate school, I made the exciting discovery that jargon can be talismanic. Wielding words like cathexis and interpellation in a seminar room gave me a distinct feeling of power. It wasn’t just about using them correctly, but being the sort of person who had occasion to use them, and people who would nod at their deployment. Webster argues that in Lacan’s work, “concepts which have been introduced in one place are rarely if ever clarified by references to them elsewhere in his writing. But they are continually modified and overlaid with yet more layers of complexity and ostensible significance.” At its most intense, that’s what my graduate-school conversations were like, conducted in language that was ever more compressed and coded, no longer capable of being unpacked yet bearing the affect of so much high-pressure intellectual labor. Webster quotes one of Lacan’s translators, Alan Sheridan, who admitted that “Lacan doesn’t intend to be understood…. He designs his seminars so that you can’t, in fact, grasp them.” But the fact that graduate school seemed to me a cult probably says more about me and my inability to view education as anything other than “self-actualization” and personal growth. I wasn’t always discouraged from this view, but neither did I have it forced upon me. I never abstracted myself from the schooling process and would not accept it as simply a program of professionalization and preferential networking. I chose to cling instead to an impression of the university as a place obscurely designed to aggrandize my ego. I was thus made uncomfortable when any larger mission would come into view.
Webster’s description of Lacan’s personality, based on what he deduces from Lacan’s obscure texts — “an alienated intellectual who hugely overvalues his own intellect and cognitive skills, and has become almost completely cut off from the world of ordinary human relationships” — serves as a pretty good description of what I remember of myself in graduate school. His judgment of Lacan’s theory, that it is “a fiction created by an intellectual in order to alleviate his own emotional predicament,” reminds me of my perpetually deferred dissertation. I could only experience higher education as a cult, because I approached it as an earnest devotee of the most irresistible cult of personality out there, the narcissistic cult of myself. (http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/marginal-utility/theory-cults/)
Daniel Tutt ‘In defense of theory’ Despite Horning’s reliance on Webster’s work, which is filled with a wicked type of Nietzschean ressentiment, it reads to me like Horning’s reliance upon it is more a testament to how comp-lit departments attempt to bring in theory to their courses. I don’t think Horning ever took a philosophy course on Lacan. In my studies of Lacan, I have been fortunate enough to learn him from people who wish to isolate his theory and understand it in-and-ofitself. I have also been in art and comp-lit seminars that messily refer to ideas that aren’t given the time to be fully fleshed out in order to understand, so I definitely know how that feels. But the truth of the matter, as I see it, is that the work of theory is valuable. There is an inherent value in working through a thinker and in spending great amount of time with a text, despite the feeling of drowning in a sea of jargon and complexity. How might we ever rise to the surface and begin to articulate an insight clearly if we haven’t given this time?
Tutt’s closing sentence in the section I’ve excerpted is a little terrifying. Engaging with the thinkers in a fleeting way during the process of research has been a challenge, for not only lack of background in these fields, but also the awareness of stylistic trend to simplicity and clarity. It’s very well to act suspicious of clarity. As an ocean of noise clarifies into ‘sound’, the chaos of Pollock enclosed by the frame, that bundle of lines, textures, sounds, becomes a whole. I thought about my body floating in the Atlantic again, and I thought ‘I suppose it’s okay as long as we don’t sink’, and then about the distraction of having fun, having a good time. What’s the necessity of procrastination, in hanging out and relaxing. What does time mark on an idea?
Dylan Evans ‘From Lacan to Darwin’ --- abridged The symbolic order: The only way for people to escape the illusions of the imaginary is to uncover the linguistic symbols that shape those illusions. Just as Marx thought that ideology was a product of, and a cover for, economic forces, so Lacan saw the imaginary world as a product of and a cover for linguistic forces. It was not the stream of pictures passing across the mind's eye that determined human behaviour, but the unconscious web of words and phrases that lay beneath the images. Psychoanalytic treatment was, therefore, principally about speech. Lacan denounced the way that his contemporaries in the psychoanalytic movement had come to neglect the role of speech in psychoanalytic treatment, and argued that the treatment should revolve around the linguistic analysis of the patient's utterances. Hence the emphasis Lacan placed on linguistics. • The subject-supposed-to-know: Lacan did not believe that psychoanalysts should think of themselves as experts, able reveal the hidden meaning of the patient's speech, but he did believe that the patient should think of the analyst that way. The analyst, in other words, did not really possess a secret knowledge, but was merely 'supposed' by the patient to posses this knowledge. In the course of the treatment, the patient would come to 'de-suppose' the analyst of this knowledge – that is, to lose his faith in the analyst. That, in fact, was the whole point of psychoanalytic treatment. Why, then, did the analyst collude in the original gullibility of the patient, rather than simply telling the patient up front that there was no secret knowledge to be had? Because it was only by learning the hard way, so to speak, that the patient could experience the painful process of dissillusionment, and thereby realise that nobody held the key to his life except him. As far as the theory was concerned, it was the process of writing the dictionary that was most responsible for my growing scepticism. As I became more familiar
with Lacan's teachings, the internal contradictions and lack of external confirmation became ever more apparent. And as I tried to make sense of Lacan's bizarre rhetoric, it became clearer to me that the obfuscatory language did not hide a deeper meaning, but was in fact a direct manifestation of the confusion inherent in Lacan's own thought. But whereas most of Lacan's commentators preferred to ape the master's style, and perpetuate the obscurity, I wanted to dissipate the haze and expose whatever was underneath – even if it meant seeing that the emperor was naked. In the preface to my dictionary, I wrote that this obscurity [of most Lacanian writing] has even been seen as a deliberate attempt to ensure that Lacanian discourse remains the exclusive property of a small intellectual elite, and to protect it from external criticism. If this is the case, then this dictionary is a move in the other direction, an attempt to open Lacanian discourse up to wider scrutiny and critical engagement. The value of Lacan's work lay not in any ability to describe the facts, but in its power to produce novel ways of interpreting literary texts. For scholars steeped in literary 114
theory, this was I suppose a natural response, but to me it seemed clearly at odds with the whole thrust of Lacan's life and work. For Lacan was not a literary critic, but a practising psychoanalyst. Despite the huge amount of time that Lacan spent discussing literary texts in his seminars and writings, he never made a single attempt at literary criticism. Lacan was not the slightest bit interested in literature for its own sake. Every time that Lacan discusses a work of literature, or a piece of art, he does it for one reason, and one reason only; to illustrate a psychoanalytic concept so that other psychoanalsysts can understand that concept better and use it in their clinical practice. To the Lacanians in Buenos Aires and Paris, that was abundantly clear. They were as horrified as Lacan himself was by the way that psychoanalsysis had been perverted, as they saw it, by literary critics and cultural theorists in Britain and the USA. Lacan railed against what he saw as the `hermeneuticization' of psychoanalysis, arguing that psychoanalysis was not a general hermeneutics that could be `applied' to any area of enquiry, but the theory of a specific domain, namely, the process of psychoanalytic treatment. Lacan could not have cared less about deepening his students' understanding of art and literature; all he cared about was deepening their understanding of psychoanalysis. And psychoanalysis was first and foremost a method for treating patients, and secondly a theory of how that method worked.
I wanted to conduct an in-depth and rigorous philosophical analysis of Lacan's work, to see if I could resolve my nagging doubts about the apparent inconsistencies and fallacies I was increasingly discovering in it. I soon discovered that such an approach did not fit in well with the academic atmosphere in Buffalo. Neither the graduate students there, nor my supervisor, seemed particularly concerned to enquire whether Lacan's views were consistent or
correct. To them, that was a vulgar question, demonstrating a naive misunderstanding of the Lacanian ouevre. To them, it was as ridiculous to worry about the factual accuracy of Lacan's work as it was to worry about the factual accuracy of a poem, or a symphony. The value of Lacan's work lay not in any ability to describe the facts, but in its power to produce novel ways of interpreting literary texts. For scholars steeped in literary theory, this was I suppose a natural response, but to me it seemed clearly at odds with the whole thrust of Lacan's life and work. For Lacan was not a literary critic, but a practising psychoanalyst. Despite the huge amount of time that Lacan spent discussing literary texts in his seminars and writings, he never made a single attempt at literary criticism. Lacan was not the slightest bit interested in literature for its own sake. Every time that Lacan discusses a work of literature, or a piece of art, he does it for one reason, and one reason only; to illustrate a psychoanalytic concept so that other psychoanalsysts can understand that concept better and use it in their clinical practice
That's when I began to realise, with growing alarm and shame, that I had never really asked myself what the evidence for psychoanalysis was! I had simply been carried along by the panache and stylistic flourishes of two great wordsmiths - Freud and Lacan - without pausing to ask the most important question of all: on what evidence did they base their far-reaching claims? And was that evidence sufficiently solid to support those claims? With Freud, there was at least some debate to be had here, as was shown by the range of scholarly works dedicated to examining precisely this question. Philosophers of science had been debating the evidential status of case-histories versus statistical analysis in general, and the value of Freud's vignettes in particular, for decades. Psychoanalysts themselves had been less willing to subject the founding father of their discipline to such rigorous scrutiny, but some had at least made an effort. Their conclusions might be wrong, but they did acknowledge the question. With Lacan, matters were altogether different. The question of evidence was not even raised by his followers. Everything the great master wrote was taken on trust, as if it were holy writ. Everything Lacan said was right, just because he said it. Debate in Lacanian seminars was purely a matter of exegesis - what did the master mean by such-and-such a phrase? Nobody ever took the next logical step and asked - was he right? That was simply assumed. Why was Lacan supposed to immune from criticism? Was he supposed to have some kind of infallibility, like the pope? From where did this infallibility derive? Was it, in fact, merely a projection of his disciples, who put Lacan in the position of the subjectsupposed-to-know, Lacan's term for the position of the analyst vis-a-vis the patient? In which case, did a succesful `cure' mean discovering that Lacan was a fraud, an impostor, who really had no more access to the truth than anyone else, and probably less? It took some courage on my part to raise these questions with my Lacanian friends. The response was usually one of faint amusement; `what is truth?' they might reply with a condescending smile. `Surely you don't believe in facts?' It began to dawn on me that, despite all his talk about truth, Lacan didn't really care about it, and nor did his followers. They based their beliefs on their wishes, rather than on proper evidence. I was apalled, disgusted by this abnegation of curiosity, by this waste of human intelligence, by this shameless embrace of illusion for illusion's sake. So I began to look around for some better way to go about understanding the mind The idea of a radical separation between humans and animals, the orthodoxy which Lacan had so boldly questioned in his comments on the mirror stage in 1936, was now beginning to creep into Lacan’s own work. By the mid-1950s Lacan was becoming increasingly influenced by the French anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, who argued that ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ were separated by a massive ontological chasm. This spurred Lacan to pursue his culturalist reading of Freud even further. Every biological term in Freud’s work was reinterpreted as a metaphor for some cultural 116
phenomenon. Freud’s remarks on the phallus, Lacan claimed, had nothing to do with something so banal as a mere biological organ; they referred to a cultural symbol. Freud’s false theory about the ‘vaginal orgasm’ could be rescued by arguing that it was not about biology but about psychological satisfaction (Lacan, 1972-73: 145). This strategy was doomed, however. It appeared to save Freud’s work from refutation by modern biology, but at the price of removing all empirical import. The biological Freud was wrong, but at least he advanced clear, testable claims. The culturallinguistic Freud that Lacan invented, on the other hand, was completely untestable. He was not merely impervious to contradictory evidence in biology; he was impervious to any evidence at all. Lacan rescued Freud from a fatal encounter with modern biology by removing him from the world of science altogether. People have often attempted to understand the mind by comparing it with the latest technology. In the past few hundred years, the mind has been described as a clock, a watch, a telegraph system, and much else. Freud was not immune to this trend. Borrowing heavily from the science of his own time, the nineteenth-century developments in hydraulics, he conceived of the mind as a system of channels and waterways. The waterways could sometimes be blocked, in which case the fluid would soon overflow into another channel. The problem with all these comparisons is that they were little more than interesting metaphors. They did not help very much to advance understanding of the mind because there was no clear way of generating testable predictions from them. In particular, there was no quantitative dimension to these models. The pressure (Drang) of the ‘mental water’ in Freud’s hydraulic model of the mind was, theoretically, a quantitative (or ‘economic’) phenomenon, but Freud failed to specify a way of measuring it. All this changed with the ‘cognitive revolution’. Comparing the mind to a computer was different from previous technological analogies because the precise language of information-processing allowed testable hypotheses about the mind to be clearly formulated, often in ways amenable to investigation by quantitative methods. Also, there was intuitively much more to motivate the comparison of the mind to a computer
than to a clock or an irrigation system. After all, the function of the mind, like that of the computer, is to process information – it is not to tell the time or to distribute water. Unlike earlier comparisons, then, the computational theory of mind could be taken literally; the mind is not just like a computer, it is a computer. Yet, as with his early hunches about the importance of ethology, Lacan soon abandoned his interest in cybernetics and computational theory. Perhaps he sensed that the language of information- processing did not sit easily with Freud’s hydraulic model of the mind. Perhaps he even realised that the digital nature of the former was incompatible with the analogue nature of the latter. Whatever the reason, however, Lacan chose to remain with the old Freudian model rather than pursuing the newer computational one. Once again, with the benefit of hindsight, we see Lacan wandering into a historical dead-end when he could so easily have helped blaze the trail of a future science. 117
I am feeling sentimental because I am listening to a video of the North American country singer Faith Hill singing the song Breathe. My browser configuration is with this text window above an internet window. I can see a sliver of video. The glimpses that I see show me that she is thinner than I ever thought. It is part of an NBC television special, special because this video features Faith Hill’s first meeting with Carlos Santana, who is playing solo guitar for her. The soundstage where they perform this is a set up which seems to be portrayed as deliberately stripped down. Faith and Carlos are flanked by twin strumming guitarists, all of them set on stools, we see a large beacon ‘stage light’ lighting them, but there is more lighting as well, blue overhead, pale pinks below, the shots of their faces seem very much like a television poker special. It makes you think that there might be an agenda for the way they’re presenting the segment, rather than simple technical aesthetic. I do not know the code, the signifiers of live tv, but there has to have been a dialogue about it somewhere. I could explain my thoughts about this collaboration, but instead I have a sound recording, stripped from the video. So let’s look at the dialogues – you only get one side of the parallel monologues that the video and sound are presenting, but you hear Faith talking to the camera, Faith with Carlos in a dressing room, camera watching, and then Faith and Carlos as the two featured speakers around the text of Faith Hill’s song ‘Breathe’ (the audio from aforementioned video plays) My friend Amelia Groom told me that she met Carlos Santana, in a situation which was pretty humorous. I no longer recollect the story, and I doubt the story is mine to tell, but I can assure you it happened, Amelia has unassailable integrity in my book. There apparently was a photo of the two of them, and I pleaded for her to unearth it. I intended to have printed it out and framed. Wow. I have a compulsion towards Santana, with the conflict of his instrumental virtuosity, historicity, and my shallow understanding or interest in his career. I’m willing to believe that he’s one of the world’s best guitarists of that genre, but I do not know what distinguishes him. He entered and subsequently departed my realm of consciousness with some other pop songs in the 90s. I think Santana is dead now, but what a legend. Legend is a very particular word to have as part of your regular vocabulary. To caution a definition, a legend is not a mythology, but a legend is a legend. So Amelia is a legend, we all know people that we consider to be legends, maybe they seem to have an ulterior urgency, maybe it’s a type of brusqueness which is the distinction, as though a photographer, any photographer, not just a paparazzo, has been able to capture that face of theirs that you see in your minds eye, just a panning shot of that flash lit face? It’s that the look of them is aligned or legible in other recounting of their characteristic. I think back to one of the first conversations I had with Amelia. She landed in London 125
on Christmas day and we decided to meet just after, at the Regency caff, Pimlico, which apparently all the lecturers at Chelsea go to for the pleasure of a greasy fryup and a slice of authenticity in décor, very deco retro. We actually talked about this project, which I explained in terms of ‘suspension’, and her first link was to Hito Steyerl’s documentary ‘Lovely Andrea’, in which Steyerl returns to Japan to try and find a photo taken of her 20 years ago, in a Nawa-Shibari, Japanese bondage, style. I imagine Amelia’s suggestion came not only from the literal suspension from ropes that Nawa-Shibari implies, but also to do with Steyerl’s interesting documentary discourse about freedom. Many young girls are tricked into posing for these photos, and Steyerl did it out of financial need. Through the documentary, there are alignments to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and the sexual edge is present throughout, much like anything to do with the porn industry. We all have some inhibitions, that’s not a joke about the rope bondage, we all have some inhibitions and taboos, and while I’m interested in striking the point of a female figure posed and bound in an image of sexual something, submission, and the huge archives and industry for this image in relation to my interest in suspension, my mind is drawn to the memory of seeing a Nobuyoshi Araki exhibition in the famous Michael Hoppen gallery with two friends, and after we had walked around inspecting incredibly lushly shot Nawa-Shibari images, naked girls, bound and tied, my friend Michael Tomlinson was seated on a little couch in the showroom, somewhat shocked, or disbelieving, kind of ill feeling. So Steyerl, the documentary maker who showed Lovely Andrea at Documenta 12 in Kassel, and Araki, showing and sold at this major photography gallery in London, had very different methods and entrances into looking at this type of suspension. They both have a strong awareness of what they put within the frame, but how can we, as an audience who in their majority will not be experienced with rope bondage, but experienced in seeing video stories which question or at least indicate sexual exploitation, or see a lot of photography which is sexually oriented within an art context, shift our methods of seeing these subjects because of the voices they come from? Amelia is no stranger to Japan, and she relayed to me a trait of a Japanese boy who she was friends with. His perception of his friends’ physicalities seemed to be based off their personalities, which often were almost diametrically opposed. For example, a tall, large girl with a shy personality was described by him as small, mousey face, dull hair, or Amelia, a nice girl raised in Sydney with short brown hair, clear eyes, a penchant for Bernhard Wilhelm and Japanese fashion, was in his minds eye as a black girl with a big ass, because apparently she dances like a black girl. Amelia relayed these stories with a somewhat Japanese accented English, and I am left curious about what trained that boys’ perception, what are the cultural signifiers which shape him? Looking the other way through this lens, why might I feel uncomfortable with these racial types, generalisations, of these supposed polarities of black and white dot dot dot pivot from Amelia legend, Santana legend, or was that Carlos legend, Groom legend, to This is It, the legendary Michael Jackson, knowing knowing personal, knowing pop culture distance. 126
// But as I was saying, it’s completely, exactly, as though it’s the situation where I somehow know a lot of people who worked with Michael Jackson while he was alive, and continue his legacy even now. I think Amelia first told me about the Santana story this when we were on a bus home from a very strange party called rumpus. Apparently it was burning man style, something that neither of us had witnessed, so we were not qualifiers of the style. We got in on the ‘cookie monster’ list; that was pretty funny for us both. My friend Alyson, a flautist whose blonde, North American confidence often astounded me, had put us on the guest list. Alyson could non-ironically dance along to Michael Jackson songs. I don’t think I know how to non-ironically dance to Michael Jackson. I knew Alyson from studying at the Royal Academy, a Pennsylvanian chick in London. Right now, Alyson might be building a raft from recyclables and sailing it down the Ganges. Or she might be in this room. She definitely intended to be, as we were talking about what we were thinking about, what we were doing, while we sat under an umbrella in an empty green park, eating sushi that we had bought from Japan City on a school break. She was toying with the idea of more fluid sexuality, and was attracted to a Latvian girl, so had invited the Latvian girl to a party where she would be a hostess, naked, painted gold. Amelia and I danced with her a little at this Rumpus party, which was set through a multitude of spaces in a large opera theatre. I threw up the mixture of Icelandic beer, Jagermeister, and Bailey’s Irish Crème which I had consumed earlier. It was not nice; that’s right – the Icelandic beer came from seeing a Jon Rafman show at seventeen gallery earlier in the night. Rafman’s show consisted of digitally generated material, printed onto chiffon in an archive rack, in interactive games, wall prints, and maybe most richly in the basement, with video installations of 3d animated apocalyptic game tableaus, narrated with a typically british school of narrative, the language construct of which seems very recognizable. So artists like Rafman, like Giles Bailey, all these researchers and tutors at London schools, maybe like Ed Atkins? Ed Atkins was finding huge amounts of success with his work while I was in London, and with my dear friend under his tutelage, I got to know his work. Ed’s ‘Us Dead Talk Love’ begins:: I wanted to ask you whether you thought that finding an eyelash under your foreskin was significant? - Because, truly, it felt pretty signal to me. A magnificent and rare episode. Or, at least, a rare and magnificent appreciation of a common episode. A moment afforded, certainly. (Testament to the particular auterist, directorial technique: natural light, digital cameras, skeleton crew; to be ready to shoot if the cry goes up.) Ho! 127
Sex, death. Intimacy and its melancholy impossibility. REPRESENTATION – exhumed, upended, turned over in the hand – either to discover the seal of its authoring or, with a little shock, to discover that, IN ACTUAL FACT, it’s not a representation at all but the real thing: a curlicue of eyelash disguised as the pronominal self - as I, as ‘I’ bedded down beneath the foreskin, awake to that sensitive ground. Like an implement of dowsing. As in: Blackened, dead dermis as incisive, essential, esoteric. As fucking deadly: there under the foreskin, clinging to the glans like some missing, nascent grapheme. Lost. In the way a fossil is impossibly lost. That cripped, ammonite cirve of mascara’d spines, smashed -fucked, -shaved, -sunk. (The unimaginable, fabulous skintones of dinosaurs. Most audiences would decry a fluorescent pink Brachiosaur) An ecstatic fossil. Unearthed tenderly from the sweet sod. Manicured hands in talc’d latex gloves. Powder-brush brushed to reveal a kind of irresistible legibility. A primordial story of separation. Of everything apart from everything else. Told brashly by two discordantly tuned kettle drums at either side of the stage.
though, Ed Atkins has a deeper, different voice, it’s his work most when it’s spoken from his lips, dark denim and white pale basketball shoes. The night of rumpus, I was wearing clothes that Amelia had given me; a Jean Paul Gaultier printed sheer-ish shirt, and a assymetric polyester brown Japanese skirt which had been modified by Amelia so there was elastic. We enjoyed it Rumpus most when many many drummers played, it was pretty great. Two groups of discordantly tuned kettle drums at either side of the theatre space stage.
But we had found the best bus to catch home across the city, and deciding to order some Burger King, whoppers, onion rings on the way home, she told me the Santana story. She has many great stories, I seem to rotate the same tired ones, I probably told her the one about getting my calf licked by a nice young girl at the Burger King on Sydney’s oxford st, and being paid 40 dollars in gold coins for it. I bought onion rings. Franchises aren’t so dependable though. There was another time when I was with the same friends, still on Sydney’s Oxford St, not London, and we went to Oporto because someone was hungry. Now that’s a franchise which has real fluctuating product. This is an opinion formed without quantitative research, just some experiences. While someone’s Oporto order was being produced, we witnessed the DVD of Beyonce live looping, returning to the beginning. Beyoncé descends into the arena stage upside down, perhaps it’s a harem theme. Either way, she looks popping, poppin’ in a rich, ethnic inspired colour. I hope you’re uncomfortable with ethnic generalization, I don’t know that I could be clearer even if I were a costume historian, maybe I could say it was a Beyoncé costume. It could also be a flaw of the memory, the details I remember, much like telling you that the Santana in my mind is always wearing customized, studded and embroidered double denim. But Beyonce descended, maybe suspended by silks, which reminds me of how Lee Wilson was telling me about all the pains of working silks in a circus way, the burns that can be sustained from the friction, and Beyonce’s famous booty was ample, with the belly and other segments, cuts, all powered by gravity, drooping, thankfully not dropping, as Beyonce maneuvered… Research shows that in her performances, she often appears flying across the stadium often accompanied, or maybe more appropriately, while performing her track with Sean Paul, Baby Boy. Is this a dialogue too, a counterpoint set of suspensions, one without other incomplete, like Faith and Carlos? I’m interested in the fact that one of the only times she confessed to lipsyncing was while coming down upside down, because it is very difficult to sing while coming down upside down. I’m interested in the fact that usually she performs this song without Sean Paul doing his spoken, rapping sections, but her vocal is often highly melismatic, brassing out all over the place, and she’s obviously working hard to deliver this vocal over this idiosyncratic rapping of Sean Paul. This spectacle belongs in the arena, but sport is what the arena is designed for. The rumpus party belonged in that theatre, this expanded, hard to distinguish series of rooms connected by stairs and the general knowledge of how a theatre is shaped, of where the conventional entrances, exits, spaces might be, but I guess what is most interesting is the form function and the viewpoints, vantages of where the audience in space is. The drums happened on the stalls level of theatre, which was devoid of seating. Over the punters, dancing, there was a through line of drummers on the designated, proscenium arch stage, and then more drummers in opposition, where the lighting and sound desk might usually be located. and then maybe there were girls in crystal showgirl attire dancing furiously, that hollered at us and we hollered at 129
them, dancing furious, Amelia apparently like a black girl, me like whatever culture I’ve appropriated for social dancing, retracted into an intoxicated, tired haze. And there Beyoncé is, suspended, spinning over the hysterical crowd. It makes me think of this quote that Matthew Barney spoke during a documentary about the Cremaster Cycle. …in an opera house you have a condition where somehow you have a singer on stage who's singing without amplification and they're surrounded by a house whose curves are built to enable that unamplified voice. it's like being in the chest cavity of the singer while you're up in the house, able to see the singer. external and internal at the same time. Doesn’t that make too much sense with the Beyoncé arena? I like the idea that she’s a baby spinning around, feverishly tumble turning on her swing above the crowds, and below we see a hysteric mass, which is the hysteria of women as far as we can see, and what I look at, my sliver of internet window, is an ultrasound. Limited, a way of seeing a potentiality of a future adult, segue way smoothly into Freudian, Lacanian reading. She keeps on birthing albums, and her parenting ability literally evolves as she gathers herself around herself so herself is herself. Those strings that tether her to the ceiling are a mystery to me; in describing the act socially she’ll always be floating in the air, soaring through the arena, flying, spinning, spinning, and to use rudimental theatre language, it’s the rigging, the rigging of the space, moving things up into the fly. If this space, Track 12 Carriageworks, was used more for theatre functions, it would have been necessary for me to employ a rigger, the ability to send things into the fly here. The space would have ropes hanging at increments from the ceiling, and these ropes would have been a method of having a rapidly evolvable architecture overhead, made of rope, a ship with galleys, a theatre space – the stalls, the circles, to demonstrate lines, suspension in disbelief, suspension in knowing what this structure is; it would have been my way to measure the space, to delineate a grid, to ask the performers of this work to tie different knots, different heights, and to make a rapidly evolvable architecture overhead, made of rope, a ship with galleys, a theatre space – the stalls, the circles, to demonstrate lines, suspension in disbelief, suspension in knowing what this structure is; it would have been my way to measure the space, to delineate a grid, to ask the performers of this work to tie different knots, different heights, and to make a rapidly evolvable architecture overhead, made of rope, a ship with galleys, a theatre space – the stalls, the circles, to demonstrate lines, suspension in disbelief, suspension in knowing what this structure is; it would have been my way to measure the space, to delineate a grid, to ask the performers of this work to tie different knots, different heights, and to make … I feel a personal backlash into who Beyoncé now is, or at least in terms of how well I can understand her, mostly because of the way she wants to define herself as Mrs. Carter, the hypersexualised nature of her image in contrast (since I can’t say disjunct) with her 130
warmth, generosity, survivor type mother spirit. Her difficulty with the term feminism is maybe a key here, but I am even less qualified to think about feminist discourse than to talk about phenomenology or post-Freudian slash Lacanian psychoanalysis, but I have grown a little tired of her. Maybe it’s just the media saturation? I don’t like to talk about my thoughts, more the thoughts of others. Marcus finished a recent phone interview with a statement that he missed just hanging out, something that we hadn’t done in a long time, because I had been away, and our conversation had begun with my asking him about how he perceived his gender in relation to his “cultural output”. All these composers are male. So am I. I marvel at how a lot of the music I like seems to be that of my friends. I often listen to my friend’s band, my friend’s music, I can’t detach their work from the self. I would be at the front of the room, dancing to Collarbones. Sitting in a café, I hear the barista talking to friends about a crush on Marcus. These people don’t differentiate between Marcus’ various projects, of Black Vanilla, of Collarbones, and they prescribe to this pop culture that pervades the Sydney we know – tonight, most people are either going to see Mac deMarco or Le1f, and as they speak, they bob up and down to Kendrick Lamar. The swagger of Kendrick Lamar is something I know best from the musical tastes of Austin Buckett, who, similarly to Marcus, has a recording and releasing past, stemming from his jazz related history, as well as a popular band he is in, Golden Blonde, previously Kasha. Just as Marcus operates on a spectrum of making music for a variety of audiences, Austin recently launched a project called Power Moves, which is very dancey, kind of aggressive, loaded with a passive humour or sense of self consciousness. It almost feels as though if embarking on this path of social music, music that somehow tips into appeal for a wider audience, there’s an immediate consciousness of image, of the composer as performer who needs to be sold in a certain way. Social media is an obvious step, and all of us, we’re there. Marcus, in his capacity as twitter captain for Collarbones, was my source of solace and comfort when I used that medium. When forced into brevity, succinctness, I tend towards abstraction to try and load the language with significance. So does Marcus. But Marcus has always been an animal of this flexible nature, as I noted, able to function in a variety of settings, from enthusiastic fan to laconic music maker, to anxious curator to invested and earnest artist. This spectrum, this willingness to project towards something that is kind of a choice, of a certain relaxation, an adaptability, everything that I struggle to articulate, is visible if we choose to see it. If you spoke to me about it, I don’t know that I would see that coolness, the distance that his talent and charisma seem to effect on his fans. But I do see that, and I affect my own separation and intimacy with him.
So in the case of suspension, we’re looking at the furiosity of emotion that we attach to object or person, and the stakes of perception that we lay within that. The most 131
recent Collarbones album was called Die Young, and from what I remember, Marcus was spending a lot of time with River Phoenix films, thinking about the intensity of teen crushes, and with the awareness that the album wanted to spawn more singles than their first release, which featured instrumentals more prominently. Another project, Scissor Lock, which I understand to be his live music entrée name, has recently moved into a setting which involves projections and videos, which I know some see as a progression in where his work was going. The most recent release of Scissor Lock, Degrassi Dream, is a limited edition cassette which refers to the long running television world of Degrassi, and his latest composition for the Song Company was titled My Body is a Cage, which takes its name from a two-part episode of Degrassi which takes its name from an Arcade Fire song. In this episode, transgender character Adam Torres stuggles with his gender identity and his family reacting to that. Marcus’ composition premiered as part of the Song Company’s ModArt program, by which I mean to infer that this is probably the most capable ensemble for this material in the country. Scored for six singers, Marcus also uses tape players, with which the singers record themselves and play back the content. the text runs “I don’t want your pity I have been kicked out of wash rooms and beat. You have the brain of a scarecrow and the heart of a tinman You discriminate against me based on something I didn’t choose and can’t change. It’s the way I am, Dave. You don’t know anything about me, I don’t care about your stupid junk! Drew, I’m sorry you’re such a WIMP! Aww look at that mom, you finally have the daughter you always wanted. This is crap! You don’t need to be fixed. You’re perfect. Yay, another thing to explain when I take my shirt off. Love is intense. When I see her she actually moves in slow motion. Time stops and it’s like high heart meets stomach, holy crap she’s perfect. Of course I fall for the most beautiful girl in 12th grade, out of my league is an understatement. I mean look what happened with Bianca, I put myself out there only to be called a freak. What if this girl feels the same way? I don’t want to get hurt like that again. Maybe mom’s right, I should lay low. But I keep having dreams where she runs up to me and I hold her and she says “Adam you’re the guy I never knew I always wanted” and then Fiona kisses me, doesn’t care that I’m transgender. Then I wake up, just a dream.”
So beyond questions that we can ask about appropriating culture, rap culture, rnb culture, we also think about queer culture, who is representative, how are we representative and who are we held responsible to. During the period of development, Beyonce has supposedly ‘changed the game’ by releasing a visual album, 14 songs, 17 videos, a supposedly a strong feminist throughout, calling it the result of her desire to make a body of work. Her image features prominently, the way she markets herself is captivating, and she unrepentingly mines her past, visually making reference to miles and miles of work. Marcus and I mutually adored Beyonce, I guess a lot of people do, but now I remember, our first collaboration was a Destiny’s Child cover album, of which a cover of Lose My Breath is still circulating. I know Lachlan and Russell still mention it as something they come back to, and listen to, and I admit, I also come back and listen to it. I had never used a microphone before, and through it, we can hear my breathing, and the vocal is deliberately very bare, my realization of my disdain for reverb on my voice, with Marcus liking the delivery particularly of a word ‘through’. Sitting in Marcus’ bedroom of his childhood home in 2009 and watching him play with the program audio mulch, feeding loops in, using the Dictaphone microphone as source for the loops he was making, and then over this looping, somewhat suspended harmony, recording a loose version of the song, it really was just this line of a certain type of motion, limited by the colour I achieved with my voice that day. It seems important to look at things like these on a case to case basis, to be aware that my relationship, Marcus’ relationship, like Austin’s relationship, like Lachlan’s relationship, like James’ relationship to the culture they appropriate is something that’s at its most politically correct when careful, but the politic is not something we always have to consider. Sometimes I feel as though I’m not certain how to navigate the distance between nostalgia and genuine, contemporary enjoyment, of a desire to progress with, or ahead of the zeitgeist, of choosing what to play if you’re deejaying at a party. This is a sphere, this is an orbit, there are others too of course, and it’s not a matter of being on a different planet, on an outer orbit, it’s the knowledge that we orbit the orbit, and as Jack Halberstam infers in her book ‘In a Queer time and Place’, we must function on multiple levels and modalities of reality.
(droll, conversational, middle pace, no clear focus)
I don’t recall ever going to a multi-day performance cycle. Sure, there have been a slew of theatre shows in Sydney which take theatre over eight hours or so, over two days, there are films which happen in installments, but I can only really think of the durational theatre works of Robert Wilson, like the weeklong KA MOUNTAIN and GUARDenia TERRACE, of works like the weeklong opera ‘Licht’, by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and other opera cycles which last for less than a week, like Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I suppose these are all strings of performance, linked by thematic and character similarities, as well as an overarching aesthetic, which is why a festival, as well curated as it may be, will rarely be considered as the one work. We can look at the genre of durational performance as well, where you have superstars like Marina Abramovic because their integrity is somehow visible through the durational commitment as well as the invisible process to this point. Abramovic is often referred to in type or conversation (at least, the more adulatory forms of it) as the high priestess, the queen, the grandmother of performance art. Okay. I met Marina Abramovic at a refreshments table. I offered to fill her glass of mineral water before mine, and in return, she struck up a conversation about the clothes I was wearing – she was pleased to see Issey Miyake in day to day life, and in return I made a comment about what she was wearing, and an expression of disappointment that it wasn’t Givenchy. I didn’t hear what label name she dropped, maybe it was Marc Jacobs, she called it comfort plus fashion, though I now am second guessing myself, because her accent and my memory make some things inscrutable. To focus again on this, the high priestess, the queen, the grandmother, now that you have context, asked what type of work I made. I explained that it was a type of discourse, performance vs formalisms, the flaws of formalism, and she asked me if I had a portfolio to show her. She does, after all, believe in this next generation of artists, and want to support them in her institute for endurance performance. I declined, I did not think the audience for the institute, who signs a contract to dedicate 6 hours of their life to immersion, would be ideal – the set up and scenography of that Rem Koolhaas led renovation begs for its own action, a different kind of staging to what I was trying to achieve. I like the modified focus that comes with endurance work, the way the mind shifts circuits and the body rhythm has to alter - she asked me where I lived. I told her I was in between places, she told me I was handsome and she couldn’t place my cultural origin. I told her I was Chinese. We had a conversation about heritage, cultural influences, she told me that an artist should never have a home. She told me she knew Australia very well, she lived here for a while with the indigenous peoples. I had been told to ask her about how she gave up the house in Italy. She told me she was cold. I told her I could get her a blanket. I asked for her opinions on documentation, her approach to it, the evolution, her relation to the gallery, she said she never looks back.
// In composing all the texts, I have been too aware of what names I am using, of modes of address. I’m not sure I’ve got it right, after all, I’m not an 80 year old cabaret superstar with a few Tony awards behind me, feeding you with indulgent stories. All I can do is hope that my facsimile relationships with these people, shape a criticality of what I am, how I approach things, how I might be wrong, how you might pity me, that you can form a personal consideration, as well as a problematic professional consideration. With so many stories, which one am I comfortable recounting. Is it possible to continually diffuse them by hooking references onto the stories, to try and enrich the content which by diffusing it? I’m trying to talk about everything always, which is noise in a way, Austin, but we can always choose to listen to noise. I’m pretty scared of the lack of fiction that exists in this. I’m pretty scared of the lack of fiction that exists in this work. I’m nervous about the lack of fiction, should it be anything more than the truth? I think I’m using the ‘truth’ in a way that is functional. Perhaps you can read it as a desperation to substantiate something, that symbolism is no longer sufficient for the stakes that I’m working at. Foolishly I’m trying to guide every element of how you see this work. I also feel that this is not so foolish. The work is about this fluidity. Tehching Hsieh, who Marina has been quoted as calling her hero, says ‘My work is not about my personal story, it is about communication. For me, it’s not my career, it’s my life’ What could a multi-day performance cycle be? What does the duration of coming, and coming again, and maybe again, and having little departures during all those comings have to do with suspension? What if people don’t come again and again and as a result, miss key images, key thoughts which pin down or articulate accentuate other components. I don’t know that it’s the same as going to a gallery show and looking at only 3 of 10 rooms, but depending on the gallery show, the way it’s curated, maybe it is. In 2014, Carriageworks will present an exhibition of Tehching Hsieh’s time clock piece. When I read this, I was pretty excited – the work spans a year, and the exhibition was to run for a decent duration. Carriageworks operates on hours which seem to become flexible with the events that happen with time. Would they restage the project? Maybe they would play with compressing time, making it work in this space, performing the work, dealing with the scale of carriageworks as a room or series of rooms, and having a performer, maybe even Tehching Hsieh, punch in, all the time, which given the train and rail history of the venue, as well as the demographic and history of the area, would be highly provocative. A similarly big work which recently showed in Sydney was Christian Marclay’s 24 hours work, ‘The Clock’, which I have heard referenced in so many talks and lectures, probably most interestingly with relation to the performance of the audience who sit and watch the filmic collage.
In planning a major retrospective of his career, Tehching Hsieh was apparently interested in looking at his career as units of time, that if the five year long pieces took up a certain amount of space, other increments of his career, like his sixth and final piece, a 13 year plan where he made art but would not exhibit it, would be represented by empty rooms, equal in size to the one year rooms, but multiplied by 13. This focuses so heavily on the matter of a performance being linked to the intended duration. I am curious about the duration of thought, the funnel that leads to the bottle, and then the spillage of the bottle at capacity. This first stage of epoche-lacan-orbits is carefully, meticulously planned, so some of the things that it might have been are already covered in a way that’s more complete than physically executing it. The multi-day is a nature that I choose to sideline. If this first stage is pretending to be purely of my mind, my work and intents as the focal point through endless prisms of substantiation, which in this case is everyone else, the next phase is carefully a lot less planned. What I’ll explain to you is the work that I originally conceived, discarded because I realized that if I was to collaborate with my colleagues, my composers, I should do that, rather than asking them to contribute sound to an image, particularly sounds that I already had prescribed. I used to be fascinated with staging images, of providing a focal point and object, sculptural and performative language to then counterpoint, juxtapose, with the environment and architecture, through sound, the perspectives and lines offered to the audience – I was going to make a book of many visual staging ideas for the space, and offer that to the composers I was working with, ask them to choose ideas that attracted them, and then we’d speak further in relation to the idea of suspension. I wanted to tell you what I wanted to do in October of 2012. I saw the multi-day nature of the concept as something to be dealt with in scenes, in images, by shifting the scale from segment to segment. This left me puzzling over the way I might situate an audience, which was ultimately the downfall of this concept, but back then, I saw each segment, each act, as a kind of offer, of more and more inconclusive thought, that every episode would have to be compelling and puzzling, perhaps taxing as well. Disregarding attention spans, pushing a virtuosity in performer as well as the technical elements, it would rely on rudimental technology, very clean scenography.
I was keen to continue exercising a vocabulary of animals, of birds, which had somehow emerged through my work. At present, I would partially attribute these birds to my relationship to primary instruments, the clarinet and voice, which, in their history, are heavily linked to birdsong, to representation of birds. As a family of animals, there was a real breadth, an abstractness, migratory patterns, choreographic gestures, and a clear relation to the idea of suspension, or flying; a question of perspective, of ways of looking at birds, at the kind of photographic or filmic view that we conjure, or the exotic and geographically placed, of seeing what belongs where, and contrasting our educational or recreational interaction with birds, to our latent ones, pigeons, ibises, mynah birds, that is to say, questioning the native and relationship to time. 140
Because of the organic breath of what I was looking at, I had planned two days, also known as dilations. So there was dilation one, and dilation two, and in between, there would have been something, maybe. My notebooks tell me that the in between would have been not directly to do with birds, more like, dead birds, so an episode called ‘bounty hunters’, which would have a series of herrings, of turkeys, and then a segment called ‘pasta surprise’. I imagine that this in between was supposed to be partially delirious, constant noise, compression of time, for example, the pasta would be available in stages, it wouldn’t be cooked throughout, it might not even be pasta, it’s looking at the culture, diffusion of pasta, relating to an episode on dilation two. Obviously there would have been links and lines between it all.
Dilation One would be performed wholly by male performers. I was proposed as a performer in each scene, so the maker is always present, a line throughout the whole work, which is not narratively linear, it’s more a point of focus or distraction for the audience, an equalizer. Dilation one begins with an introductory codex. Three boy sopranos are the key performers. A key sculptural component would be three overhead projectors on wheels, the types used in classrooms, then dressed up as birds, probably as swans, since they have the headsize of the top section, body size of the bottom. Having three boys operating these birds with focused light coming out of the swan mouths, shining it into each others' faces as a direct, flat light, which can be modified using images on sheets of transparency or hand shadows on the light surface (which is also the back of the swan), and supplementing this light with electric torches held above the head/out of the projector light would have been the operational idea. I was very interested in masking the source of light very obviously as a swan, because it was a little denial of form and function. The boy sopranos would be singing acapella, frantic, relentless, and I might sing with them in a falsetto – the same pitches, very different colour. The idea was that it was a presentation of calling cards for a bird rodeo, so high society function, lower class entertainment, an uncomfortable alliance, kind of like an American in Paris, kind of like Gershwin, a nice jewish man, writing negro tropes.
I was very interested in the agility of the high male voice, of this enslaught of initial ‘masculinity’. The boys weren’t essential, especially if working with minors came to present too many troubles. I would have been happy with a group of countertenors, or have men singing high, and it stands that initially the staging was to include ladders, cherry pickers, these boys or men singing from heights above the floor level audience in Carriageworks, but idea of the projectors was that as well as a pretty dramatic, flat light, changeable with very affordable ‘gels’, they are satellites in a way, and cannot cross paths without danger (because of the cables). They are suspended by their power tether, powerlines, and without it, nothing, or less, is illuminated. Would the boys start moving between the swan projectors? Do they ever meet and touch? Does something get raised above the whole space? A big representation of a tree with leaves dripping down get lifted? 141
Episode two of Dilation one was branded ‘canal peacocks’, and in parentheses, false banks hyphen, the dialogue of peacocks, hyphen, what is substantial question mark hyphen, Diving motions hyphen, clarinet trio. One of the ideas that I have held on to from initial planning is the one of a canal. Before the canal, there is the natural flow of water, the natural river beds and river banks, and then concrete and stone reshape the landscape. The concrete might have steel to root it into the earth, but it is seated, congruent by design over the land, a suspension, and then that river, so responsive to topography, geography, vital to the ecosystem which had grown around it, that river is shaped into this certain channel, canal, a direct line between points and stations, which has a real tension in its purpose and planning, probably political and social ramifications, with the diverted stream flooding a plain, flooding a valley, reservoirs, dams, an intent of making things level, about transport, the connection to natural weather patterns, mechanics, technology, the shift, planned, prepared, it's incredible. the idea of the Canal is the environment moulded into a smooth surface, and then over this smoothed surface, the peacock with unmistakable poise and plumage holds himself over the space. While it is a male peacock, the space should negate the sex and the idea of displaying for mating. The clarinet trio, the three peacocks, are isolated, what I'm interested in is a very surprising idea of space and time. I wanted to substantiate the ridicule, the impossibility of suspension of disbelief in these clarinet players as peacocks, the flaw of technique and physicality, the inability to execute the image, that we’re dependent on stylization, that we can’t suspend disbelief, that there’s no text, that the canal is just a fake channel for no water in a converted trainyard, with a floor laid over what used to be train tracks. Episode three, Hills of Rome, (pilgrims as alarm clocks, tourists as alarm clocks – the flux of history, the opposition of pilgrims and tourists, the sloping false valley in between them and the hills.) We look at the idea of hierarchy, weight of object, the layers and layers of history and artefacts of Rome as architectures are built over ruins and over again. And in the right conditions, the time is suspended on some of these artefacts, that they survive buried, they can’t be seen, and on the time continuum, we pluck out these objects, and sometimes they also can’t be seen, because they are damaged, but sometimes they are restored, and then we see them in a museum, maybe even put into context, and then we marvel. Does this count as physically contemplating the past? The destruction that is archeology is funny, should we let sleeping dogs lie? I spent months of my life going to sleep with history channel videos playing, hearing reconstructions, the types of music and jilted English dialogue actors speak, the voiceovers, the way episodes are structured to deal with commercial breaks. 142
It's about preservation. Austin Buckett loves cooking with preserved lemons, and will sometimes preserve them himself, will sometimes buy them, sometimes gets given them. Either way, they are often eaten. Each of the men performing in this episode have a musical instrument and introduce a motif, and the motifs become compromised as they emerge, like, as though memory bank is a bank of mud, as though a memory bank is a bank of mud, and once something is uttered it starts to decay and ruin. Do they all have closets which contain these artefacts? How can we represent this ownership of idea? The performers will begin to steal ideas and motifs from each other, and that is disheartening and difficult to deal with since to me that represents something, a diffusion, but what is it to an audience – it’s musical development, it’s possibly tasteful, it’s the done thing, it becomes something else entirely, and even if it never has radically different motifs, if the men playing can never say anything too different, we can always stretch and call it a pastiche. The thing with Pilgrims vs Tourists is the idea of a suspension from real life, switching the 'purpose' of your operationyou’re your humanity, and the way that these people are the owners or custodians or at least the people who most treasure and make value for the items, the relics they see. They hold on to the past, tourists taking photos all the time as a kind of Ownership of past and being able to reflect on it. Perhaps their instruments, their method of sound will be pipes and things like that which they generate sounds through. We could use the seven hills of rome and have seven people, or have 35, groups of five (or uneven groups). I wanted to work on this episode with my colleague Harriet Gillies, knowing that we innately have an opposition of aesthetic, that she has a way with working with groups of people, that she would lend a foreignness to the first two episodes of dilation one. Day, or 'dilation' Two is in my notes with the parentheses -women today? We begin in the Daintree, with cassowaries at the feeding shed, bending low to the ground. Synthesisers. An introduction of purely electronic sound, as opposed to the entirely acoustic generation of dilation one. The cassowary is a very striking bird, much like the peacock in that it is highly earth bound, and they are large, cumbersome, shy, and will attack when they feel threatened. The Daintree rainforest in Australia is one of the few places where they live their omnivorous life, and I am drawn to them because of the really alien otherness that I can label them with, of the presence they have, like any large animal, of their character. In the interest of generating incomplete oppositions, a passion of mine, we would have women (since this is Dilation 2), and the soundworld would echo the fact that cassowaries have one of the lowest bird calls, a boom which is only just audible by humans. 143
Some of my strongest experiences of James Brown’s music was in Matthew Day’s solo performances, so perhaps too predicatably, I heard him scoring this episode.
The Daintree is of volcanic soil. Women today. It was problematic to me that the image I had in mind for a physical element was somewhat similar to Bjork’s cover art for her album Volta. What understanding do I even have of women? What felt important was that they are defensive, solitary, endangered. Researching the birds, they are protected, they are fed, the feeding shed, and I liked the idea of it being in a controlled environment, being fed, this almost false existence. While the first dilation was suspensions related to the physical surface, the second day feels more internal, situational suspension. This is a longish part, and will lead to an interval. Note that the possibe suspended object from day one would still be up. Dilation two, episode two: Tank (the pelican's beak - an aquatic transition - baroque fish in violin, voice duet with gradual sedimentation, pollution of water) This section was the first image of the whole work. There is a tank, or a receptacle, even a thick clear bag (multiple bags? maybe they pierce and fill out?) attached to a frame and I am inside. It doesn't need to be big. I feel like the Daintree section will have a certain impact, and this is a very clean, very beautiful recital of baroque song, for voice and violin. The violinist sits up on a pedestal, perhaps i am sitting on a seat inside the tank space so it doesn't need to be so tall, but it does go over my head. We play songs in a different language not necessarily a real language, just things about yearning, and the tank fills with water. The violinist, focused, serene, will put some things like woodchips and sand and soil into the water, over the singer. Eventually the singer will have a scuba mask, or just goggles and a hose for air, and the tank will fill above the singers' head, so the water might lightly move hair. Violin will continue to play one part, but it won't be complete. Two parts are necessary for counterpoint, to have suspensions. The lights will go down. Dilation two, closing codex I don't know that this is necessary, introducing new sounds, new performers. I suppose I was attracted to balancing the numbers of the dilations, three and three, but the interests of the days are very different. An initial thought was to have girls in nightdresses with blue satin sashes in a factory, building beautiful dream hearses, cars for funerals, the function of transport, a reflection of the end of this cycle, which doesn’t necessarily want to the repeat, the factory is a repetition of this construction of luxurious end, which is also the beginning for these cars. The way I thought to close it instead, is by getting out of the 'tank' and moving through the space while still wet. I think the violinist would just leave the space. I had been thinking about 'finger marionettes', having fingernails attached to the leaves overhead, that branch which had been suspended from the introductory codex, and performing a short, silent dance with the manipulation of the leaves overhead. 144
There were other options for structure, like maybe a day in between // interlude which is a horse sport game and then a crusade/pioneer exploration, but I'm not in love with that. If an object is suspended, it carries the implication that it is hovering, some force is helping it defy its natural state, indefinitely. It is not 'lifted'â€¨What is holding it up, and where does it want to naturally rest? What is the 'charismatic space' that it commands? Is it dangerous to its surroundings, or is it quite peaceful? â€¨Incredibly, with an object in suspension, we are able to view it, it liberates us of having limited perspective: we can see it from all sides, provided we have time. What does this power mean?â€¨ When I say 'object', I think of some abstract form hung up, held aloft by wires, ropes, things like that. It's an image that happens in real time, continuous time, I think I make a real distinction between a suspension and a flat image freeze frame, like a paused video. This screen image is not a suspension in time, it is a frozen moment in time. When I think of an object suspended, there is the clear image of a 'suspension bridge' as well, which brings to the fore another point: it is a matter of distributing weight, in a way negating transforming the essential energy of material. It is then our perception of material, feasibility of it remaining there indefinitely, that shapes what it means. Is it still or will it move in space? What is the space it commands? This suspension of object is attached to a time as well. Whether it is man made by engineering or is a natural suspension (an act of nature), there is a point where it begins and possibly a point where it ends. It is weathered by the elements around it, because nothing can exist without being changed by time (right?). I don't know that I currently feel very interested in the idea of decay and the inevitability of time passing on an element, rather, I am interested in the ability for an object or event to suspend time completely so a moment becomes endless, like the making of an altar. If you are suspended from class, that is usually quite finite in terms of time - you are suspended from this date until that date. In that case, I am only interested in the regular life and education around it for how it might inflect the actual period of suspension, and dictate the way (hopefully in a way that is prescribed, and not case specific, not emotional) that it begins and ends.
A suspension is a consequence, it is the product of a form of deliberation. Moving further into it, we are free to no longer regard a suspension as reliant on being surrounded by empty space. Perhaps you have been in the strong waves at the beach? My eyes begin to water, like Iâ€™ve had too much garlic when I remember. When you are there, your body heavily bobbing up and down, you are suspended in the water, and the water, in a way, is suspended by the sand, and sand, which in its particle form almost immateriality, is a solid shelf, the ground, a solid. The same is with water, you can transform your thinking about the nature of these elements from scientific to more emotional, without ever being either. Cognition is not demanded. When I was in the waves I was struck by a real fear; I was not longer aware of the relation of my body to the mass of water, to gravity, whether my kicking legs held me at a diagonal or at a vertical, whether a horizontal plank was even that, but I was aware of how I could travel and try to exert force in the space around me. The suspension was also from the salt of the water, a seasoning, if you will. There is a hierarchy of materials in terms of what floats on what, which is more dense, much in the way that gravity has different inflections and effects. So we're looking at interaction and defiance of force.
Dear Lachlan, Do you remember that day when we circuited Freiburg, trying to navigate our way to the ticket agency? You were so happy that night, when you came blustering back into the caravan we shared, having seen the Freiburg Barockorchester. It’s said that those who fall into the canals of Freiburg will fall in love with someone from the city. We did not do either. I wonder what you’re reading now – the last time I had a book in your sight, I was rereading the last book of the Proust, In search of lost time, (Makes me think of the documentary by Hito Steyerl, subtitled ‘in search of lost ass’). You very awkwardly came over to the table where I was seated and proved that you knew the appearance of the proust edition I was reading. I felt compelled to point out it’s a book. Just a book. I know I had been reading it when we saw each other in Amsterdam earlier this year, in Berlin earlier this year, and I know you had put it on hold, to read later. You recently wrote on my facebook wall a passage from volume three. I guess you’re reading that now? Do you remember when I was desperate to consume, when I chose to deal with the lack of academic stimulus in our syllabus by trying to read two novels a week? You encouraged me, comparing me to your mother as one of two compulsive readers you knew. I liked that. So as I am wont to do, I want to give you two texts which I am thinking about. In the past it’s been Henry Miller, Andre Gide, Chris Kraus, Milan Kundera, Hermann Hesse, WG Sebald. I’d qualify these as very different to what follows. Maybe you’ve already read a lot of Siegfried Krakauer – a contemporary of Walter Benjamin, which I hope comes across as a pronunciation in my impeccable German accent, and Krakauer and his wife were not driven to suicide. Can you imagine us, you and me, fleeing as emigrants? I kind of can. That reminds me of all those conversations we’ve had about the nature of the émigré, of the translations of certain works, the geographic influence. I guess we could both align these writers to their contemporaries, the musicians who fled their home countries. But there you are, applying for schools in that motherland, the continent, and we’re both so middle class, studiously obsessed with literary somethings. I remember googling the title of your string trio, pretty baffled by what it meant, what it was referring to. I know that a lot of the older titles derive from references to Kafka, to Emily Dickinson, but ‘I am the sacrificial butter’, that is a line from Ulysses, that big James Joyce book that you’ve been telling me about reading. To be more precise, it is a kind of reference transcription of the bhagavad-gita, I am the 154
fire upon the altar, I am the sacrificial butter, and I have tried to make sense of this. Is it a kind of interest in a codified religiosity, a very particular type of space or earnestness that comes with your music? Your musical heritage is very much influenced by choral singing, your love of that liturgical setting despite your attraction to Stephen Fry, that british skepticism and wit around religion. But Krakauer â€“ I havenâ€™t finished reading the whole book of essays, but this one is called two planes, from a section called Natural Geometry. Maybe it does remind me of that passage from Henry Millerâ€™s Air Conditioned nightmare, my dream of mobile. But:
Two Planes The Bay Marseilles, a dazzling amphitheater, rises around the rectangle of the old harbor. The three shores of the square paved with sea, whose depth cuts into the city, are lined with rows of facades, each one like the next. Across from the entrance to the bay, the Cannebiere, the street of all streets, breaks into the square's smooth luminescence, extending the harbor into the city's interior. It is not the only connection between the soaring terraces and this monster of a square, from whose foundation the neighborhoods rise like the jets of a fountain. The churches point to the square as the vanishing point of all perspectives, and the still-virgin hills face it as well. Rarely has such an audience ever been assembled around an arena. If ocean liners were to fill the basin, their trails of smoke would drift to the most remote houses; if fireworks were to be set off over the plane, the city would be witness to the illumination. No ocean liners fill the bay, and no fireworks are coasting down; there are only yawls, motor launches, and pinnaces, resting lazily at the edges. During the sailfishing era, the harbor used to be a kaleidoscope dispatching moving patterns across the quays. They trickled off into the pores; the gratings of lordly mansions, set back from the shorefront, glistened. The splendor has lost its luster, and the bay has degenerated from the street of all streets into a rectangle. Its desolateness is shared by a side branch of water, a forgotten rivulet that does not mirror the stark houses. The city keeps its fishing nets open. The catch is collected in the harbor's new basins, which, together with the coastline, describe a mighty trajectory. The arrival and departure of the ocean liners, aglow as they disappear over the horizon, constitute the poles of life. The bleakness of the bare warehouse walls is an illusion; their front side is what the fairy-tale prince 155
would see. In the spongy depths of the harbor quarter the fauna of humanity is teeming, and in the puddles the sky is pristine. Outdated palaces are converted into brothels that outlive every ancestral portrait gallery. The mass of humanity in which the peoples of different nations blend together is flushed through avenues and bazaar streets. These define the borders of the districts into which the human tide disperses. In the shell-like windings of one of those districts rages the eternal mass of small-time tradespeople. Unfrequented amid all this, the bay lounges about lazily. Its very existence prevents the arches from closing. The streets dead-end on its banks; it bends straight ones into curves. In its public space the obvious vanishes; its emptiness spreads to distant corners. The bay is so mute that it surges through the shrieks like a respite. The filled tiers of the amphitheater spread around a cavity. The upright audience turns its back on it.
The Quadrangle Whoever the place finds did not seek it. The alleys, crumpled paper streamers, are laced together without knots. Crossbeams traverse the soil wrinkles, rubbing against plaster, plummeting into the depths of basements, then ricocheting back to their starting point. A backstairs quarter, it lacks the magnificent ascending entrances. Grayish-green smells of sea waste come smoldering out of open doors; little red lamps lead the way. In the spaces that afford a view, one finds improvised backdrops: rows of flying buttresses, Arabic signs, stair windings. If one leaves them behind, they are torn down and reconstructed at a different site. Their order is familiar to the dreamer. A wall heralds the square. It stands sleeplessly erect, sealing off the labyrinth. A gully accompanies it with canine obedience, plodding alongside every step of the way. Hatches have been blasted into the wall, small holes at large intervals that admit no light into the spaces behind. Other walls of equal length foreshorten like railway tracks; but not this one. Its vanishing points diverge, either because the gully drops down or because the crown of the wall steadily rises. Suddenly, next to the gully, the square unfolds. It is a quadrangle which has been stamped into the urban tangle with a giant template. Blocks of barracks fall into formation around it, the rear wall painted red. An apron shoots out from the wall, stops, breaks off. The horizontal lines are drawn with a ruler, dead straight. On the deserted square, something happens: the force of the quadrilateral pushes the person who is trapped into its center. He is alone, and yet he isn't. Although no observers are visible, the rays of their gazes pierce 156
through the shutters, through the walls. Bundles of them traverse the space, intersecting at its midpoint. Fear is stark naked, at their mercy. No bouquet of palm trees capable of swathing this bareness caresses the edges. On invisible seats around the quadrangle a tribunal is in session. It is the moment before the pronouncement of the verdict, which is not handed down. The sharpened arrow of the apron points to the one who is waiting, follows him, a moving indicator. The eyes of notorious portraits constantly follow the viewer in this way. The red rear wall is separated from the plane of the square by a crack from which a roadway rises, hidden by the apron. In this tangle of pictorial alleys, no one seeks the quadrangle. After painstaking reflection, one would have to describe its size as moderate. But once its observers have settled into their chairs, it expands toward the four sides of the world, overpowering the pitiful, soft, private parts of the dream: it is a square without mercy. So that’s the first, probably more poetic section of what I wanted to say to you. Who are our influences, and who are we allowing to train the way we look at people? I’m reminded of so many things that I can’t even begin to describe to you – is that the purpose of talking about this civic architecture, this shaping of a city, a democracy. I was sent a beautiful obituary by Emily Roysden for Ian White today, since Ian White passed away earlier in November from cancer. In a 2009 performance called ‘Democracy’, he opens with the statement ‘Democracy is about not having a choice, obviously.’ While at this continuous liberty to ramble off things that I’ve been told, to form an argument “What is time if not activism?” Peter Handke’s novel ‘Across’ probably attracts me most for the division into segments – The Viewer Is Diverted, The Viewer takes Action, The Viewer seeks a Witness, Epilogue. These titles make me think of this line formed by ‘across’, that all of these headings are kind of the same thing in the context of this book. Diversion, Action, Seeking a witness, that these are an epilogue, and there’s ambiguity in who the viewer is. It makes me think about Heinrich Mann’s novel ‘Blue Angel’, a book originally titled Professor Unrat, but abridged in a US translation in 1932 to Blue Angel. I can’t excerpt anymore, I’m exhausted. I’ve been speaking to the others by phone, by skype, by email, in person, let’s try to do this in text message. You’ve been putting off replying to my phone conversations, to my emails, to that time I saw you on the street with groceries in my hand. I asked you to represent your work. We’ve got all these weird conversations I’m remembering. When I was working on my John Cage Silence project, you told me, kind of proudly, that Hans Ulrich had said that you were the John Cage of your generation. From what I know of you, I disagreed, well I told you that, but I’m really trying to get to how you talk about yourself within a wider, not necessarily 157
music trained setting. How did you become John Cage? That’s a huge responsibility, and not one I think you’re interested in. Give me a text message version, abridged, 'spur of moment' in next 5 mins? I'm not exactly sure what you want but I'll give it a go. What am I listening to now? Le Lagrime di San Pietro by Lassus, Musikalische Exequien by Schütz. Lots of
early music. I hardly ever listen to contemporary music anymore. When I do it tends to be long expansive things like De Tijd. I just finished writing a piece for Jacob which I'm excited/nervous about. There's always a fear between finishing a score and hearing it for the first time that it might just be shit. I'm working on a piece for double choir for a competition run by the Anglican cathedral in Perth. Last week I took part in the Song company auditions which were pretty nerve-wracking. I still haven't heard back which is making me a bit anxious. Is this the type of thing you want me to be writing? Yes. But also relate it to a history. Of your work (I remember seeing your wardrobe filled with scores, and before you switched music to joanna newsom, you had been listening to earle brown. I now can't help but relate the sound worlds of yours and his, but note a difference in your senses of time – there is a simplicity to it.) I'm interested in your attraction to parts of Western Europe over the USA Well I guess my music has changed a bit over the last few years. Earle Brown was a really important discovery for me, though I probably related a lot more to his sensibility than to the way he constructed his music. I wrote a piece, 'Aphorism', which was, among other things, an attempt to explore that attraction. That is probably the first work that I wrote which I still relate to in a way. I spend a lot of time looking at scores. Again, the Europe vs America thing is more about sensibilities - it's not necessarily something I could explain. I like a lot of American music though.
Well, i don't know that i expect your development to be linear. Are there points you wish to touch back on? Plus, can we talk about tape aesthetic, whether that was an historic reference? Was it through Damien Ricketson? or Marcus Whale? I sometimes look back on earlier pieces and recognise things that I now worry about a lot but were then only nascent. Maybe my development is linear though? I think
of the music that I write as part of a constant investigation into my own aesthetic. I think I relate to tape aesthetic in a different way to Marcus, not that it's necessarily vital to what I do. For me the interest is in the idea of recording and managing history - this wealth of stuff that has come before us. So when I used dictaphones in Nothing but a Raucous Instrument it was as a way of introducing the idea of history/cultural baggage. I find simple actions interesting and the things that you find when you combine simple actions. There's an element of tape aesthetic in there I guess. Or maybe I'm just looking for what I want to find. How do we restrict this cultural baggage? Why stop at certain points? Is it a matter of ownership, or, maybe can you talk about the balance between winky and earnest? Why restrict? You have to acknowledge it though. Some people do that very unconsciously. I often find myself referencing older musics, probably because that's a large part of what I'm involved with as a musician. It's not about being postmodern or anything, it's just the way that my brain works. In terms of winky/earnest it's sometimes a fine line. I'm usually earnest. Winky can be great but more than often it's a cop out and comes from insecurity about an idea. Waaait are you implying postmodernism is a deliberate technique? No, it's a trend. Maybe I am being postmodern in referencing other music, but 'postmodern' has connotations and is associated with a particular approach which I don't identify with. 159
This whole stretch of texting responded to the fact that Lachlan hadn’t replied to an email request I had sent him a while ago, asking for him to try to represent his music in his own words. I asked even for a ranking, telling me what work he felt was most successful in his young career, what work was closest to what he wanted to achieve. I also suggested that it would be acceptable for him to not rank, as long as he managed to subvert the question – after all, as his contemporary, I wanted to make myself as vulnerable, if not more, to this value judgement system – I know what work Lachlan thinks is ‘my most successful’, but taking that into consideration with his taste, I might be inclined to say that what I think has been more successful is work he wasn’t an audience for. We’re both critical, but we have not had the same ears or visions. I referred to a conversation I had with a friend where we danced around the topic of favoured authors, books, and someone eavesdropping popped in with the suggestion that having a favourite novel was easy – his was Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh. Lachlan chose the option of not ranking. In parentheses he wrote ‘subversion’: Sure, I think some things I do are more/less successful than others but then that's only my opinion. I usually find that I learn more by writing bad pieces. Representing myself is a funny question as well. I guess I try and represent myself in quite a structured way. I have a problem with things being deliberately obfuscated so I try and be as clear as I can, both in how I think about creating music and in how I represent myself as a musician. This is something I've been thinking about a lot recently - simple expressions of complex ideas/complex expressions of simple ideas; fighting against a tendency that I occasionally feel within myself (and recognise in other music) to complicate a gesture beyond comprehension as a means of creating some sort of intellectual distance finding the line between deliberate obfuscation (alienation) and vital specificity. I think 'I am the sacrificial butter' has probably been the most successful of my pieces in this respect. 'Degusted' perhaps less so. It's not an allpervading concern though. I have not read any Deleuze. Does this make sense? I'd be interested to know what you think of this or if you have any more questions for me. Lachlan p.s. Calvino is such a fucking genius! Invisible cities! I don’t know that I had more questions. 160
Lachlan and I had worked on a work where I made a film that he then scored. It was called ‘after rain’. The dream concept for the video was to essentially wash and hose down a cat in a long take. I wasn’t aware that it was common knowledge that cats have a strong sense of disdain for water and for being washed, but I felt sure that I might find a cat and not be struck down by animal cruelty laws. Visiting James Brown’s family menagerie in Mona Vale, we trialed the different pets, cat in the . The video that resulted dealt with predictability, false leads – in a way, it’s a little like washing a car after rain, washing a car with rain water, and then a car as sentient, functioning. There are shifts, structures, but primarily it’s an opposition of ideal and projected. Lachlan says that in writing the music he was trying to capture and mirror something of the simple yet sensual vocabulary of the film. There is a focus on long, drawnout processes which slowly evolve. The opening seems lethargically to accelerate into action as the camera starts to find focus and images begin to be more overtly recognisable. It was premiered after a performance of Austin’s sound installation Hung Out to Dry, which was performed by our friend John Wilton, currently in China, and one of the most enthusiastic and critical people I know. Hung Out to Dry is a work that John and Yvonne Lam premiered in Canberra in a glass cube – dishcloths are clipped to stands so they then drip their water onto drums, which Austin calls membranophones. Written for a glass walled room, it’s a simulation of an indoor cloud, with the audience outside of the glass room, listening to the sound of the water falling on drums via a four speaker set up. The context in which it was presented when preceding Lachlan’s ‘After Rain’ was very different. In the now defunct Serial Space on Wellington St, 11 drums and stands were set up, and John would maintain this ‘machine’ of sorts. The audience took seats and watched the unamplified performance intently, and with this different type of focus to its original intention, I think the work suffered a little. I thought about staging the work in this site, as an initial installation which is then evacuated from the room. I would have used large silver mylar reflective balloons to attach the dishcloths to, and with the initial structure, the audience would have come into this space with a very obvious suspension of the balloons, but also this construct of the interior vs exterior, and then with the planned ‘evacuation of space’, a brutal siren, where the audience would be hustled back into the foyer for a lecture from me, all the membranophones, all the drums, and mylar balloons, would be evacuated from the space to the space directly outdoors of this room, an outdoor mirror image. I discarded this balloon idea alongside the balloons of the papier mache formations in favour of the nods to minimalism which make more conceptual sense with the use of lengths, measures, but it would have been nice to have this grand spectacle of the space filled with hundreds of drums being struck by droplets of water. 161
But once again, our attention is drawn to the passing glance, shifting gaze of the audience. Musicians working within installation contexts seems to be something we all kind of do, and I sometimes ask myself the question; if so many of my good friends are articulating their thoughts through the abstraction of sound, of painting, of video, why are you being demonstrative through text? Well, Ivan, I have my reasons. The different gaze is what Lachlan played with briefly – just as I had had a phase of very deliberately olfactoric work, where things were cooked during performance, scents attacking the audience and delivering conceptual significance, Lachlan wrote a work called degusted, where he was also in the space preparing a menu. I didn’t experience this work, but I remember sending Lachlan barrages of emails about the setting and space, the necessity of menu and such. Yes, I was abroad at the time, and we were keeping in touch, this vying attitude for maturity and a collective form of operation. I had certain opinions about the whole thing, but as I have already said, I don’t know how they eventually turned out. Though, Lachlan has always been a cooking kind of guy to me, taking pride in the executing of meals and desserts, so I imagine that the culinary and aural experience was quite pleasurable. I’ve always found the title ‘gourmand’ to be ominous, threatening. What are we compromising? Our ascetic lifestyle? Purity? On television, it appears as a step into accessibility, an invasion of the audience’s senses to form new associations of pleasure, colour, happiness It makes me think of a Mieke Bal article on Jeanette Christensen’s 1993 Jell-O works – Sticky Images, the foreshortening of time. Scottish accent, for the indulgence of our relationship. Time is the stuff of history. In the historical perspective, art is examined through the perspective of change over time. This change is analysed in terms of periods, movements, styles, tendencies, and influences. All these concepts presuppose two notions, that time is a continuum that can be divided, and that art is bound to the socio-cultural environment into which it comes into existence.... and then it goes on to talk about chips of marble, melting jell-o, fusing, dying, I told you I can’t be bothered excerpting anymore. Lachlan, I miss you, I guess I was thinking about what Marcus had told me that I had told you he said, about the modality of conversation. Sometimes it seems like geographic differences are overwhelming.
JESS: Oh, it’s weird that a weird beatnik-y guy would have a conservative son like that. RORY: Maybe he’s not that conservative. Maybe at night, he, like, takes off his clothes and parties. JESS: Aw, man, now get that picture out of my head. RORY: It’s a cool book, you’ve gotta admit. JESS: It is. Thanks. RORY: Oh, I’m not lending it. I’m not done. JESS: Well, why’d you show it to me? RORY: I like showing you the stuff I’m reading. JESS: But you knew I’d wanna read it. You’re a book tease. RORY: You’ll get it when I’m done. Gilmore Girls Season 3 E 14 Swan Song
JESS: Cruel woman.
CUT TO TOWN SQUARE
JESS: Back to the salt mines.
[Rory and Jess are sitting on a bench looking at a book]
RORY: So, you’re not tied to the hours you have, right? You can trade if you want to.
RORY: Do you love it? JESS: It’s great. RORY: The Holy Barbarians. I mean, what a title. And it’s by a Venice Beach beatnik about Venice Beach beatniks, and to top it off, the beatnik who wrote it is the father of the guy that does those Actor’s Studio interviews on TV.
RORY: So, are you going to work now?
JESS: There’s some flexibility. RORY: You got any flexibility next Friday night? JESS: Yeah, why? RORY: I thought maybe you could come to dinner with us.
JESS: The guy with the beard?
RORY: Yeah, the pointy beard. That’s his dad writing at his desk.
RORY: To my Grandma’s.
JESS: To meet your grandmother. RORY: Yeah, she’ll be there, so yeah, it might be rude not to introduce the two of you. JESS: I can’t, I gotta work. RORY: You just said you could get out.
RORY: Okay. [they walk into the dance studio. Rory sits down next to Dean.]
MISS PATTY: Okay, now, for those who just arrived, I’m trying out some material for my one-woman show and I need some feedback. You are my randomly picked audience.
DEAN: Randomly shang-hai’ed.
RORY: But I already kind of agreed.
RORY: So I’m kinda jammed here.
MISS PATTY: It’s part stories, part songs. Kind of like what Elaine Stritch did on Broadway, but without the bitterness. My working title – "Buckle Up, I’m Patty."
JESS: Does she know what I look like?
RORY: How long have you been here?
RORY: I don’t think so.
DEAN: An hour.
JESS: Perfect. Find someone who vaguely resembles me. Take him. Just don’t kiss him goodnight.
RORY: Poor thing.
JESS: I didn’t know what for.
JESS: Aw, man.
RORY: That’s not going to work. JESS: Andy Warhol did it all the time. [Rory gives him the book] We’re just five bucks away from a deal. RORY: [kisses him] That’s worth five at least. JESS: You Gilmores think a lot of yourselves. Okay. RORY: Thank you, thank you, thank you. JESS: Manipulator. [They both walk away in opposite directions. Rory walks past the dance studio as Miss Patty walks out] MISS PATTY: Rory, get in here. RORY: What? 166
MISS PATTY: Get in here now. No questions.
DEAN: It’s been mostly her and Kirk arguing about stuff. Apparently, he’s the director. KIRK: Patty, let’s try one of your reminisces. MISS PATTY: That’s what I’m looking for, Kirk. DEAN: Sorry I didn’t save you. I didn’t see you until it was too late. RORY: I don’t think anybody could’ve saved me. MISS PATTY: Okay, here we go. Hey, did you know that I once met the great Bette Davis? I was a chorus girl in a bus-and-truck tour of "Guys and Dolls." Beantown, I love that town. And there I was, me and the girls backstage after the show, and in she comes. And who does she walk right up to, but little old me. And she sized me up, exhaled some smoke from that regal mouth of hers,
and said, "Doll, you don’t got the high notes but you sure got the gams." I’ll always treasure that moment with Bette and I wanna dedicate this song to her. Uh, Ethel, key a D.
KIRK: We’re gonna have to rewrite that.
DEAN: It’ll run for years.
MISS PATTY: What?
KIRK: Something on the nose and expected, got it.
KIRK: It got no response. It needs a rewrite. MISS PATTY: Kirk, it’s my reminiscence. I can’t rewrite it.
KIRK: Something more obvious, got it. RORY: This is a hit.
MISS PATTY: Kirk! CUT TO OUTSIDE
KIRK: How about if she says, "Doll, you’ve got the gams, but I’ve got a body in the trunk of my car." MISS PATTY: Why would she say that? KIRK: Because she’s a murderer. I think it works. MISS PATTY: I’m not rewriting my memories, Kirk. KIRK: It died. Build a coffin for it, put some pennies on its eyes ‘cause that stiff ain’t breathing. MISS PATTY: Well, I think that we should discuss this later, now go back to your light booth. KIRK: Fine, start the song. MISS PATTY: [sings] It’s a quarter of three, there is no one in the place, except you and me. [strobe light starts flashing] Kirk, would you fix this? KIRK: Fix what? MISS PATTY: This flashing. KIRK: That’s my choice for the song. MISS PATTY: It’s disco. KIRK: I’m trying to subvert expectations. MISS PATTY: Well, don’t. Just give me a 167
Sabrina the Teenage witch Season 2 E 21 Fear Strikes up a Conversation Ext. The Other Realm, Forest of fears. Onward, ever onward our intrepid pair go. Sabrina doesn’t even flinch as Libby leaps out from behind a tree wearing way to much make up. She’s dressed as a clown and it’s the Quizmaster who screams and cowers behind Sabrina.
Sabrina- (Screaming) Noooo! All- You’re a witch! You’re a witch! You’re a witch! Sabrina- (Crying with her hands over ears) NOOOO! All- You’re a witch!
Quizmaster- It’s-It’s a clown! I’ve always er been afraid of clowns.
Sabrina- Wait a minute! You’re right I am a witch, and I’m proud of being a witch because it means I can do this.
Sabrina- Oh, so the way you dress is how you confront your fears?
She twirls her finger to make them all vanish.
Quizmaster- Are you afraid of being snatched bald headed? Because that’s what’s going to happen.
Quizmaster- Oh, way to go Sabrina! Now all you have to do is walk through that door and face your ultimate and final fear.
Sabrina- (To Libby) I’m not afraid of clowns. Why are you scaring the Quizmaster in the forest of my fears? Libby- I’m not going to waste my scariness on you, freak, although as long as I’m here I may as well remind you that everybody has commented on how you’re… Again there’s a dramatic dum-dum-dum and glance aside. Libby- (Cont.) Different. Harvey steps from some bushes to stand beside Libby. Harvey- Hey. I don’t care if Sabrina’s… Dum-dum-dum. Harvey- (Cont.) Different. From another bush the laughing Mr. Kraft appears. Mr. Kraft- Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! But she’s not just different, I happen to know she’s a witch.
All- You’re a witch! You’re a witch! You’re a witch!
Mrs. Quick and Valerie join Libby, Harvey and Mr. Kraft to chant and point.
Sabrina- Great! And if you find my nervous system anywhere around, I’d like it back. She turns towards the door. Int. Westbridge High School Gym. The entire faculty and staff are assembled for Mr. Kraft’s inaugural assembly. He’s on the podium but Mrs. Quick is at the lectern. Mrs. Quick- And now, to read her essay ‘How math applies to real life’ Sabrina Spellman. The door beside the stage has an oldie, plankie type of appearance about it for a moment as Sabrina steps through it to be met by applause. Her fear shadow follows her through and floats gloating by the door while she nervously makes her way to the podium, Will she vomit? Will she cry? Will she have to live with a name like ‘pit stains’? Whatever the outcome she must face it as the school waits expectantly for her to speak. She clears her throat. Sabrina- (Reading) In the beginning there was the word, but in order to mark when the beginning was we needed
numbers. Making math as big a part of life as language, although not quite as big as TV.
The Quizmaster points to a designer patch that sits on Sabrina’s blouse above her heart that looks like a tiny Steve Allen.
The students laughed and Mr. Kraft shushed them. Sabrina glanced across at the fear shadow and watched it shrink a little, it wasn’t gloating anymore. With renewed confidence Sabrina continues her essay until later she barely has to glance at it to remember what’s written there.
Quizmaster- He’s there to remind you that fear is something that’ll always be a part of you. You just have to be willing to deal with it.
Sabrina- At first math seemed so complicated I was afraid of it, but once I took the time to study it wasn’t scary to me anymore. The Quizmaster stands by the door watching the shadow shrink and shrink as Sabrina’s fear fades. Sabrina- (Cont.) Which proves that knowledge and experience are the best weapons against fear. Thank you. Everyone applauds her, even the cheerleaders, as she leaves the podium and joins the Quizmaster and a tall bespectacled man in a suit and bow tie.
Sabrina- Hey, is Steve Allen going to be on all my clothes now? Quizmaster- Oh come on Sabrina, don’t take everything so seriously. Lighten up. Sabrina- All right, whatever you say. She points at herself and transforms into a clown outfit complete with a big red nose. Quizmaster- Oh a Clown! Hey yeah, well y’know I can handle that. Sabrina smiles and squeezes her nose, it goes beep and the Quizmaster runs away to hide under his bed with Sabrina chasing him.
Quizmaster- Great speech Sabrina. Now you can finally face your fear.
Int. Spellman kitchen. Sabrina’s happily telling aunt Zelda about the assembly and her essay. Hilda enters with an accordion strapped to her chest
Sabrina- Wow! My fear looks just like Steve Allen.
Hilda- Thank-a you boys, the songs of Bavaria we’ll-a never forget them.
Fear- (Laughing) I know what fear is believe me, I did live TV.
Sabrina- It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. She holds out her hand but he doesn’t take it. Fear- Wait a minute! Meet, that rhymes with sweet. You gave me an idea for a song. As he sings he shrinks and finally vanishes. Sabrina- (Pleased) He’s gone, Alright! Fear is out of my life forever. Quizmaster- No, not quite.
Zelda- Wonderful, she’s in the Lawrence Welk-snap stage of witch-snap. This is perfect! She gets set to take notes. Hilda- And now a little polka. And-a one-a and-a two-a and-a Three-a… Hilda plays her polka dancing round the table. Sabrina- I didn’t know it until now but aunt Hilda playing the accordion is my biggest fear.
Here are some tips for moving the curtains. Unsurprisingly, they are on a rail around the room. They separate into 8 parts. Two of these parts are particularly big – they are the ones which have half lengths attached, so one can have the room swathed in curtains but still easily find the exit. One of the influences on the famous psychoanalyst Lacan was Gaetan Gatian de Clérambault. According to Richard Webster, Clérambault was a student of 'erotomania' and a self-proclaimed expert on the mechanics of paranoia who lived alone with the wax figurines which he used to pursue his passion for Arab draping, 'the art and manner of pleating and folding fabrics, knotting them, causing them to fall voluptuously alongside the body, according to ancestral custom.' As a psychiatrist he adopted a strictly organicist approach to mental illness, resisted psychiatric reform and believed in incarcerating his patients, in whose personality and welfare he showed little interest. You will always move the curtains in an anticlockwise direction. Never try to move too quickly or violently. Often it is nice to have no movement, to have stillness. Whether you are pushing the curtain, or pulling the curtain, if you meet resistance you should not force it. Just step aside, and move to the next curtain, or perhaps, rescue one which has been abandoned. You are collectively responsible for a lot of the shifts in light that will happen. Enjoy the visor as you pass the glass panels. At any point, you can begin moving the curtain, or not moving the curtain, though there will be other things in the space, other texts or movements that may attract your attention. When you hear text in your headset, you should feel able to relay it, at any volume. Stay aware of your spacing, stay aware of each other. This does not mean you have to be at equal distances. Move carefully, walk tall, and with dignity! You’re a curtain bearer.
Carefully walk towards a steel section and place your hand on it. There should only be one person at each steel section. Have you claimed yours yet? These steel sections are each made up of three 180cm lengths, attached by either one or two three part connectors. At each diagonal is a reflection of the other. We like reflections, we like mirrors. The four steel corners in the room have the potential to add up to a complete cube. It also is thinking about Sol Lewitt’s open steel cubes, the permutations of that. Staying cool and level headed, Look at the others, look at the other sections. If I reflect the word look, I might get kool, or maybe just a look backwards. Just survey for now. Turn 90 degrees, either left or right. Now turn another 90, in the same direction. And turn 180 degrees, back to where you started. Face the corner at the diagonal opposite. Look as though you are looking in a mirror. Slowly, start gently moving towards the diagonally opposite corner. There’s no rush, there’s no hurry. Enjoy languishing in the no light zone – in the mirror, your features are murky, hazy, indeterminate. Very noir. When you reach your destination, stay facing the corner until you want to slowly turn back around. Now in a similar fashion, return to where you came from. You can continue this game, and even head to corners, to form triangles on the floor with your path. People may get in the way. That’s okay. Stay cool as steel. Make triangles. Listen to what’s being said around you. --
Are you happy making triangles? If so, persist. If not, you have the option of taking an orbit to the outside of the space, towards the gold sheet. You can loop back around the corridor to the entrance. You should orbit clockwise only.
There are some folk heading to your corners. Let them. They are converging on the centre. Once they leave, itâ€™s time to get rid of these corners. Go back to your original steel section, and gently flip it. Be aware of your surroundings. You can continually flip it towards the centre, but if people are in your way, you should shift it along the floor grid. Know that the longer edge of one of the floor tiles corresponds to the length of the steel. Keep it neat, make it fit. Stay aware of the other corners. Some people may try and lie underneath your steel sections. Let them, and just watch over them, like a pyramid guardian.
circle space quietly inside the chairs then out side the chairs, with curtains (broken at intervals) recite text. quietly.
You should stand up, and head towards the glass wall door of Track 12, through which we can see the outside. To the right of the door, is a little panel which enables you to open, close, or stop the door. Press the open button. The door will open. Stand and Wait for it to do so. There is a key taped to the floor just near where the door is. Pick it up. Head to the four wheel drive with the silver bow, and open the door. Open all of the doors/ When you turn on the car, music will be playing. It will be loud. It will mark the beginning of the end of the performance. Sit in the drivers seat, and put the key into the ignition.
We are near the end of the performance. This following text is shared with many other people. Deliver energetically, and loudly to the people in the main space. They may be doing something else. What you have to say is more important. Make them aware of this, however you can. Please relay this text:
“““ Country Music Classical Music Classic Music Country Classic Contemporary Country Contemporary Country Country Contemporary Contemporary Classic Classical Contemporary Classical Contemporary Music Contemporary Classical Music “““ Amelia Groom and I were both in the town of Kassel in 2012, though not at the same time. We were there for Documenta 13, a curated exhibition of modern and contemporary art which happens every 5 years, for 100 days of summer. One of our favourite works was by Ceal Floyer, titled ‘Til I get it Right in which she takes a refrain from country music queen Tammy Wynette’s recording of her beautiful song ‘Til I get it right’. The original goes ‘I’ll just keep on, Falling in Love, Til I get it right’, but Floyer takes out the words ‘Falling in Love’, and instead loops
‘I’ll just keep on, til I get right’. ‘I’ll just keep on, til I get right’. ‘I’ll just keep on, til I get right’. The white room was empty, except for the sound coming out of small white speakers. The room next to this, in the Kunsthalle Fredericianum, was Ryan Gander’s work I need some meaning I can memorize (the invisible pull) The white room was empty, except for a light breeze, blowing through the room. The performance is almost over, come outside The performance is almost over, come outside The performance is almost over, come outside The performance is almost over, come outside
One last line: I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) I need some meaning I can memorise, (The invisible pull) 191
“Notation is itself the transcription of an abstract idea. The moment that the pen takes possession of it, the thought loses its original form. The intention of writing down an idea necessitates already a choice of time and key. The composer is obliged to decide on the form and the key and they determine more and more clearly the course to be taken and the limitations. Even if much of the idea is original and indestructible and continues to exist this will be pressed down from the moment of decision, into the type belonging to a class. The idea becomes a sonata or a concerto; this is already an arrangement of the original. From this first transcription to the second is a comparatively short and unimportant step. Yet, in general, people make a fuss only about the second. In doing so they overlook the arising from it. The performance of a work is also a transcription, and this too – however free the performance may be – can never do away with the original. For the musical work of art exists whole and intact before it has sounded and after the sound is finished. It is, at the same time, in and outside of Time.” - Ferruccio Busoni
Published on Jul 11, 2014
Selected texts from kelley-gander-floyer, a score for 100 performers by Ivan Cheng, representing the work of James Brown, Austin Buckett, La...