A lab hosted by Mariella Greil & Werner Moebius at Prisma Mexico 2009

Maybe manifesto
Maybe we move into the space between yes and no
Maybe we perform the spectacular spectator or performer
Maybe we overcome virtuosity and redefinition
Maybe we question the brute somatic nature of the body and make-believe transformations
Maybe we are all stars and invest in generosity
Maybe we share the in-between
Maybe we look for respect, hospitality and friendship
Maybe we become hybrid
Maybe we distort and recycle our style
Maybe we enjoy cunning concepts and teasing procedures and their strictures
Maybe we move beyond camp, eccentric, heroic and their opposites
Maybe we inverse the structure of the sublime
Maybe we decide for sensitive ambiguity
(response to Yvonne Rainer’s NO Manifesto and Mette Ingvartsen’s YES Manifesto)

Die Kunstpraxis als Werkform.

The lab creates space and framework for exploring emerging practices. “Who’s afraid of the in-between” contributes to a critical discourse on knowledge production in collaborative research and work modes both rehearsed and performed beyond closed categories.

writings from the in-between. emily sweeney, july 2009, mexico

the in-between is inherent. it is rich with experience, preserving a space where memory trails into possibility. it is not a state to be achieved, only recognized, and delicately. to focus on the in-between will cause it to shift. the instant we acknowledge a state as being in-between, we have arrived.

in order to find ourselves in-between, we engage with concrete structures. a vacuum is not in-between: it is nowhere.

where are the two poles that we would find ourselves between?
knowledge and ignorance
technique and pedestrianism
planning and sensation
consciousness and unconsciousness
self-consciousness and abandon
isolation and interaction
movement and sound
proprioception and desire
beginning and end

where would we find ourselves that we should feel in-between?
perhaps we will try to find sensitive ambiguity together.

once, in the laboratory, we exchanged rules. each of us wrote a rule on a small slip of paper and put it into a hat. then, we all selected rules that we were bound to follow for the duration of an open improvisation. i selected the rule to NEVER BEGIN!!! i could not predict how this would unfold. i could not conceive of never beginning.

i stationed myself against a white wall at one end of the space. there, i could feel the wind on my body from outside through an open door and i could see the shadows of trees shifting at the corners of my eyes. i had an easy view of the entire improvised event occurring in the space. NEVER BEGIN. i could not move but to breathe. my hair was moving in the wind; i could not move my head. my eyes searched round and round, roving the space; i could not move my head.

sounds, movements, sensations, interactions shifted before me. but i could not move. i stood still. i began (shit!) to feel an immeasurable pressure in my thighs and feet. my hands trembled; my legs trembled; my face contorted; i began to cry. i breathed; i focused; i stopped crying, and began crying again. i arrived in a space between proprioception and desire. i was present between every decision and every action; i filled the space with longing. the space filled with my longing. every actor’s action was infected with my desire.

is it possible to invite another person into my in-between? can i have company there?

is it possible to be alone in the in-between? do i depend upon the presence of company there?

where were we, that we should feel in-between there and someplace else?

where are we going?

does the in-between imply movement, instability, journeying? is it possible to arrive at the in-between?

are we comfortable in the in-between? is it possible to be comfortable in the in-between? do we want to be comfortable in the in-between?

“…if entire systems of representation, of meaning, had been extinguished inside him, entirely new systems had been brought into being.” Oliver Sacks, An Anthropologist on Mars

the in-between is a constant negotiation. the in-between is dependent upon binaries. the in-between denies binaries. the in-between rejects binaries.

i know only that i am in-between. i do not know why, or how. why do i strive for articulation? if i articulate this, will it disappear?

i am an artist who was raised in the united states. i find myself in mexico. all the time (walking, seeing, hearing, speaking) i have a heightened sense of myself living between my individual beliefs, hopes, and sensations, and those of the country i inevitably represent. can i shed this in-between? do i want to shed this in-between? why am i so uncomfortable in this space between myself and my perceived geopolitical identity?

i am a movement artist who was raised by a family of musicians. all the time (moving, listening, sounding) i have a heightened sense of myself living between my senses. do i want to focus on this in-between? will i damage my in-between by concentrating on it?

where is the space generated by this laboratory of in-between?

i am not afraid of the in-between. i fear its obliteration through description; articulation; location.

emily sweeney, july 2009, mexico

Facebook Group

The primary aim of this project is discursive – to create a real-world forum where people can meet, try out ideas, and enhance our understanding of what a contemporary ‘sound art’ might involve.

Year: 2009
Location: Cecil Sharpe House, London
Worktype: Sound Sculpture
Materials: 4 vintage cassette machines (dissassembled), ardiuno, ultrasonic sensor, D.C. motors, audio tapes, band mashup, fan, L.E.D, writing, speakers, 2 x cassette walkmen.

Worktype: Multimedia Performance
Location: Serpentine Gallery, London

The Sound Moneyfesto was launched by Lee Scrivner at the Manifesto Marathon 2008 at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The mp3 above is his demo of one of four compositions performed by the ensemble.

It used music, satire, and word play to comment on the 2008 banking crisis (specifically the failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and the idea of sound money.

The Sound Moneyfesto was launched in concert with manifestos from Marina Abramovic, Brian Eno, Gilbert & George, Yoko Ono and Vivienne Westwood.

Year: 2008-2010
Location: London, Vienna, Edinburgh
Worktype: Improvisation Duo
Info: Collaboration with William Huckerby

http://www.myspace.com/notanum6er

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Lead Belly was born in Louisiana somewhere around 1888. Living the often violent life of an itinerate musician he found himself twice imprisoned for murder. In 1933 his reputation reached the Lomax family, who, after no small personal tragedy of their own, were traveling the Southern states, recording American work songs, ballads and blues in prisons, penitentiaries, and brothels. Moving around the country in their Ford sedan, John, and his sons John Jr. and Alan, set about recording such artists as Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters and Jelly Roll Morton. They came across Lead Belly in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and with their state-of-the-art acetate disc recorder they cut several sides together over the next few months. They soon parted ways; Lead Belly to a fifteen year career as a solo artist, and the Lomax’s continuing their collection of folk musics for the archives of the Library of Congress, and the Works Progress Administration. Despite the difficult relationship between the academic Lomax’s and the hard-living blues artist, it is through this short-lived collaboration that Lead Belly’s work reached a wider audience, of which I count myself a part. My father, following a period of time working in the Caribbean after leaving school in 1964, had become interested in what was still at that time called ‘negro music’. A Presto vinyl record (PRE 689, 1965) containing a selection of Lead Belly’s early Lomax recordings, is one of the earliest artifacts of any kind that I remember from my childhood. For this project, I was interested in engaging with a populist folk tradition, in the hope such a strategy would enable me to think about electroacoustic composition in a new way. The sound material selected, was by necessity, lo-fidelity (A short promotional film made by Lomax and Lead Belly, found on YouTube). The surface noise in the piece, the glitches, and crackles, are inherent to the source material, and are intended to reference the sounds of old blues records, and to address issues of the value of distribution of heavily compressed audio on the internet, thought of here, as a repository of cultural memory. The piece was entirely constructed from Lead Belly’s voice and signature 12-string guitar.

A talk/presentation to the general public. Sound Art and Digital Media.

Year:2008
Location: Germany
Worktype: Composition
Materials: Recorded Media (Stereo Audio)

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My sense of disconnection from the people of Bad Ems as a consequence of language and the reverberant nature of the Kunstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral architecture. I was working in a disembodied and digital process, where, despite my actual presence in Bad Ems, much of my time was spent online and isolated from the real-world context around me. Although this time was highly productive I decided to counter such work with a piece intended to connect me more closely with the people and environment around me.

I had made the acquaintance of Rainer Hoffman, administrator of the Kunstlerhaus, a few days earlier, we had managed an interesting conversation, and I had noticed that he had difficulties with his hearing, and spends the day with hearing aids (specifics of this?). I myself was experiencing a restricted access to auditory world around me, due to the building’s sonic characteristics, and my own poor understanding of German. I had for a long time wanted to try a version of Alvin Lucier’s ‘I Am Sitting in a Room’ (1970) and so proposed a collaborative work to Rainer.

‘I am Sitting in a Room’ is one of Lucier’s most well known works, and he has always encouraged interpretations of the piece. It is a work based in a short piece of spoken text, originally spoken by Lucier himself. The complete text of this original version is presented below:

I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of r-r-r-rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity nnnnnot so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to s-s-smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.

This short piece of text explains the work quite succinctly, and the final work was originally presented as a forty minute recording. I asked Rainer to translate the text into German, and whether he would be prepared to have his voice recorded for the purposes of the piece. He was initially hesitant, selfconscious about the way he speaks German, saying that people often comment that he speaks his mother tongue in a strange way as a result of his hearing disability. When however I explained Lucier’s own problems with speech, and that his own experience would add to the work, he readily agreed. Rainer’s translation of Lucier is as follows:

Ich sitze in einem Raum, der anders is als der Raum, in dem Sie sich gerade befinden. Ich nehme meine Sprechstimme auf und spiele sie ab, nehme sie auf und spiele sie ab, immer wieder – bis die Resonanzschwingungen des Raum sich selbst verstäken, so dass jede Ähnlichkeit mit dem Sprechen, auxer vielleicht mit dem Sprechrhythmus, ausgelöscht wird. Was Sie dann noch hören, sind die natürlichen Resonanzschwingungen des Raumes, gegliedert durch das Sprechen. Diese Handlung ist für mich weniger die Demonstration eines physikalischen Sachverhaltes, als vielmehr ein Weg, alle UnregelmäXigkeiten, die meine Sprache möglicherweise aufweist, zu glätten.”

The full iterative realisation of this work was carried out in the KHSB on the evening of 20th April 2008. The work is significantly different from Lucier’s, and the openness of his original intentions should be credited. My aims in attempting this work were met in the process of carrying out this work. I wanted a way to engage with the acoustic space of the KHSB, I needed some means of communication across a language barrier, I wanted to address my inability to speak or understand German and also to explore issues of authenticity with spoken German, interestingly fore grounded by Rainer’s inhibited access to the auditory. I would take this opportunity to thank Rainer for his participation in this work, and to hope that he enjoys listening to the transformation of his voice manifested by the acoustics of his daily place of work.




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Year : 2008
Location : Germany
Worktype : Sound Installation
Materials : appropriated sculpture, digital recording, mp3 player, male to female conversation (failed)