Re-Mex (with Tito Rivas)

Listening Strata: Tito Rivas & J Milo Taylor

The proposed work – a collaborative sound piece by Tito Rivas and Dr. J Milo Taylor – will be the fulfilment of a long-held mutual interest in working together. While meeting at a festival of contemporary dance (Oaxaca and Mexico City 2009) and spending time in conversation and experiencing interdisciplinary performances, workshops and discussions, a shared fascination in the possibilities of sounds and listenings was discovered. Both artists have, quite independently, and with their own particular working methods, continued to explore this domain since that time (2009).

Let us for example, accept an idea of sound as a creative practice. Within this practice we find a number of different groupings. An influential one of these, existing since the early publication of Vancouver-based Canadian composer/academic R. Murray Schafer’s The Tuning of the World (1977), is around an ecological and sociological sensitivity to the transformation or eradication of natural and historical sounds by an on-going homogenising modernisation.

A second approach might be described as documentary, or archival. Recent and ongoing work for both artists in archives in their respective cities (Mexico City, London/Cologne) and a shared critical use of phonographic techniques indicates some idea of sound as preservation. Recording and archiving these sounds somehow saves them from extinction.

Freezing time for a future listening.
Recording as testimony.

How you situate your work when you start recording is fundamental.
However nothing is ever neutral.

Another method – the self-named schizophonic – disregards the source of the sound and the notion of location would be entirely irrelevant to a another Schaeffer, the French engineer Pierre Schaeffer. For those following in this tradition, the work focuses upon fixed sound – the sound as presented by media technologies – tape machines, synthesisers, record decks, computers. In this domain sound is autonomous – it refers to nothing.

It simply is.

A sound in, and of, itself.

An object that is a not-quite-an-object.

Something separate from origin, site or location.

Francisco Lopez would propose these works as new realities – in, and of, themselves – new entities.

The use of recorded sound refers somewhat to its origin – it does point to the past. Yet it also exists and moves towards the future. A form of sonic time travel – the poetics of autonomous sound.

Combining these with other ideas, notably Zielinski’s “deep media time”, the artists are confronted by the area of archaeoacoustics, presenting a notion of the object as sonic : thereby durational, spectral, relational, in flux . As sounds appear and disappear, so objects seep through time – moving both from the past and to the future. Entities endue, but eventually decay.

They decay and they sediment – into strata – layers made in time, like the laying down of a lake bed or ocean floor. Igneous forces may metamorphose such entities into entirely other forms – how may sound and listening cultures be said to be affected by such forces, such a geological, metaphorical morphology?
,
We may, following this, accept an idea of a soundscape as inhabited by both humans and animals, organics and inorganics, the living and the dead. A notion of the poetics of sound always remain close to our practice.

We are proposing an urban sound-based project exploring exploratory ecological theory, social research alongside recycled soundworks to be presented in Mexico City (and London?). We suggest that spaces may be changed through a transplantation of mass sounds – a de-textualisation of one soundscape and the transformation of the other – if only for a short time.

The piece will be a sonic dialogue: between two continents, two cultures, two cities, two artists – sonic beings sharing space in time.

Recent ideas have been moving towards archaeologies of listening . Archaeologists work with objects. If we are interested in cultures of listening, how can we study sounds when they are not properly objects. The hearing act. How can we detect the archaeological strata of listening to discover how listening cultures are made. These are one of the area we would like to explore further and to inform to working methods

We are asking how we compose new things. Yet things new things are not that new.

What do Mexican people listen to and what about Londoners? Why does a culture follow specific sounds? This shows us how we are as societies. In what way? What are the shared structures that make these possible? How can this be articulated more fully, more poetically?

Inherent in the work will be a sounding comparison of listening cultures in London and Mexico City. We will take these sound documents, our recordings, and try to illuminate these. To create hypothesis. antithesis and synthesis.




























“Who’s Afraid of the In-Between?” Prisma Forum of Contemporary Dance, Mexico


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