6 channel soundscape composition
J. Milo Taylor, George Brock-Nannestad, Dirk Specht
Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
This paper approaches noise from a media anarcheological paradigm closely informed by Siegfried Zielinski’s notion of “deep media time”. The observation that noise is not absolute, but is variable is somewhat banal; yet if the temporal, methodological and aesthetic scope is extended beyond the conventional discourses around noise what implications for practice may be drawn?
The origins of the paper derive from a research fellowship undertaken at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln which dealt with sound, noise and listening as practice-based research methodologies. A selection of discarded shellac records (cultural noise) forms the material basis of this study. This media detritus contains program material created during a problematic yet arbitrary period of Cologne’s past (1929-62 – this period defined simply by the contingent array of shellacs found). These discs also offer today’s listeners traces and scars of the damage and decay these traumatised objects have experienced in their lifetime.
These material artefacts are noiseful in many regards: a conventional approach to archiving or preserving these might involve media migration into the digital domain after which processes of “noise-cleaning” may be undertaken. Such cleaning may aim to remove “noise” from “signal”. Yet how is such difference established? There are plentiful examples of problematic media cleansing – and a central issue explored in this paper is this distinction between what the authors frame as “primary” and “secondary” information.
Hence, issues around the context and techniques used during the original recording (e.g. frequency transfer functions), the means by which this recording is produced as a capitalist object (e.g. post-emphasis curves), and the subsequent unintended inscriptions upon the media surface in the course of the objects’ biography (e.g. careless handling) provide a deep media perspective upon the noisy media object.
The nonvulgar journey of sonic art
I listen, I hear, I obey.
Does the exquisitely dissonant institution of sound art, and its subsequent ordering of desire, ensure that we subscribe to a genealogy through which it is governed? In this composition I hear a rhizomic collective, which obeys, albeit contradictorily, a government of past and future time. Historical mapping reconceptualized, audibly so. I hear the pop, clunk, hum, clink, buzz of the sonic agent provocateurs scrambling to inscribe difference.
‘Tomtoumtomtoumtomtoum’; the ‘Cage’ of Sonic Arts past. I hear hindsight.
‘Bwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’; the sound of sonic arts future.
I hear possibility, dynamic, open, multiple, textured, outside ‘time, (is there outside time?). Referring to Heidegger, Derrida describes how, in the nonvulgar or ‘Greek’ conception of time, times past, present, and future converge and diverge; they are at once glancing, touching and yet so very distant. The nonvulgar appear and disappear in this composition’s motifs, they ascribe difference, blend and further differentiate how I listen. I hear the sound of the oncoming community, Nietzsche’s Übermenschare, nonvulgar, allegorical.
This sonic journey has no pause, the repeating beating ‘new order’ of fleeting voices propels concepts adnauseam. Everything that can happen is happening, and not only once, but infinitely. Turning and returning. It does not go along with a simple, linear, modernist scenario. But further problematizes sonic arts institutionalized patterns of irrationality.
Further along the plane I hear double meanings, a double-pincer of the future: one linear, one nonlinear.
It invokes individuation, movement, body, and sensation. Voicing announcements of the future of noise; whilst scattering uncanny silence, more a buzz than a beep of the future becoming. Is this a compositional transformative strategy, or my listening as relational and ultimately performative? I hear the sonic future that never arrives because it was already always here. It sounds nonlinear, atemporal or polymorphically temporal. It presents post-human possibilities as resonant and reverberant.
Ironically, this playful and metaphorical collage of sound arts genealogy is not only broader, but more literally plausible than what Heidegger calls the received or “vulgar” view of orderly, progressive, linear time. Language itself, the splintering of sounds into signs, into embodied and disembodied representations, signals and signifiers, call into question my subjective image of the past: a schizophrenic plane of signification, a neurotic creativity, the disunity of the singularity of becoming sonic.
Finally, I hear silence, an absent sense of knowing, of the heard, that I project into a future: pop merging with click, and dissolution into ecstasy, which relieves my constitutive sense of loss. Lacan suggests that this loss is based on the illusion of the uncoordinated. As a listener at the end of this work I feel like a wobbly toddler looking in the mirror and happily hallucinating in my own disunity. Once again language splintering signification. I am left with the idea of an uncomfortable wholeness. The reconciliation of sonic arts past with its future seems like an empirical illusion.
Ennioa Neoptolomus http://radioplateaux.org/
78rpms, popular music, hungarian, greek, Caribbean, american, british, arabic, jewish, calypso, jazz, soundtrack, country, ballad, rembetika, blues, childrens’
dusty, unclean, dirty, unmixed, unmastered, surface noise, decay, reactivation
original shellac discs
collected Jafo, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Autumn 2010
by sainsŵn and 612 D.J’s
2) Breaking the Frozen Radio Sea
3) Uncertainty Relation (Memory tastes Metallic)
4) International Slo-Mo (As Recalled by Room Herself)
5) Spatial Resonances in Eventmind (Fly in Flames)
Bilwa Costas, Mariella Greil, Werner Moebius, Emily Sweeney, J Milo Taylor