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/

Leading Reading and Listening module.

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Introduction to sound art, listening and technology. General Public.

Introduction to sound art, listening and technology. 17-19 year-old students.



Year: 2010
Location: Quare Gallery, London
Worktype: Sound Installation
Materials: found speakers, 5.1 amplifier, squalor, dirt, voices, granulation, resonance, darkness.

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Live performance commission based around the concept of ‘source-code’ which became an econo sound installation exploring some of the theoretical writing about sound proposed by Salomé Voegelin in her Listening to Noise and Silence: toward a Philosophy of Sound Arts, Continuum Press, NY, ISBN: 9781441162076

Exhibition documentation including video piece “Observer-Observing (Ears, Eyes, Ears & Mouth)” (2010) following Takahiko Iimura, Observer/Observed/Observer, chapter Camera 1/2 – Monitor 1/2

Quare Gallery, London
http://www.or-bits.com/

Member of Adachi’s Group at “Speaking Out” Symposium. Tate Modern, South Bank, London

This symposium focused on the use of the spoken word in artistic practice and its manifestations in sonic and audiovisual art works. Taking the lead from the recently published anthology of works Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice, this event encompasses performances, talks and conversations by artists and researchers who employ spoken words as their material and inspiration.

Contributors included Adachi, Caroline Bergvall, Dani Gal, Brandon LaBelle, Cathy Lane, Oswaldo Macià, Nye Parry, Inua ‘Phaze’ Ellams, Imogen Stidworthy, David Toop and Trevor Wishart.

Organised by CRiSAP

http://www.adachitomomi.com/

http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/eventseducation/symposia/20795.htm

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.

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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.