The Blurred Compilation Album (Track 19): 15.30hrs | Plenary Session

“This is a semi-virtual environment, later to be made available as an archive”. (male voice).

“How does sound art relate to the audience?” (The first question from the floor).

Kubisch is the first to respond to this. She discusses the audience experience of sound installations, and relates to her own experience of the works shown here, with a particular regard to the work shown by Giancarlo Toniutti, perhaps the most successful of the installations shown during the conference. In experiencing this work, she found herself lying down, in order to filter out the visual from the auditory, in what was a difficult space in which to present work. It seems important to her that sound installations are not exhibited as objects to sit down in front of and to watch. Toniutti joins the discussion with his conception of a ‘sound-site’, an immersive space to enter, intentionally distanced from a dialectical occularity. For him, the ideal environment in which to place work is ‘open and public’ and he is critical of the other installations which repeated unreconstructed visual codes of theatre/film.

The acousmatic composers enter the discussion with Harrison relating the question to the process of composition, where he assumes the role of the audience. He relates his listening during composition, his listening during performance; in public diffusion of his works, he is situated within the audience, embedded within their auditory field. For Stollery, composition is only complete when performed in public.

Keith Rowe, from the perspective of an improvising musician stresses the emotional nature of the relationship. He senses the psychology of the audience, and notes that this is crucial to what an improviser is able to due in a given situation. For Rowe, all performance is site-specific, as every moment is unique.
“In the room is everything”.

Kubisch responds to this with a comment about the visual aspects of site and evokes notions of sensitivity to place and of atmosphere.

It is interesting to hear Rowe articulate his concerns, as the performance he was part of yesterday, I found to be emotionless, self indulgent, tedious and one dimensional. For all his hyperbole about sensitivity to space, context and audience psychology, in no way were any of these in evidence in his so-called performance. He was so involved in his particular processes, in this case running a battery powered fan, that he seemed generally oblivious to not only the audience, and the space, but also to the intention of his improvising collaborators. He is not solely responsible for this, Mehta too, appeared so involved in what he finds an exciting deconstruction of his instrument, that his elephantine trumpeting into the corners of the room, left the world class musician de Saram floundering. I am sure Rowe has a justification in his interest in battery powered fans, there is without doubt some novelty value in playing a guitar with one, but if this fascination with object takes precedence over the necessary dynamics of tone, gesture and interpersonal action and reaction, then where are his strategies leading us?

Second question from the audience – “I feel titles are important in placing the audience in the work, but they also limit possible readings. What does the panel think about this?”

Kubisch: “I think it would be great not to have titles. It’s just pragmatics”.

Rowe: “ Performances don’t have titles, CDs do. For example “Hqrsch” a CD release came from a live recording. I listened to the recording 40-50 times until the title appeared”.

Relation to the experiential ‘what is in front of you’ of work

Kubisch – installation. The space can be the subject, to some extent, of the work.

Peformance as ritual. Applause at the end, reassuring. You know what to expect. Installation cannot be anticipated, and her work is open to may different interactions. For example with her water underground work and old lady, quite normal, would come everyday, lay down and listen to a particular sound.

What is the duration of performance? It begins and ends with a long continuum which can extend for months before and after the actual show.

Rowe, Zen archery example. You must know a process so intimately that you cannot make a mistake. There is no such thing as chance.

Tonuitti – disagress, there is always the accidental. In his installation the low frequencies were vibrating the room – unitended, but interesting.

Final question from audience: ”What do you take away from the conference?”

“some money”.
“some experience”
Tonuitti: “relations”
“receiving new ideas”.

Kubisch: ”Time out to connect parts of my brain. I got some ideas for some new work”.

Rowe:” I’m not going to know for a long time. There’s something there though. I’m in two minds about such places as this, either to tear them all down, or that these should be the most revered places in society”

Stollery: ”Pride at being able to attract such high calibre musicians and sound artists to our little town”.

Harrison: ”Meeting people from different areas the same field. Some are on the high ground, some are on the other ground”.

Thompson: ”I would like to express my personal gratitude to everyone”.

A gift of a boxed tuning fork is presented to each of the panel members.


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