The Great Washing

february 24, 2008.

I don't know whether you will - or even can - agree, but some days I marvel at the sheer volume of good, nay excellent, music that continuously is being produced and is washing my way. I feel that I could easily fill any multiple of the number of my remaining days listening to it all.

But then on some of the days after such days, that very same idea horrifies me.

Because it does, it has to be false ...

It has to be false because we actually are in dire need of music that does not make sound. And then I do not mean for example John Cage's 4"33', which is, on the contrary, a fine demonstration of any sound[-framed-in-time-by-attention] making music (as of much else besides btw). And also I do not mean 'not making sounds' as in some minimalist schools of free and electroacoustic improvisation. Even though, arguably, when it is (very) well done that may come close.

To music that does not make sound, I mean. ( * )
For even though all music - of course - is sound, most of it also makes (a lot of) sound. What's wrong with most music, is that it makes sound.

Like much of those hundreds, thousands and more hours of good, nay excellent, music that I mentioned earlier ... This must explain my horrified dismay on many of those next days ...
It should not. It is sóó much better not to ...


Thus we called ookoi's latest work : l'Ecoute.




l'Ecoute is a wide screen video clip, which lasts precisely one hour. Of 'rubber time' (jam karet) ... "all it takes's the time it takes" ...
Our l'Ecoute is primarily meant for screening on large public video screens, and maybe you'll catch it out there one of these days, for example when crossing the Zuidplein in Amsterdam (see picture above). If your browser has a working quicktime plugin installed, you now see a short thumbnail extract looping to the right. If you do, stop scrolling down, and watch it for a while ... l'Ecoute is not available otherwise, though we did prepare an half hour version for presentation at festivals and the like, called "l'Ecoute.5" 

Rubber time ... "[W]here there is self-reference, there is temporality," Jean Schneider observes in a paper about time as a discrete series of 'becomings', 'The now, relativity theory and quantum mechanics'. ( ** ) Here is how in his paper Schneider illustrates the construction of "a non-linear, multidimensional and 'elastic' time, with temporal 'bags' and reversals". It looks a lot like l'Ecoute's score:

elastic time

By itself, l'Ecoute has no sound. It is a 'stomme film'. This is how in dutch, as in german - Stummfilm - and in french - film muet - et cetera, one designates silent movies. ( *** )

That is an unusual format for a clip.

vortex Also ookoi's latest sound release, Live Beyond the Paradiso, came in an unusual format. It was released as part of a digital data dump, available only at the Netherlands Media Art Institute, Montevideo/Time Based Arts, in Amsterdam, during the Video Vortex 2 exhibition, from december 7th 2007, until february 3rd 2008. When visiting the exhibition (click the picture to enlarge), at the reception you could get yourself a UBS-stick, and use that to download the ookoi EP and other goodies (copy 2 stick) directly from a computer's hard drive. Or not ... (For all who neither had the time nor the possibility to get the digital data dump at Montevideo's, it is possible as of now to stream and listen to all _sp_ of Live Beyond the Paradiso at Last.FM's.)

"Art has reached its end," Jorn Bramann says in a talk entitled "Understanding the end of art" (1998). "It has reached its end, not by being abolished but by being dissolved into everything else. It is essentially not different anymore from anything else ..." Whether one agrees with Bramann and others proclaiming the 'end of art' or not, the observation of its current ubiquity and it not being "a certain class of objects anymore, but a way of seeing things", is an interesting one. It is clearly related to my maybe somewhat curious remarks at the beginning of this entry on the sheer amount of musical 'masterworks' that are being produced almost daily now, and that 'make (for) a lot of sound'. It is also related to a corresponding volatilization of 'meaning' from 'music-as-we-kn[o][e]w-it', and the rise of what with Rébus I propose to call post-music. ( **** )

It is definitely related also to the continual changing of formats. And the changing of places.

The Kiosque électronique (electronic Bandstand) is a great place for a change. Inspired by Erik Minkkinen's placard headphone festival, Olivier Vadrot created a nomadic version of a bandstand, in the form of an oversized plexiglass shoe box, or a knocked over placard (cupboard). Easy to take apart, to transport, and reassemble, the Kiosque électronique comes with some thirty-six or so headphone connections, and is ready-for-use ... Interestingly, the box is so low, that musicians playing inside have to perform sitting or on their knees, which obviously excludes a certain number of musical practices ... (click the pictures to enlarge) ...

kiosque electronique kiosque electronique

I took the pictures on the afternoon of january 26th, 2008, at Le Plateau in Paris XIX, when the kiosque électronique was manned by Rébus, David Steinberg's Boring Machine, Evil Moisture and Computer Truck for a 4 hour placard event. It was a nice concert, as well as sort of fun to look at. The kiosque being placed inside an art space had a curious side-effect, though. For instead as a foldable and mobile bandstand, it rather came across as an oversized incubator, containing electronic Petri dishes where within the silence of the lab fruits of post-music should come to fruition.

I mean ... I do so hope to see it being used again. But then at the post-office. Outside in a parc. At the dentist's. Or at the library. Inside one of those vast floored central parisian fashion stores. Or in the middle of a spacious optician's, flooding in light and where the walls are lined with ceiling high mirrors and thousands of spectacles.
Or why not at a hairdresser's?

That is an unusual place for an EAI concert.

spiderman@fukiko moule@fukiko
mirror singer@fukiko outside@fukiko

Together with the Brocante Sonore, on saturday evening february 16th, I performed chez Fukiko, a japanese hairdresser in Vincennes, next to the police station.

Now that was an experience ... As you may imagine, a hairdresser's is not the most obvious spot to set up to perform; we had to do with one single guitar amp for the amplification; Fukiko's is a very small salon de coiffure, and that saturday evening it came packed with many of Fukiko's friends, clients and acquaintances, who had come for the sushi's, the party; and for the music.

"L'aventure est au coin de la rue ...!" ... That's Anthony shouting ... Here is a YouTube impression of the event, as it was filmed by Vanessa L. :

In an email Fukiko wrote (sic): "un grand merci pour vous 4. tu est invite une sence de relaxation au salon ! tous les amis ont faits des connaissance de une creation sonore ! ils sont devenu plus savons que avant !"

So ...

... did I just say that art is dead? ... ;-) ...

notes __ ::
(*) Which is - as you will understand - hardly related to its density or its loudness. Music may be very loud and even extremely 'noisy', while not making sound. [ ^ ]
(**) in: "Now, Time and Quantum Mechanics", edited by Michel Bitbol and Eva Ruhnau, Editions Frontières, Gif-sur-Yvette, 1994. [ ^ ]
(***) In dutch the expression is used to mean silent (i.e. 'without sound'), or only without talking. It may also be used to mean 'stupid'. [ ^ ]
(****) in: "But what about the music ? (On schizophonic feedback, post-music and electroacoustic improvisation)". Abstract, january 2008 [ ^ ]

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