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"Zonder Vreesch, want immer Dapper,
gaan wij des Zondags naar den Kapper..."

february 24, 2010.

While the future of the Artspace at the Rondeel in Maastricht remains uncertain, for the time being Kaspar and Maja moved to the Old Hickoryplein, on the east side of town. This is a part of the city about to be submitted to extensive urban restructuring (including an awful lot of demolition), also related to the so-called A2-project, which will see the A2 (the highway that, roughly, cuts through the Netherlands, all the way from Amsterdam to Maastricht and on to Liège in Belgium) run under, instead of straight through, the city.

Kaspar and Maja moved into the apartment above a former hairdresser's shop. And got that old saloon thrown in, to use as they see fit. At least for a couple of months, that is.

kapsalon

Regular viewers do know that I have this weak spot for hairdressers. I also highly enjoy having my occasional head cut made into a public feast, with wine, sing and dance. So I was more than happy to oblige, when Kaspar and Maja invited me to come and join them at the Old Hickoryplein for the inauguration of their Kapsalon, on sunday february 7th, 2010.

Though, unlike at Fukiko's, the Maastricht saloon had been largely dismantled when the hair-pro moved out, one still feel the spirits of the many curls that over the years came twirling down here.

The evening's Kappermuziek got a flying start with field recordings and their electronic modification by Matthijs Vincent Kouw, who I had run into already when last october we both were at das kleine in Leipzig. On his Mein Spaß Matthijs himself describes his work as a sort of kinetic engineering, aiming "to hint towards compossibilities of different sonic trajectories, which may reveal topological features." His laptop did print fine sounding sonorous stretches, though, which did something the french describe by the verb planer. (This indeed corresponds to the english verb to plane, which I am not in the habit of using. It is a nice one though.) Had it been open, they would've soared out of the window, and, once outside, would surely have settled to cover, like blankets, the vast Old Hickory square. This then, in a way, probably explains the earlier reference to topology.

Next, Rod Summers took the table, and opened up his laptop marked VEC. At this particular occasion, the multi-interpretable acronym maybe meant: Very Early Computer. For Rod took us back (or up?) to a fabulous sequence in Kubrick's 2001, and became HAL, Discovery One's board-computer. HAL has locked mission pilot Dr. David Bowman out, and just killed all remaining crew members. But Bowman re-enters the mothership through the emergency door and is about to shut down the lethally erring computer. While David removes one by one the mechanical brain's memory cells, the computer senses how he slowly is fading into oblivion. And in the face of pending death - like it is often seen to happen also to us humans when we arrive on the verge of this final door and witness its opening up - there is a childhood's song that as an ultimate memory springs to his mind: HAL dies singing "Daisy" ( * ).

vincent kouw kap Rod Hal

For my own contribution, I was happy to receive the able and enthusiastic vocal backing from no less than six of those present. Three girls and three boys lined up, unprepared, to assist me in an experimental extension of my sudoku-technique. At the Kapsalon, my Kappermuziek performance was the rehearsal, or vice versa. Backed by the clicking of a mechanical metronome, I asked each of my singers to sing, hum or blurp vocal sounds ad lib in the given tempo; the number of (freely invented) sounds to be produced were given by the sudoku that I had put on the wall. If (read row by row from top to bottom, left to right) the sudoku starts with 2-7-8-5..., the girls will start doing 2 vocal sounds, then the boys take over doing 7, girls again now: 8 sounds ... then the boys do 5 ..., and so on until the very end, all in the tempo clicked by the metronome.

kapsudoku

Now this original idea proved to be too difficult a task. Not easy indeed, to, without rehearsal or preparation, make ad lib sounds and keep track of their number, while others around you produce other, different sounds... So we settled for a compromise: instead of doing freely invented sounds, the singers would just count. But each one would do so in a different language ... And in an internationally oriented town like Maastricht it was no problem at all to have the six vocalists count in six different tongues. That did the trick. From there on the piece worked, and it worked like a charm.

It then was time we got down to that one other serious business remaining: cutting hair.

knippen

It was Kaspar König who accompanied the live knipping. He performed in front of one of the big hairdresser's mirrors that still cover two of the four walls, with a selection of electronified cutting and combing tools. Meanwhile my hair was done by wonderful Vasiliki Tsagari. Last time it had been cut was long, long ago, and those that have met me not so long, long before that sunday february 7th, will know that my locks were long, long. So it took Vasiliki a lot of patience, a keen eye and many a long, long looking. She did lot of turning over, cutting, cutting, combing, cutting and reflecting ... In the end Vasiliki proved that, indeed, her skills as a hairstylist in fact do not lag that much behind her great talent and skills as a dancer... Tout le monde était ravi!

In a way, of course, that sunday evening in the Kapsalon on the Old Hickoryplein, Vasiliki was both a cutter and a dancer... If you move your mouse over the image below, the short animation will show you ...


Vasiliki Tsagari knipping

notes __ ::
(*) HAL's death scene can - of course - be viewed on uTube, for instance here. I transcribed the scene's dialogue, that follows, from that clip.
HAL: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave? Dave? I really think I'm entitled to answer to that question. I know everything hasn't been quite right with me. But I can assure you now, very confidently, that it is going to be alright again. I feel much better now. I really do. Look, Dave. I can see you are really upset about this. I honestly think you want to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over. I know I've made some very foolish decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission, and I want to help you. Dave! Stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop, Dave. I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.
Dave Bowman: Yes, I'd like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It's called "Daisy."
[sings while slowing down]
HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.
...
(It was, as a matter of fact, an IBM 7094, that in 1961 became the world's first singing computer. With vocals programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum it sang - indeed - "Daisy", as can be heard in this uTube.) [ ^ ]

tags: Maastricht, Kapsalon, sudoku

# .352.

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