VIS Issue 5 was published 15 March 2021. The issue features seven expositions within the theme “One more time, let's do it again!”. Editor: Trond Lossius.
Minuting. Rethinking the Ordinary Through the Ritual of Transversal Listening
This exploratory essay introduces selected sound recordings along with notes and observations from Minuting – a practice of sonic journaling I have performed daily since July 2010 in numerous locations and settings. I weave these observations together in a way that resonates closely with the idea of repetition, in multiple forms: protest, automation, cycle, and ritual, as well as the repetition inherent to my acts of recording. While introducing sounds from the archive of Minuting, I reflect on how this constrained and systematically enacted form of listening, recording, and re-listening leads to a transversal type of sonic reflexivity. It is a form of alertness to sound that stretches beyond the immediate resonance of the 'now' – towards spatially and temporarily distant, yet to some extent intertwined, objects, subjects, events, and environments. The text evolves across three interrelated layers: annotated recordings from the project's archive, a set of thoughts and associations triggered by re-listening to the material, and a discursive analysis that opens up the project to a dialogue with other thematically resonant debates and practices. Drawing on perspectives from media studies, the philosophy of technology, sound studies and durational art, I discuss Minuting as an art work, a creative constraint and a transversal listening practice. Lastly, I propose it as an existential media technique for composing critical and reflective positions towards one's surrounding space, experience of time, and use of sound technologies.
Reiterate, rerun, repeat
Michael Duch, Jeremy Welsh
Repetition plays a central role in many musical styles and genres. Repetition, rhythm and patterns also play an important part in the visual arts. Here we will show, examine and discuss repetition as a method and main musical element, as well as their correlation with moving images, in a series of audio-visual works we have been working on together since 2016.
Accumulator is one such project and will be the main focus here, where not only repetition, rhythm and patterns appear as musical and visual elements, but is used as an artistic method in itself when repeating performances of a similar material, documenting each one of them and adding the individual performances as layers creating a dense audio-visual orchestral solo performance.
As well as temporal repetition, Accumulator repeats in the spatial dimension, where the staging of a performance features the live performer multiplied, as he is accompanied by pre-recorded video images of himself. According to the spatial characteristics of the given performance space, this repetition of the performer may be frontal / two dimensional, or may extend across several surfaces, creating a surround projection in which the live performer is contained.
Beyond the Saturation Point
Why does one continue beyond the saturation point? This bilingual exposition discusses repetition and difference while performing with trees, and uses as an example the video Year of the Pig with a Tatarian Maple performed in Nobelparken in Stockholm during 2019 as part of the project Performing with Plants at Stockholm University of the Arts. The exposition consists of a brief version of the video, documentation of the working process, and an essay with references. The aim is to show how repetition produces small (and big) differences and therefore makes a difference. And how it in this case led to a new project, Meetings with Remarkable and Unremarkable Trees.
Elisa Rossholm, Anna Sofia Rossholm
’Naturfilm’ (nature film) consist of three image based essays that reflect on the relation between mankind and nature in Swedish classical nature documentaries, and also on modernity’s negotiation of the separation of nature and human culture by large. The essays include reflections on landscape, natural resources, species and gender relations, indigenous cultures and media materiality. The essays combine images and voice-over, more specifically a series of drawings of still images from existing film footage combined with fragmentary reflections on the images as media inscription and representation.
The essays are media transformations of existing Swedish documentary films from the peak of the classical era, namely from the late 1930s until the early 1950s. In an ecological context, this period represents what is labeled ‘the great acceleration’, an increased exploitation of natural resources, and to some extent an intensified separation of nature and human activities.
The courtyard, laundry room, and areas for beating carpets are collective facilities in the private sphere of the home. In Stockholm you can find carpet hangers in connection to many apartment blocks even though they are very seldom used nowadays. The act of whipping carpets is an act that aims to get rid of the dirt – the remnants of life. Cleaning is a repetitive work, where something needs to be done over and over again without it producing something new.
The project Piskan ställningen consists of an essay, sound pieces, and sketches in different materials and is divided into three parts; the one who beats, the beater itself, and that which constitutes a stand for the beating. The various associations to the carpet hanger and the carpet beater form the basis of the project that centres around questions concerning repetition and productivity, place and time, the boundary between the public and the domestic sphere, and how dangerous the pursuit of alleged purity, hygiene, science, and light can be. Through text, sound and images, personal and collective memories, and the object's associations regarding reproductive labour, city planning, violence, the welfare project, and childish games are intertwined.
The material also contains other associations to control and power – with the whip as a means of threat and punishment, and an exploration of different forms of emptiness in relation to architecture, social structures, and mental space. Through a younger and an elderly woman's narrative voice, we follow an associative thought chain that interweaves the public, the domestic, and a bodily sphere. The setting is a society where she comes home from work to yet another form of monotonous routines, where cars get burned down, and tables are placed under vases, whilst someone has been digging a hole down in the city.
Through sketches in different materials, I approach the carpet beater by exploring its shape. My attempts to repeat the knots lead to a series of variations on the memory of whips where mistakes constitute the basis of new forms. In the project repetition and variations in sound, text, and drawing becomes another way of approaching repetitive work
This exposition uncovers the thought process behind and around the artworks Haunted Houses and Cold Readings. I focus my research on the two modernist buildings of E1027 and Villa Müller and the architects behind them. Through the production of these works I have been concerned with how narratives about these houses have been constructed and re-told – and how these narratives have changed as they have been 'rehearsed'. I have applied the methodology of rehearsal to my process in order to outline how historical writings and archival research can be used with the aim of finding alternative outcomes to what has already been written and said.
,__ ^_. ||:_DOWN_DEEPCUTS_'LOCK[ANIMÉ.INVENTION] :||,•__\-‘ - - ÉTUDES FOR THE BEGINNING OF AN ONLINE PRACTICE
The Covid-19 pandemic of early 2020 has had a huge and wide-reaching effect. My group made up of four composer-performers called Bastard Assignments was not exempt. We were pulled to continue to make work, the difference now is that we are online at our individual homes and meeting each other on Zoom. Zoom is a company that has been around since 2011 and a lot of us have recently become familiar with it to celebrate birthdays at a distance, catch up with friends, or conduct our business. It was set up by a Chinese computer scientist who only after the ninth attempt at the application secured his visa to live in the USA. Since the beginning of 2020, the worldwide usage of Zoom has risen 67%, its use diversifying from corporate communications to domestic and arts activities. My compositional and performance work with Bastard Assignments is rooted in collaboration, devising, and group creation. It favours memorisation over the use of musical scores, emotional presence over reproducibility. As we take our work together into a purely online workspace, important questions arise. Through a new way of working online, does our adaptability bring about a new form? How will we understand this online work when and if normalcy returns? Skills that we learn as composer-performers are dropped, remade, and tested during this period, how will our practice have changed?