EM: Could you please explain your investigation "the resonant potential of materials in chaotic systems" in your sculptural work? My understanding of it that you use the motoric power for a dynamic movment in your sculptural work. What is thereby a chaotic system? And what is the resonant potential of materials? I think that
the context of your inverstigation is from the aspekt of musical composition, such as ‘happening’, is it right?
ME: The resonant potential of materials refers to my investigation of the sound properties of some basic materials such as metal, wood, stone, paper, leaves, sand. Some of these are commonly used in sculpture and some are used for making musical instruments. I am making sculptures that make sound but they are not musical instruments and so my
choice of materials is wider.
I want to create chaotic systems of movement and sound to emulate the unpredictable timings that occur in the complexity of natural systems. I start with the regular timed precision of motors; I then build elements into my installations that interfere with that regular and absolute movement, either causing anything attached to the motor to deviate
from its course or creating inertia that produces tension or torsion in the system that releases unpredictably.
The context of my investigations is not only from the aspect of musical composition. The words ‘musical composition’ are sometimes applicable to my work but it is usually concerned with chance happenings of sound. Once the installations are operating, they are autonomous and not in my control and always surprising. I am equally concerned with the sounds of my installations, with the movement of all the elements and the formal visual aspects, as one always is with sculptures. I am sorry but I don’t quite understand what you mean by ‘happening’, but ‘things happening’ is what my installations are about!
EM: To the Japanese concept of spatiality MA (間): Did you use MA (間) - interstitial space - as a resonating body or mute as negative space for the sounds of your installation? And if so, how do you know about MA (間) ?
ME: MA is both the presence of air, which is the invisible medium through which sound istransmitted and which can be used to amplify or make sounds resonate and MA is also the space between sounds. As an artist I have always been aware of the concept of the blank space in, for example, the empty areas of paper in a drawing. Empty space is negative space or nothing, but it has potential and is contained by structures.
EM: I agree with your idea in your catalogue “(...) It was an extension of the idea of circular motion producing sound and exploration of a very early instruments.” p.42 The sounds of early instruments are not only for amusement. Could you please explain a background of your this exploring?
ME: The idea of using circular motion in my sculptural work was extended into performance through research into early instruments. The instruments are inert and silent until moved in a circle and activated by the performer who is at the centre of the movement and the sound circles them. They are a variously described as noise makers or toys but in older cultures they were often associated with the underworld and the supernatural. Often these relics lose their earlier connections and become toys of amusement for children.
A reissue of Whirled Music on vinyl on the Black Truffle label:
EM: I find your work as well as your approaches mathematical. Could you please explain to me your compositional idea of rotation, especially materiality and its timbres in a systematic movement?
ME: My use of number/ mathematics is intuitive not based on formulae.