T H E  D A R K

P R E C U R S O R

International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research

DARE 2015 | Orpheus Institute | Ghent | Belgium | 9-11 November 2015



O P E N - A C C E S S   R I C H - M E D I A  P R O C E E D I N G S

Edited by Paulo de Assis and Paolo Giudici

T H E  D A R K

P R E C U R S O R

International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research

DARE 2015 | Orpheus Institute | Ghent | Belgium | 9-11 November 2015



O P E N - A C C E S S   R I C H - M E D I A  P R O C E E D I N G S

Edited by Paulo de Assis and Paolo Giudici

Jan Schacher


Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, Artesis Plantijn University College, Antwerp, BE / Zurich University of the Arts, CH

 


New Islands—The “Manifold” of Performing Gestural Electronic Music

 

Day 1, 9 November, De Bijloke Kraakhuis, 12:00-13:00


New Islands is an entwined, manifold, physical, sonic, gestural, electronic, mediated, yet immediate musical performance.
The performance’s main issues are presence, agency, and mediation. This manifests in an interwoven, complexly folded situation of physically performing with electronic sound processes and technological instruments. At stake are the relationships between the artist’s body, actions and affects connected to the resulting soundworld, abstract narrative, and the imagination triggered in the audience. This happens in the social situation of the concert space, the period shared in co-presence with the audience, by sharing the moment of shaping the sounds and the overall musical form.
The performance is tied to the key elements of the physical actions, the perceived intentionality and agency of the performer, yet also the invisible presence of the “machinic” agency, and the interaction and dialogue with the musical processes and structures. Algorithmic, rule-based processes are counterbalanced by a state of pre-reflective, intuitive “surfing” of the piece.


The stage situation represents an “island” in the flow of everyday life, which comes naturally for the audience but is equally true for the performing artist. The moment onstage represents the tip the iceberg, a singularity, a focal point, the compression moment of a practice that spans a considerably larger scope. This compression results in a “manifold,” a “fold,” and a “millefeuille” of elements that are infinitely entwined. Yet, given a beginning and an end in a performance, this multiplicity of elements becomes finite, at least in time, and can be perceived and experienced as a unified object, created and shared in the presence of the audience/viewers.
The metaphor of the “manifold,” a concept from abstract mathematics, serves to point toward a state of affairs where many dimensions intermingle, explode, and get wrapped and enfolded in such a way as to render nearly impossible the task of identifying, isolating, and evaluating the individual constituent parts; or at least it only permits approximations to singular exemplars of the experience in question.


This abstract model represents the multiplicities of implications, operational domains, and significances present in any musical performance situation, particularly when applied to non-predetermined or non-textual practices.
New Islands investigates a core question through “showing/doing”: whether and how the signifiers, act(ors/ants), and shifting scopes that get (re)present(ed) in the stage situation are organised hierarchically and how they represent a gridded cultural space; whether and how they embody a decentred, shifting, and enfolded web of relationships and strata that we are forced to continuously traverse in multi-perspectival, shifting perceptions.


www.jasch.ch/islands.html

Jan Schacher (Jasch) is an artist-researcher active in electronic, exploratory, and contemporary forms of music, live-performance, and media art. His main focus lies in works for stage and exhibition that combine digital media and gestural interaction. He has been invited as artist, lecturer, and researcher to numerous institutions and has presented installations, screenings, and performances in clubs and at festivals, such as the Sonar Festival, Barcelona, Transmediale Festival, Berlin, the Holland Festival, Amsterdam, the Singapore Arts Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Sonic Circuits Festival, Washington DC, the Ultima Festival, Oslo, the Sound Reasons Festival, Delhi, and many other venues throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. His research topics cover performance, embodiment, and awareness as well as empirical work on motion and gesture in music. In addition to his artistic work, Jan Schacher holds a position as a research associate at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology ICST of the Zurich University of the Arts. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in the arts at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp and the Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium.


Web: www.jasch.ch

where is the music ?
    located
    heard
    perceived
    performed
    constituted
   
the space

where the music exists is a manifold, a highly complex, interwoven, folded, enfolded, layered Field
   
in a live-performance
who are the agents/actants/performers ?

presence of music
         in music
         through music
           
        by whom?
        by what?
        in what way?
       
agency, intentionality
corporeality, physicality

co-performed
witnessed and sanctioned

where's the music, what's the music    ?

    in the sound
    in the action, the gesture
    in the space
        between musician/listener/audience/partaker

in the air, in the cultural space between the _musician_, the performer, her context, her background
the listener, his background, his presence ?

who's the audience, the actor, the actant ?

is music in the instrument ?
does music exist through the instrument ?

what's the music
    the sonic structures produced ?
    the affect the sound produces ?
    the affect the performer's intent, action and expression generates ?
   

the manifold
the millefeuille
the fold
the field

all the intersecting meanings, significations, references, lines of flight and lines of sight
   
the artist
    as doer
    as thinker
    as resonator
        to the given
       
as thrown as anybody, but more so, seeking the compression of the stage, the creation of the interstices in mundane, the pedestrian everyday
   
complicit with the listener/audience/witness
complicit in creating the enfolded, charged, enclosed and exploding moment of the performance
   
what are its codes, what are its signs?
   
are the references, the indications, the hints more than mere placeholders for deeper ontological layer, that colours, flavours, no, scaffolds the simple act of playing music?

the artist-researcher creates
not the universal, generalised,
but in the doing/showing extends the singularity of the art-work, the stage-moment, extends it by articulating aspects of the ineffable, personal, subjective position that being a performer affords. It's not without any validity beyond the moment, the time-span of the performance, even if that highly compressed flowing manifold cannot be unraveled, unfolded, flattened out, smoothed over,

the resonance as a trace of the 'actual' needs articulating and be it only to make sense to the artist her-self.

as an artist performance provides us with a _lens_ to focus
to provide a bundle of thought in order to set the fire
to bring into focus from a particular, specific vantage point culture, the practice (or discipline) the human condition.

– The stage situation represents an 'island' in the flow of everyday life, which comes naturally for the audience, but is equally true for the performing artist. The moment on stage represents the tip the iceberg, a singularity, a focal point, the compression moment of a practice that spans a considerably larger scope. --

time has a peculiar character in a performance, in particular for the performer.
it is compressed and dilated at the same time, at least the perception of it... (sic!)
tis is of course due to the 'extra-ordinary' circumstances  created in a concert situation, where content, context and experience shift, get overlaid or charged up in a particular singular way.

– The metaphor of the `manifold', a concept from abstract mathematics, serves to point towards a state of affair where many dimensions intermingle, explode and get wrapped and enfolded in such a way as to render nearly impossible the task of identifying, isolating and evaluating the individual constituent parts; or at least it only permits approximations to singular exemplars of the experience in question. ---

le pli (in the organic), le repli (in the in-organic)

"The Fold: The Baroque invents the infinite work or operation. The problem is not how to finish a fold but how to continue it, make it go through the roof, take it to infinity. For the fold affects not only all kinds of materials, which thus become matter of expression in accordance with different scales and speeds and vectors (the mountains and the waters, papers, fabrics, living tissues, the brain), but also determines and brings forth into being and into appearance, it makes of it a form of expression, GESTALTUNG, the genetic element or the line of infinite inflexion, the curve of a single variable." (Deleuze & Strauss, 1991, p.242)

"The Unfold: certainly not the opposite of the fold, nor its effacement, but the continuation or the extension of its act, the condition of its manifestation. When the fold ceases to be represented and becomes a "method", an operation, an act, the unfold becomes the result of the act which is expressed in precisely that way."

(Deleuze & Strauss, 1991, p.243)

These metaphors, images, constructions, terminological thought chains can represent not just baroque sensibilities, but also a contemporary artistic practice that bears the same traits, exhibits the same patterns, suffers the same defects, or brings the same benefits in a view on practice. It is incapable of presenting bondaries, clear lines of demarcation, refuses to be pressed into a grid of relevance, significance or reverence, but rather opens onto the smooth, boundless, shapeless field of overlaid, charged multiplicities, the manifold, the fold, the singular.

 

 

Deleuze, G. and Strauss, J. (1991). The Fold. Yale French Studies, (80):227–247.