Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Harry Smith

Vernacular Modernism, a symposium at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, dep. Fine Arts last week, re-introduced me to one of the coolest experimental guys ever, Harry Smith. Being a filmmaker, artist, record collector, mystic, anthropologist, and archivist won two Grammy awards in 1997 for collecting and putting together the Anthropology of American Folk Music (1952).

Monday, 4 October 2010

De topografie van geluid en stroopwafels op de versterker

Tonight I was at NOTAM attending a listening session
(as meditative as it might sound).
The piece presented was Kjell Samkopf and Floris Van Manen's "Marimba & Town Hall" from the series of work called "Listening Ahead". With a strict listening regime with a set of rules; sitting on a chair with headphones in a dimmed room not allowed to talk before 5 minutes after the piece was done, I found myself sitting for 90 minutes listening to the marimba in acoustic dialogue with the architectural structure of Oslo Town Hall. I thought I was bored after a couple of minutes but after checking the time it had been 40 minutes already.

Unlike my projects at the moment, there's little conceptual basis in Samkopf and Van Manen's impressionistic duet of environment vs. instrument, though there was something quite interesting about it in a formalistic way. The composition seemed to expand not only in linearity but mostly in a 3D auditive topography where several layers of sound gives you the option of jumping in the narrative. By selecting an audio layer to follow, the narrative transports you a few blocks away. Not unlike a video game.

The goal of this project was, in the words of the artists, the listening part. To me the statements "joy of listening" and "listening for the listening's sake" is just another uninspired phrase.
Agree with me or not.
But I did like the thought of sound deriving from acoustics in actual architecture emerging back into an inner and associative topography.