ever-sharing @ microsound.org

[ever-sharing @ microsound.org]

There's been two rather fascinating discussions over at .microsound recently. The first is on the droplift project, which involves "droplifting" CDs of experimental microsound into music stores, odd places, & stores in general; the second is "ever-sharing," a project designed where the CD is only meant to be listened to *once*, and then passed on. I've been contributing thoughts to both, perhaps to stimulate my mind for the -empyre- discussion, which is coming along slowly. Here's a response I made to some objections to the "ever-sharing" project -- enlarging the speculations ... tV

> from Philippe Petit: "...I'd say that one listen isn't
> enough. I like music that reveals more with every
> listen..."
> from Pelagius Pelagius: "...Imagine listening to an
> amazing piece of music with the knowledge that you'll
> never hear it again. I think that would be a very
> interesting state of listening that's arguably lost
> from live performances now that everything seems to be
> documented."
> from Andrew Duke: "I'm with Philippe. As an artist,
> the thought that a piece of music I've written could
> only be heard once scares the hell out of me.


I tend to think that experimentation with restrictions leads to often
unexpected results, the primary result of this assertion of "listening once"
is that this indeed, this technique, is nothing other than life itself--
[thus our result is a realisation of the parameters: and how they too are
singular] -- there is a wry yet earnest irony here -- every breath, every
moment, all of life, every spoken word, all that which we associated with a
moment, indeed, the pulse of immanence itself, is singular and afresh -- is
non-repeatable, is exactly what here through an archived-art, an art meant
to repeated, is effaced. Although, not quite -- not purely.

To continue the thought: ..thus by so singularily defending what is, at its
essence, not only the archive--and memory, pause, reflection, the desire to
achieve layers & sediment to the aesthetic--we efface life itself.

But we should also realise the archive--memory, basically--is in each moment
of the new. We invest each new moment with memory, it is filtered via
memory. From this we should learn that any "singular listening" would in
fact be a filtered listening. The difference in such a listening, however,
is its ephemerality. One cannot attest to it. It is so singular that others
may not believe what we say of it or of what we report. In other words, a
singular listening disrupts the discourse of judgement-- which is also a
discourse of sediment, of hunting for secrets, of layers, of things hidden,
of meaning, and thus, of power.

[Imagine the preparation, one the one hand, which we might make for a
singular listening: we quiet the room, shut all windows, turn off the
lights, ready the stereo just so, perhaps prepare headphones or monitors at
precise angles, then sit back, head inclined, eyes closed, and turn all
attention, silence all thought as far as we can, so that nothing but the
sound of something we will forever hold, so precious, at this once, will
blanket our senses and become a memory itself, a refrain from a singular
moment -- to attempt to open the body to synaesthesia in this moment. What
risk! What meditation!

But on the other hand -- imagine the utter flippancy of listening to a sound
only once, but so casually, say while cooking, or while driving, with noise,
unprepared -- well _this too_ might forever associate a certain motif or
sound with the act, create a link, which even if we don't know it at the
time, will burn the sonic to memory ... thus we have memories of sound,
delicate memories and famous ones: my own, of a CNN newscaster announcing
the 1989 San Francisco earthquake; of the sounds of pleasure from each
individual lover; of the waves from a specific Maui beach -- all sounds
which happen, unexpectedly, yet stay with us, forever .. and again, I
think--how silly we were not to listen all time, so attentively! -- & I
think of what my friend Thomas Phillips has taught me about listening to
all-sound, of learning from microsound to listen to all sounds, the sounds
that filter in, their rhythms. My Montrą©al life will forever be associated
with the traffic on Cą•te-des-Neiges in this respect. ]

Let an experiment flow... too often we constrict ourselves needlessly. Let
life flow, let art flow. Most artists burn their work, their best work, if
not striving to burn all of it. Archives to cinders (archive fever). Kafka
wanted nothing published. Dali destroyed many paintings.

Why are we so obsessed with the archive that we condemn its parameters of
memory and its volatility to equate possession & property?

& certainly, not today, no artist now can have much if any control over
their work once it is disseminated -- "Listen once, then burn: & that is how
the memories began, flooding all ports, overloading the neural net with a
strange property no one could have, and so it was called, Imagination."

tobias c. van Veen

posted. Wed - August 6, 2003 @ 03:52 PM           |