Tuesday, October 2, 2007


This blog grows out of a general re-orientation in the way I'm thinking about my work, one based on an erasure (or rather, a letting go) of divisions between various modes of making (and therefore thinking) - sound, drawing, sculpture, video, performance, collaborations. In equalizing my work in all of these practices, I begin to think of them them as parallel. They may exist separately or in various reconfigured groups. I'm still wondering what an exhibition might require - what might it include or exclude? How much is enough, how much is too much? I am interested in adaptiveness and overlap... Adapting to a particular space (without being entirely site specific, at least in a strict use of the term) through overlapping various modes. In thought, this leads to a place where meaning can drift across media - forming complexes of distinct but complementing bodies of work. Quite practically, this approach grows from the fact that I have been drifting in the studio, moving from drawing to sound to video editing to writing to sitting and staring...

A large part of this recent re-orientation is a (perhaps gratuitous) matter of self-definition. After ten years, I have a growing feeling that I am no longer interested in calling myself an "experimental musician". For one thing, I am no longer interested in making "music". It's more that I want to make sounds about music - which means paradoxically that the work has become more "musical" - in order to comment on music. A subtle but important distinction, at least in terms of the self-perception of why I do what I do.

Also fading in my mind is the term "sound artist". As I have been equalizing practices, I come to all of them as containing or embodying a kind of "listening in". I will try to return to this idea, which grows from thoughts about the mirroring empathy of physiological body sensation. Sound is often said to be the most physical of materials because it operates in close union with touch, moving through and around the body. Recently I have been moving towards a consideration of all forms of apperception as forms of "listening" - which then leads me towards various prepositions: "listening into", "listening with", "listening under", "listening through", etc. etc. This is the engine which drives my current work...

1 comment:

Seth Nehil said...

This comment from Giancarlo Toniutti:

Something I was starting to feel in your work was exactly this shift
you are speaking of, which I dare call post-modern: from music to
sound about music. If I understand it correctly it is not a
commentary about music, as such, but more an approach to sounds which
do have a certain internal reference to music as a system. Culturally
speaking at least.

And it seems that this approach is spreading to the other fields.

In a way I feel a bit disoriented by this, as it seems to be (in my
very personal view) a close step to referentiality. Something closer
to literature than music. Or at least to what I regard as literature
(the verbal connotation of the world through fictional means), as
compared to what I regard as music (the world of organized sounds in

Of course as you correctly say, talking or working about music,
brings in a larger "traditional" aspect of music. That is a larger
array of "conventional" cultural means to generate, and organize

In a sense this step is an interesting one as it detaches from the
very hyper-modernist view of technical means becoming the motor to
the artistic evolution (like in the digital realm of nowadays). And
from a connected technomantic view. Going back to the "conventions",
to the rules (I have just been reading Arnold Schönberg "Harmony
Handbook" and it is very interesting to learn how things evolved and
why, and how much they still need to make those steps even though
artists seem to think they are very much over that... actually only
formally being so), is an interesting way to look a bit more closely
to the roots as points in the past where things went one way instead
that another one (bifurcation points).

The only doubt that I have is if this approach of yours works for a
simple referential system (or self-referential within music), so that
things remain within a closed cycle of self-satisfaction (some form
of comfort), or if it works for an analysis and a consideration of
the dead branches of the bifurcation points.

As you might imagine the latter is more interesting to me.

As a final note about self-definition. I must admit that I feel
unease with any definition per sé. Of course. But exactly because of
that I feel that making music (and saying that I make music) can be
enough. I make research as well. ^_^

take care,