- - -

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Great Other - December Trauma

"That's December at Goldsmiths!" Said Janna. December trauma...

After some discussion in Vocalities about Lacanian mutilation of the amorphous being, the chopping and screwing of life into signifiers - the reducing of the essence of meaning into semiotics, signifiers and codes the question of presence arose. I felt that the constant writhing of masculine and feminine, logos and 'other' around the voice (stemming from the uncertainty - or rather impossibility of true auto-affectation) came from the same place, emerged from the same problem as the Derridian musings and implications of writing (in the broadest sense, language, notation, communication). In short, if there is a gap between my internal meaning, my truth and others and also I cannot confirm, through any means of deduction or auto affectation, my presence, then I cannot truly believe I am anymore present in the world before my eyes than a cheap signifier is present for my neighbour. I felt that the issue of presence is the problem of both the voice and writing - the metaphysical roots of which lead me to Descartes Meditations, the brain in the vat, the snowballing doubts, the malicious daemon - except I am an atheist. Opposite these excavations of presence through Voice and Logos, the experience in auditions yesterday (listening re-listening to our field recordings) compounded the notion of doubt, with each listen, I found myself splicing meaning, warping sonic focus, I was the stagehand pulling foreground to the back to the sonic arena, the cold flattening properties of the mic and speakers were of no match for my splicing, warping and projecting ears. So after thinking around the possibilities of language being un-true (not totally connected to essence of meaning), of the world being mediated by my understanding, my renegade ears muting a plethora of details despite my efforts at objective aural analysis and the doubts of my presence in the world sleeping at the back of my mind I also discovered this week that I have a stigmatism (a stigmata would be more welcome, at least some hint of an ultimate truth- please) and need to wear spectacles. My ears, my eyes, my language and my understanding are all subject to doubt, their foundations are shaky - what other avenues are available to me?

We can go back to Descartes. Cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am. The only truth is that I exist, because I am thinking - I. It doesn't matter if I am beneath multiple dream worlds a la Inception, or if I am plugged into the Matrix, submerged in a metallic vat inside some massive mechanistic alien, sleeping in a sterile amniotic substitute. I think, that's cool, I is.

So I think how can we internalize meanings, in art, in sound, not just excepting that an art piece inevitably lives autonomous inside us but how can we set up an art piece, a mode of communication, to go straight there, or rather to commit to existing first inside - being more endo-psy than the external materials and everything else. I think of subliminal imagery. Cue classic scene from Blatty's/Friedkin's The Exorcist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD0RJ_iuBPo&feature=related (embedding disabled by Satan). Or asemic writing, or going a little more meta ergodic literature, and hypertext fictions. Structuralist film theory too, is the gap we fill as real as any depiction we interpret? Providing a platform for introspective musings, these modes 'give in' to the notion of never knowing - but conversely, by internalising the thoughts, by enjoying the art endo-cerebrally rather than extrospectively we can think the art and is this not as real as any Titian or Debussy or Burial that we cannot ever truly hear or see. Perhaps essentially, these introverted modes of experience are as valid (ontologically) as everything else?

Subliminal cues, tickling our internal switches, happen all the time, our westernised ears are trained to certain modes, these modes come from the logos-philic greeks - who chopped and mutilated sound and noise so it was language rather than soul (for that would be dangerous and tempting). But between these amputations of logos violent splicing art can still flourish.

For example, check out the wonderful Oscar Peterson talking about subliminal notes:

Can art operate, deliberately in the cracks? Can we pre-calibrate something to activate within the eye of the beholder? I conducted an interview some time ago with an american artist, Joseph Nechvatal, he made digital art and was very interested in the idea of a transcendental 'noise' in art and the viewer.

Here is a 'Number Complex' by dubdub (inspired by one of my favourite writers):

"ASCII and feed back filters, made with Pure Data & Pure Data Packet. Inspired by ()Hole Complex Theory taken from the book 'Complicity with Anonymous Materials' by Reza Negarestani.

"()Hole complex attests to the confusion between solid and void. Every activity happening on the solid part increases the degree of convolution and entanglement on the holey side of the composition..." -Reza Negarestani

Can we harness the viewers/listeners nature of apophenia, or conduct and orchestrate their pareidolia coupled with their cultural format? (A great example of this in action in popular culture is Paul is Dead - all growing from Lennon uttering "cranberry sauce" in the closing seconds of their hit 'Strawberry Fields Forever'). E.g. - have you ever heard the 'smoke on the water' riff cut short? The urge to complete the riff is tremendous. Can we orchestrate sonic (rather than musical) cues for political purposes if we know our listener(s) or can control their environment enough?

There's a wonderful article in Cabinet Magazine by George Prochnik - The Orchestra, sort of looking the other way, enquiring about how sirens (from their greek genesis) have been used as warnings, these are still being used politically and have been evolving for ever increasing efficacy. Interesting to think about how some sounds have consistent effects upon humans, guilty, innocent old or young - could these attributes be harnessed for artistic mixed media compositions, to build an experience of loaded juxtapositions and sonic cues (consciously and subliminally)?

No comments:

Post a Comment