project development studio : update

by admin

I find it really challenging to fit my project in questions like ‘what?’, ‘why?’, ‘for whom?’ and ‘how?’. I think of it as a challenging exercise because of the context and concepts which I often work with. The public, even though plays a big role in this context is not, by any means, the target of my work, or even for whom I design for. All the work that I do sort of feel like silence – and here I face silence in two ways that constantly merge. First I cite what Italo Calvino said about nothingness in his Six Memos for the Next Millennium ‘The poetry of the invisible, the poetry of the infinite unpredictable potentialities, are born from a poet that doesn’t nourish any doubt regarding the physical characters of the world’. Secondly, I’ll quote Susan Sontag in her Aesthetics of Silence: ‘Silence is the furthest extension of that reluctance to communicate, that ambivalence about making contact with the audience which is a leading motif of modern art, with its tireless commitment to the “new” and/or the “esoteric”. Silence is the artist’s ultimate other worldly gesture; by silence, he frees himself from the servile bondage to the audience, antagonist, arbiter, and distorter of his work.’ (By the way, this touches on the conversation we had last class on how Ryoji Ikeda chooses to not discuss his work). Taking into account these two statements, I hereby position myself as someone who articulates those two definitions and will humbly define me, for now, as a poet of silence.

The choice of not communicating, of this state of silence, although may seem so is not a synonym for inertia. It is keeping the animal state, as Deleuze would say, of being in the lookout. A wild detective of the world. Trying to articulate subjects that have this potential of existence, of being, that without the artist’s perception would be unnoticed.

Regarding some of the critiques and feedbacks given during our sessions, I was able to notice that many of the viewers of this work in progress would argue that the concept that touches on the Mongolian history, Genghis Khan and the choice of using Mongolian horsehair should be, in some way, more explicit; something more than the title and description. I have considered those comments carefully, but what I honestly think is that the viewer, in most cases, have an aversion for researching and reading about the work, they usually want the concept expressed in its entirety right there, so they won’t have any homework to do. In Portuguese there’s a saying that I’ll poorly translate and use here – most of the public wants the artist to do all the ‘chewing’, so they can only ‘swallow’ the work. What I believe is that the act of ‘chewing’ should be played by both parts; the artist definitely creates a space in place and time where the process can begin its exchange process, something that Nicolas Bourriaud named an insterstice (the exchange domain), but the public should create a new layer of knowledge and ask themselves what is the right way to “””consume””” a work of art – since it is usually consumed as some other kind of product. The approach needs to be reinvented, and the projection most have of the artist as someone who is paying some kind of debt or working as an employer of the public needs to end. The public in a general pale acts on the artist’s position, but this shouldn’t be done in a commercial-like attitude. The pondering must come from the artist’s process and not by a public demand of will.

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After my brief rant I will try to answer the questions I see myself facing right now:

What?

A musical instrument/installation that is a metaphor of Genghis Khan’s funeral.

Why?

Projects come to me in a rhizomatic way that everytime I fail to define. I honestly don’t know why I do what I do, but I don’t think this is a pejorative thing. I feel like the state of uncertainty and of constant questioning could be the answer to this question.

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After some experiments, I can see clearly now that the project will follow the leads of the first prototype, borrowing some characteristics of the others. That said, I will build an instrument consisting of forty strings being played by motors with wheels covered by horsehair. I still don’t know if i’ll have one motor per string, or if two or more strings will share a motor.  I’ll keep using the guitar pickups and will definitely try to incorporate the interference caused by the placement of the motor on top of the pickup. Another thing that still need to be defined is the input I’ll be using. I thought of having some kind of proximity sensors, or sensors that detect footsteps (or maybe both) in a way that various people could play the installation simultaneously. I enjoy the idea of not giving total control to a single individual.

I have been thinking of creating four modules of ten strings. I could experiment with different strings, each module would have a different instrument string. eg.: violin, cello, viola, upright bass, etc. This would contribute for the creation of a big soundscape. I still need to define the proportions and the form of the modules though.

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Schedule and Milestones

october

07 – 14 |

work on what is missing for the concept.

define input.

sketch and define formal aspects.

generate prototypes / consider different scales.

14 – 21 |

work on a solid prototype for midterm / maybe one module.

november

work on final instrument.

december

09 |

present instrument.

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videos and pictures of the last week’s experiment.

It consists of a metal box with a vibration motor attached to the bottom plate. As a capacitive sensor is touched, the motor increases the amount of vibration, consequently vibrating the metal plate. On the other hand I hold a guitar pickup that reacts to the vibration of the metal plate and the proximity to the motor. By changing the position of the pickup I can vary volume, by changing the amount of vibration I can change the pitch, and if I place the pickup really close to the plate without touching it, the magnet inside the pickup starts to resonate with the plate making it vibrate even though the motor is not vibrating, in that way I create beautiful harmonics!

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