SOUND ART, MUSIC & DIGITAL ART
Texts (composition, projects...)
Texts (composition, projects...)
Text by Bethany Rex
Dislocated Flesh features the work of Julien Ottavi and Jenny Pickett. This new body of work stems from their long term collaboration exploring perception, memory and architecture. Considering physical and virtual space they are intrigued how these phenomenons influence the body, particularly in a post-human construction of society. Aesthetica spoke to Julien and Jenny about their collaborative practice:
A: When did you meet and how long after did you start to work together on your projects?
JP: Julien Ottavi and I met briefly in 2007 at DEAF – the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival. I was collaborating on a tactical media project with the artist Sunshine Frère which involved gifting hacked objects for the purpose of again reconfiguring or recording by peers. One of these objects ended up in the hands of APO33 and Julien Ottavi, we were subsequently invited to participate in ECOS rencontres in Nantes in 2007. Here Julien and I met again and go on like a house on fire. We began to exchange immediately and planning collaborations from early 2008.
JO: We are working all the time together, the ideas and projects that we come across circulate in a fast flow of exchange through practices. Our collaboration started really quickly after we met.
A: Your work explores physical and virtual space in a post-human construction of society. Does this mean that your work focuses on science fiction or the speculation on future developments in science?
JP: There is definitely an element of science fiction and/or technological, scientific futures that arise through the subjects and materials we work with, however as a focus we find the human condition or conditioning vastly complex, historically rich and still relevant to current social and political aesthetics.
JO: The concept of post-human is not only coming from science-fiction, unfortunately we are already post-human. We have somehow re-created a new environment, we are seeing the world through different filters: machines, digital, networked, speed, flying, and so forth. Our bodies have mutated through pollution, ready-made foods, GMO, preservatives, medication, prosthesis, machine parts that let us live longer and much more. The virtual space is already a place that has its own life, where odes, worms, viruses and other avatars “live”. Our work questions the “reality” that surrounds us, our future is embedded in the questions we asses in our artistic work.
A: What was the inspiration between Possession, a suspended human scale cocoon-like sound sculpture?
JO: This work has multiple roots but predominantly conjures the sense of an “in between” state of being. The cocoon is a form potentially containing all the others forms, it’s a representation of what is coming, it’s a gate between our past and our future through an instant (the flash), it is also a digestive system that transform one thing into another state. Possession is this state of becoming that goes beyond our inherent condition.
JP: The form, materials, sound and flashes of Possession could be read on a number of different ways and produce various narratives from protection, transformation, desire, aspirations and emergence. Our inspiration comes from a marriage of retinal traces, intestinal echoes and nature as we try to uncover or discover a transition, prolong an instant or discharge a reflection.
A: What experience do you hope this will create for the viewer?
JO: In Possession, there is an intense flash that almost blinds the viewer so quickly that he doesn’t know what happening, he is attracted and is slightly afraid. The cocoon represents a hidden side of our psychology. It is also a beautiful sculpture hanging in the gallery, as mystery that suddenly hatched.
JP: Possession is a large looming and tactile object in the Tenderpixel Gallery’s modest space. The sound is quiet yet intense and may cause some people to feel uncomfortable in the space, but it can also draw the viewer in to listen more closely. Then there is the light and the overall experience is perhaps perplexing but we would hope for visitors to spend a little time to contemplate this work, its ideas and meanings.
A: Moving on to the other work in the exhibition. Could you talk us through this?
JO: Radotage is a piece that brings the obsession of being in a loop, all those wigs turning endlessly, scratching the surface of a cymbal. It creates a space for listening that is both minimalist sound and repetitive visually creating a worrying strangeness.
JP: Radotage has a haunting appeal to it both sonically and visually. The piece is a reflection on aging, narrative memory and entrenched loops. Loosely translated Radotage means drivel. On another level Radotage plays with ideas of composing with these repetitive behaviours, live sampling and importantly the disturbances and difference.
A: What exhibitions are you looking forward to seeing in the coming months?
JP: I would like to catch the Anselm Kiefer show at White Cube (9 December 2011 – 26 February 2012) and Elsa Tomkowiak at Le FRAC (Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain des Pays de la Loire) in Nantes (19 November 2011 – 22 January 2012). JO: For me it’s Memories of The Future, the Olbricht Collection (22 October 2011 – 15 January 2012) at La Maison Rouge, Paris.
A: Finally, what projects can we look forward to from you in the future?
JO: For the coming year, we are preparing a couple of projects, residencies for the spring but nothing is official for the moment. We are also working with videos/film and one of our films will be shown in March 2012 at Experimental Intermedia in New York City. In addition we have lots of performances coming up: Subtecture, Great Steaming Orchestra, Block2030, Apo33, amongst others.
JP: In addition to our personal practice we are working on different projects with our Association APO33: Open Sound Group is a European sound art network with artist run organisations from seven countries: Modus (UK), Live!iXem (Italy), Granular (Portugal), Audiolab Arteleku (Spain), Piksel (Norway), NK (Germany) and APO33 (France). We will also be working with Upstage, a virtual stage (online) along with other European partners we are collaborating on realising a new updated version of this platform which has been producing an annual online festival since 2007 for Live Networked Performances.
Dislocated Flesh by Julien Ottavi and Jenny Pickett, 02/12/2011 – 22/12/2011, Tenderpixel Gallery, 10 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4HE. www.tenderpixel.com
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Caption: Courtesy the artist
Posted on 20 December 2011
Piotr Tkacz / 10 stycznia 2013 / wywiady
Piotr Tkacz: How have you began making music and what made you interested in music in the first place?
Julien Ottavi: I began making music with radio works and drumming.
I was interested in music as a fan when I was doing a radio show and a fanzine in the early nineties. My interest in music was at the beginning, when I was 15 years old, only a matter of feelings and nothing was really pre-organized.
Could you tell us a little bit about your education and how it influenced your artistic practice?
I received a MA in art, specialization in sound, composition and computer music from ERBAN (Nantes) in 2002. I had training in real-time interaction and psycho-acoustics at IRCAM in 2001. Between 1998 and 2001 I studied musique concrète under Yann Le Ru tutelage also at ERBAN. In 2000 I received DNAP (which equals BA in art) at the same school. Earlier, in 1996, I obtained economy & social sciences baccalaureate (A level). I began with drums and percussion lessons in Tours in 1995.
Of course, drumming classes, musique concrète composition and art school had a huge influence on my artistic practice. Especially in art school I explored some of the musical and visual practices, mainly in terms of critical feedback, as I was already in a self-learning process. I was far beyond my tutors in terms of music, sound art, sound poetry, types of knowledge and practices… they used to ask me to teach the others about it.
You continue with teaching or spreading the knowledge in general. You organize a lot of events, workshops and so on. Do you find those activities important? And if so – why, what are the benefits and what problems do you have to face while doing it?
For the last 10 years I organized and suggested doing many workshops, teachings, shared various kinds of knowledge about art, technologies via free software, open hardware, all sorts of DIY electronics, urban intervention and so on. Those actions are very important for me first as a self-learner still in process of learning from the others. Furthermore it is valuable for the community in order to spread ideas and share contents. But it is also very efficient way to exchange with other artists and the public the relations between art and technologies. Art processes can’t hide anymore in their lovely, protected tower. They needs to confront themselves with our modern realities. The benefits are numerous, such as discovering new things, meeting new people, exchanging on different subjects, freeing myself and my work from pre-conceived ideas and pre-made and controlled technologies. The problems that I can face are frustrated people who will abuse the trust implied by the relations of sharing your knowledge. But those people would be frustrated anywhere anytime with any other human activity. Besides, there are isolated difficulties. The real problem we could face is violence imposed upon us by industrial-militaro-politician to consume certain goods, foods, to follow certain rules or education that fits minority views. In these everyday actions that I organize with others, I always face the limits of the norm established by this machine of power and therefore the consequences have impact on people behavior, and enclosed relations to each others. A lot of work needs to be done to open people minds and change our habits that we learned almost from the day we were born!
What’s the story of Formanex, is this project still active?
Formanex is an electronic music ensemble, started in 1998, they play mainly around graphical score or new music compositions. They have played Treatise of Cornelius Cardew for 10 years, introduced by Keith Rowe.
Formanex came back to its original line up after we invited other musicians such as Christophe Havard, Laurent Dailleau to be part of the ensemble. So it’s now Anthony Taillard, Emmanuel Leduc and me.
Formanex could be considered as a trio but possibly as a larger ensemble, depending on the score or the composition we have to play.
We are actually very active as we had a couple of concerts and releases within last 2-3 years. We also asked some composers to write scores, pieces for us, such as Kasper Toeplitz, Keith Rowe, Seth Cluett and Phill Niblock. We are preparing a release of those new works.
A few years ago you began a new project, The Noiser. How does it differ from your previous works? In general, do you find a notion of progress useful when describing artistic activities – is it important for you to develop and reach new grounds?
I had created a lot of “aka” and other names in my work, this is part of my thinking and work around the notion of authorship and collective. The Noiser is an alter-ego that embrace some of my project especially those that are in relation with some others one-man-band or alter-ego name such as KKNULL, Z’EV and so on. I don’t think this work is so different from previous work. Maybe it is a question of branding as Z’EV but for me it’s more like a game with authorship and relation with the concept of individualization in relation to the idea of group, collective and our effort to identify and understand everything that is not attached to individual. This way of dealing with names is also to change somehow my point of view from my own self. In a long run it will be interesting to have a name per project or even per concert or release… to be continued.
What are the limitations of electronic music, especially the kind pursued by you, and what are the possibilities of overcoming them?
In itself electronic music doesn’t have much limitations as other type of music or human activities. I wrote an article many years ago about this subject, on this idea that electronic music doesn’t really mean anything and that the question was more about the use of the electronics in music. We are doing music with electronics instruments instead of classical instruments, the shift was conceptualized strongly by the Futurists and developed by numerous musicians and composers for the last 100 years. At some point in my work and musical research I could say that the limitations of the use of electronics in my music, more precisely or more directly, the use of computers would have been the lost of the body in the relations of the musical action. But that’s not true as I use voice, shout, sound poetry, percussions and different ways to play with computers that demand a high level of body activities. I think we should see the electronics and computer as what it is, an extension of our body and environment, even though it is taking more and more space in our everyday life activities against some other possibilities. In our case, overcoming a potential limitations will be to get rid of any technologies as such, from classical instruments (piano is a very advanced technology that requires a lot knowledge and care) to find the direct path to empowerment of the people through music.
Thanks to Maciej Janasik for his help.
1. How did the idea of Apo33? A collective, linked to a militant artistic context, that guides his work in new media, today is no longer an unusual fact but perhaps when you started your path it was unusual at all.
Apo33 started in 1996, the original idea was to bring experimental and noise music, performance…all those genres that were not covered by the mass media to be shown in Nantes – France. We evolved around 2000 towards the production, research and promotion of our own art works. Indeed when we started to cross art, technologies, philosophy, theory, ecology, it was totally fresh in term of interdisciplinary organizations. We were collaborating quite a lot with militant organizations mixed alternative media and alter-politics and others in the art context (art collective), some others in Free software and new technologies, copyleft and finally some others in the theory and philosophy but not so much of those organization which were cross-mixing all that together in a non-hierarchical way. Today those practices are more spread and we could find around the global, more organizations like Apo33 and we are glad of it, because it is important that those modes of organization multiply like virus, and roots some new seeds in people every day's life experience.
Especially, I find interesting the intention of linking technological and socio-economic changes of “'Information Communication Economy” to concepts of production, consumption and trade of goods and services without the direct or obvious involvement of money, thinking about what are called “economic non-monetary activities”, hard to be measured by usual monetary indicators, but that can perhaps be best explained by category of aesthetics of digital media - network, flow etc. - (Castells, 2006)
Well this was not the first link, but it become important at some point because we wanted to survive from our art without having to sell our souls for it. We wanted and still want to be able to be as coherent to our desires as possible. Perhaps if I understand well your question you are making reference to the new economical alternative based on donation developed by the free software movement. You produce art, software, knowledge, tools… that you share with your community, you are not selling goods to make profit, if you sell something it will be related to services, process of production, help…etc. The copyleft movement brings new paradigm of economical exchange based on social relation and change in principal “principe” compared to capitalism which objectives are exploitation of the workers, and profit from any possible goods, even with the money itself (as virtual object), mass-productions and exhaustion of nature (land, resources, animal…etc) and human activities (art, agriculture, energies, science, housing…etc).
For a few years, free software has been engaged in network practice. Through these first networks, source code has been able to circulate, it has been shared, modified, copied. GNU/LINUX first met recognition when it engaged in network technology. Free software could only be developed out of collaborative work, multi-authored projects, programming, corrections, beta-tests… From the outset the ‘free’ project participated in the Internet project and the practice of net-working. Without free sofware and the options of out-of-copyright licences, the notion of digital networks would have found itself limited to paying sites, or sites controlled by specialised companies. Whilst these companies are visibly present in the current system, they have to compete with more open techniques in addition to a mass of products stemming from the free movement, such as; software, texts, ideas, documentation, distribution, community, mutual aid, forums, modes of sharing etc. Many forms of creation implicating contemporary notions of networks, sharing and collaboration have been developed in and outside of the Internet. They intuitively borrowed concepts from the net and the digital, and from the resulting multiplication of forms and layers, the deregulation of time (stretched), the new ubiquity of our way of life. When the author is multiplied tenfold, thousandfold, when the machine (prothesis of the human) becomes creator, autonomous and almost unbound: we could see a new society being born where new visions mingle and get bruised, pile up and explode, new hopes are arise leading to mutations. Machinic mutations lead to chaos, the unknown, and unexpected behaviour. We are now running into darkness with fear as our only light, maybe toward our termination, like Icarus aiming for the sun, trying to disappear into the sun. However, what has this got to do with artistic practices? Maybe these practices only mirror our scopes, desires, phantasms? Maybe desire is necessary for our transformation, and we need to create, with machines, through networks. to participate collectively in an inconmmensurable and endless work of art, with networks acting as multipliers in a myriad of permutations.
2. As a collective entity are included in European networks or other trans-national production or distribution system? Given the multitude and diversity of contributions that are in this space, the curiosity arises from the possibility of how can you convey them in a systematic and extensive way.
You might refer to the different european network we are part of like Opensound :
“Listening, unlike reading for example, is seldom taught and often an unconscious activity. Europe boasts a long history of auditory culture, yet well developed as they are, practices centered on listening remain obscure to many.
Open sound focuses upon modes of aural perception and communications needed to provide high quality, low cost, non-formal educational opportunities to the broadest range of potential users.
Aims: Educate adults through the medium of sound. Deliver an increased knowledge of new technologies. Improve our learners' knowledge and competences. Exchange knowledge, best working practices, with the project partners’ staff and learners. Support sustainable economic development within the advanced knowledge societies.
Each partner has a proven track record in delivering innovative and socially engaged sound projects to a broad range of users. The host organisation will produce the content and structure of each five days workshop cycles with their staff and learners based on existing activities.
From 2011 to 2013, a mobile cycle of workshops will be organized across Europe, with each organization hosting one of these workshops (Germany, Spain, UK, Italy, Norway, Portugal and France). This cycle will focus on partners expertise in urban sound art, communication technologies, social interaction, pedagogical management and cross disciplinary discussions. Workshops will be targeted at staff and learners of all partner organizations.
Open Sound is an opportunity for each partner to build new strategies for its learning communities and in a broader sense help these emerging non-formal learning practices to gain recognition.
Historically speaking, sound art, and auditory culture more generally, has been typified by interdisciplinary and experimental practices. While its long history is well established in many European countries, with countless exhibitions, seminars, conferences, radio broadcasts, album releases and workshops occurring over the last 40 years, the practice of listening remains obscure to many. Listening, unlike reading for example, is seldom taught and is often an unconscious activity. Compare the amount of time you spent being taught to read, write and understand mathematics to the time you have spent learning how to hear, to listen, or to speak. Open Sound focuses upon these later modes of perception and communication which we treat as complementary to the former, more usual learning activities.
Sound art also involves an 'expanded' understanding of what 'art' involves. Since the forward-looking experiments of the 1960's and 1970's notions of art have progressed rapidly, and many of the interests of contemporary sound artists are informed by this fertile history. Such is the rapid rate of change within contemporary art however, that only those with access to higher education have the opportunity of being exposed to the ideas embodied by much sound art. The Open Sound Project is needed to provide high quality, low cost, non-formal educational opportunities to the broadest range of potential users.
Open Sound intends to share more broadly these enhanced conceptions of art-making, listening and being. Through our series of workshops, residencies, exhibitions and concerts, we will develop new audiences for contemporary sound work. In a noise-saturated Europe, our focus upon societal listening will bring to bear a softer approaches to otherness, whereby local, regional and international difference may be constructively expressed and negotiated through an effort to hear each other and to respect our relative identities within the ever-changing continental soundscape.
A key motivation for this project is the consolidation and expansion of pre-existing relationships (informal networks of practitioners, administrators, educators and learner). We are keen to capture the knowledge embodied in our respective work and to share this with a broader range of users. Documentation, archivisation and distribution of learning outcomes is of paramount importance in achieving these goals, and several of the partners have a great deal of experience in this.
We further note that specific regional and national contexts generate particular organisational, aesthetic and discursive realities. Such idiosyncrasies are often bounded by language and remain inaccessible to non-native speakers. Hence, a key strand in our collaboration exists around the exciting possibility of translation of country-bounded texts and practices, which at the current time remain closed-off to foreigners. Such exchange will be of great benefit to the European project and will provide our users with an unprecedented knowledge resource informed by a pan-European awareness. We should also note, that in a post-project scenario, we are also keen to learn from those in an expanded Europe. As the European project develops, and become increasingly inclusive of 'non-Western' cultures, so the potential for our own understanding of sound and listening is greatly enhanced. Continuing the point above, culture-specific approaches to sound-making can be explored and articulated through our proposed activities of translation and collaboration.
European cooperation is needed to support our research, mapping and developing of new strategies in the diverse and emergent field of Sound Art and to help these emerging non-formal learning practices to acheive greater visability.”
By OpenSound - 2011
3. What is your idea on current scene of glitch music? As meaning that often this particular type of expression is based on aesthetics of error, which clearly has post-structural matrix and has its conceptual orientation in the slogan of Deleuze and Guattari: “Desiring machines work jamming.” It 's also a way to express your political approach?
Glitch music is a sub-genre of noise and computer music, we had, in the mid-2000, few artists that were apparently doing this type of music, I am not even sure they agree with the genre itself.
It is interesting to look at the question of the error in art in general from improv music to experimental cinema. The glitch, the digital error, the bug and the dirtiness are very important for new modes of expression to emerge in the sense that it open new ways to play with the medium or the tools artist use. In the case of the computer, everyone is confronted to its own limit, it is a technological that is far from being perfect and for the moment it just multiply without return, ending up in the junkyard of india, africa or china, with poor people and children being intoxicated by recycling the dangerous components that composed those tools. Not only we should think in a different way than pure music or pure digitalized art but we should also take in account the recycling aspect of it. Gnu/Linux and the new practices of recycling machine for new uses should be able to inspire the artist in their music, in their art production.
4. What in your opinion the most significant artists of the sound landscape? this segment of art this is still not very decipherable to art users, so, I'd ask you another thing: what are characteristics, both technical and aesthetic, that you think should have a good job today? And, according to this, there is some work, or series of works, that you are particularly proud of having produced or distributed? I realize that this question can be completely rejected by you, given the setting “reductionist” that I think you give to an artwork, shifting the focus of the process (in this we support the theories of Arthur Danto and Manuel Castells) from the finished product of a single creator to the benefit stream, genesis of continuous process of widespread creativity.
There is a lot of interesting artists out there. It is difficult for me to draw you a list without forgetting some good one. I'd rather not be tempted by the exercise. I suppose I could propose some nice website / project that actually host a lot of nice artists in those field : http://ubu.com – http://archive.org and of course you could go and check our labels : NoizMutation & Fibrr records : http://www.apo33.org/fibrr
Indeed it is not very know from the general mass public audience. Anything could be interesting : why should we limit ourself to tools or aesthetics? As Duchamp suggested artist should be able to do anything he like, imagine to do. We develop and produce a lot of work that I am proud of :
Le poulpe (the octopus) is an analogical and digital organism living in a network. Each branch constitutes a sonic installation which, out of a specific location, collects its own locally generated sound effects, transforms them via a digital automaton into a new arrangement of sounds. The outcome is then broadcast locally, through loud speakers, and on the Net, through streaming. Le Poulpe belongs in the city, where people live and make noise. It gives a virtual body to this city, expressing through sounds its invisible mouvements and its continuous flows. Over the Net, its tentacles collect and connect continuous sonic fluxes from ever changing contexts, to infiltrate and modify another environment.
BOT/BioBOTs make up a virtual community, in the continuation of the ‘POULPE’ project, with a view to assemble a collection of entities in one location in order to diffuse their production to many more places. They stand for a new approach to digital phenomena : networks, multi motionless geolocation, interconnection of on-line produced or processed data, automation in the treatment of reality and, especially in the case of BOTs, sites for experiments, always accessible, and from anywhere.
« A machine always depends on external elements in order to keep existing. Not only does it act as complement to the man who builds, activates or destroys it, but it asserts its difference from other machines – real or virtual, non-human, a proto-subjective diagramme. » (Guattari)
There is a machinic side to BOT, a call for inter-dependance, for relations and discussions between heterogenous elements, that has as much to do with the way reality is split and reproduces itself (as in a utopian language of an electronic diktat), as with the way we confront the otherness, through our body, our actions, our activity and our environment (urban or « natural »). BOTs must be seen as long term constructions of a living and spreading machine network ; BOTs spread from city to city, from countryside to mountains, they invade our living spaces, cupboards, offices, balconies…. Everybody can eventually participate in a BOT, create one and connect it to the community at large, and thus fertilize it, feed it, accompany its development, teach it, make it more autonomous, more or less ‘social’, possibly even ‘humanise’ it ?
(HAKART) random evolution & aperiodic bifurcation
Chaotic systems & indeterminacy. Chaoslab creates sensitive dependence on initial conditions, devices and inputs by having evolution through phase space (installation/workshop within a place) that appears to be quite random. Our Chaotic models seem to be deployed to ascertain various kinds of activities related to bifurcation points (uncontrolled steps of evolution within the workshop), period doubling sequences (or should we said multiple sequences), the onset of chaotic dynamics proposed by the participants, the strange attractors between sources, filters, amplifications, connections and other denizens of the chaos zoo of hacked behaviors. -The Grand Computer Orchestra (GOO)
This project came out of the APO33 collective research programme and first was presented on Friday 15th November 2002 at Nantes Museum of Fine Arts. 6 artists work together on the public presentation of this ‘orchestra’, analysing it from every possible angle, unravelling, unbuckling, skinning it until they discover the cracks that will lead them to new modes of creation. The project rests on the contradiction between two systems : the orchestra and the computer, forcibly linked. The artists do not perform as players of the orchestra, but as actors of an experimental sound event. The project is not experimental because its object is experimental music; it is experimental because it appears incoherent and improbable, because it involves two conflicting choices and because we cannot guess what will emerge as a result. One possible result being of camouflage, of concealment – accepting to amalgamate the cluster of conventions linked to each of these systems (the artists as members of a group using their computers as musical instruments) i.e. becoming a pantomime of an orchestra. Another being of a surprise attack at the core of these systems (orchestra and computers) which would then interrogate each other.
Formanex is an electronic music ensemble, started in 1998, they play mainly around graphical score or new music composition.
they played The Treatise de Cornelius Cardew for 10 years introduced by Keith Rowe.
Formanex came back to their original line up after their invite other musicians such as Christophe Havard, Laurent Dailleau to be part of the ensemble.
Formanex could be considered as a trio but possibly as larger ensemble depending the score or the composition they have to play.
-Dream Sweepers w/ Jenny Pickett
Dream Sweepers is a sound sculpture using speech (narration) and sound related to concepts of memory and experience. The audio souvenirs, perceived ambiances and the received sonic life of the city delivers its unconscious impressions / expressions and simultaneously transmits those via remote telephonic narratives and resounding cut ups echoing across different cityscapes (London, Marseille, Nantes, Amiens…etc).
The Installation takes the form of Graphical Score – structured and unstructured elements refer to the possibility of alternative audio compositions of the inter-city soundscapes – Only those components needed for the audio inputs and outputs are used in this work.
There is so many more, it is difficult to put them all.
5. Often the training, even from a cultural perspective, of those involved in this type of disciplines from a certain point of view still pioneering is, necessarily, heterogeneous: often in between artistic and musical education, or completely turn elsewhere, but what is your world belong?
You probably mean my background I suppose.
Over many years I developed an artistic research practice based on new forms of musical writings using computers, audio and networks. As a consequence of musical interpretation of Graphical scores such as Cornelius Cardew’s “Treatise”, Earle Brown’s “December” and John Cage’s ‘“Cartridge music” I have focused my work on the idea of programmatic composition, researching in the field of coding as a score or a merger of score, instrument and direction. Therefore, when I write a piece of code or a “patch” (I use puredata as my main coding platform) with an emphasis on specific ideas like “frequencies studies” or “white noise music”, then the program moves the interpretation towards an advanced area whereof the musician follows undetermined paths - the Graphical score in which his interpretation is strongly related to the composition’s openness.
The computer became, for me, a musical realm where musicians, interpretors, composers, programmers and so on will merge with new tools where unimagined musical possibles occurs . More than an instrument, the computer comprises a whole new understanding of musical composition. I can build my instrument and write a composition together whilst I interpret and play the music itself to an audience and simultaneously record and distribute the results across the globe. I can control the entire chain of artistic production, from its writing/conception until its production/distribution.
Laptops and other mobile technologies, such as digital recorder, bring another level towards these musical practices, we are no longer restrained by our spatial positioning, in that the studio space, as the musician/composer’s cavern/refuge can become as nomadic as is necessary for its user to be. We can write/compose/play/distribute music almost where ever and when ever we want. For me, those realities have changed my musical practice, they have created greater freedom of movement concerning time-space restrictions or geographical limitations within the framework of my musical production.
Around the same time as greater mobility through the computer/laptop changed utterly my relation to the studio, the World Wide Web arrived and with it another dimension of my musical practice. I am now able to play remotely with other musicians/composers in concert venues without having to physically be in the space. This has led to my producing and participating in to online musical festival or remote concerts collaborating with different musicians where the audience, like the musicians, are no longer in a dedicated space, but instead are everywhere, globally scattered and experiencing these productions at the same time. Using streaming technologies we can transfer very high quality sound over the internet - ultimately this means I am able to play with the musicians I wanted to play with without having to plan a journey, flights, visa’s etc…to another part of the world in order to explore these new practices and musical collaborations, which has also served to reinforced the community and opened the boarders for musicians in countries like south America, Africa, Asia who where not distributed or known in the western musical “CD” production and distribution networks.
I also started to set up my own servers to experiment with online musical studios, where I recorded an entire album collaboratively with another musician in New York City without ever being in the same country during this work. Using the traditional function of the studio (post-production), recording audio, multichannel mixing etc… with this online platform, we worked during one month on few hours of recent recordings and completed new compositions for a 45 minutes CD.
My work is preoccupied with one dream, being able to listen to the music I have in my head, paradoxically without making it. This stems from the idea that first and foremost I am a listener and the musician/composer is born out of that. When I play/create music, I like to be able listen to it at the same time as the audience receives it, rather than focusing on the compositional processes itself. Recording was not enough, since its organic evolution is stifled. I wanted to hear a music with uncontrollable/unpredictable components, with external sound sources (external from the computer synthesis, algorithm or logic), therefore I decided to create an automated composer, taking a lead from the point where Music is, as John Cage proposed; a series of events within a time line, Music is the writing of time, Music is time… This automaton system should be able to mix sound through a system of samplers, volume controls and effects managed by different clocks performing processes through randomized values, including unknown reactions from live data controls such as input fundamentals, frequency and envelopes. This music can be created from anywhere, catching sound in the street, in the field, in a building, mixing it, transforming it and sending it via the internet, through streaming in real-time to any listener in cyberspace. To date I have been able to listen my “own” music from home without doing it and am able to listen subtle transformation of sound and unexpected movement through changes within the sound source in relation to the activities happening in those streets/buildings/fields of audio capture.
“[…]a community creates specific potential uses of technology. The ‘user’ of technology, therefore, is not an individual person but a member of a community with a practice that uses the technology in question. The individual user is engaged in the practices of the community and make senses of technology in the context of theses practices, new ways of doing things create new interpretations of the world. If innovation is technological, technology becomes integrated in social practice in new ways, and acquires new meaning.” Ilka Tuomi Networks of Innovation, Change and Meaning in the Age of the Internet (Oxford 2002)
How can we build new spaces for musicians composers and programmers that will allow the possibility of building unimagined / unpredefined musical compositions, performances and installations. Including but not limited to evolving automaton systems but with the participation of hundreds of artists playing live, bringing recorded sound, writing pieces of code whilst the audience and participant listen or perform with these objects elsewhere, in real time? How can we conceive a platform that will host these objectives? How will the use of such a platform be defined? How can those musicians, composers and programmers extend their realm of practice using these forms of collaboration and collective intelligence? What impact might this have on the technology and particularly user content platforms? How will these platforms reinforce and open up these communities? What new forms of writing can emerged from these experimental musical and programming practice?
Il n’y a pas de hasard, seulement des évidences. Parmi celles-ci, l’évidence nantaise.
APO 33 nous chatouillait l’oreille depuis un moment. Le temps est venu de parler de ce lieu labo/ performance/ partage/ réflexion. Mené et en grande partie incarné par Julien Ottavi, aka The Noiser, Apo33 représente une certaine radicalité sonore. Radicalité formelle et radicalité d’esprit. Pour la première, on vous engage à vous plonger dans les créations de Julien Ottavi, travail plastique pour les oreilles, création d’un univers rugueux, abstrait, où compte souvent le temps long. Pour la seconde, on discute ce soir avec lui du libre partage et de la libre circulation de l’œuvre. La réflexion est ancienne, se traduit par certains mots (copyleft, licence creative commons…), mais pose constamment la question de l’artiste et de son œuvre (sonore, en l’occurrence) dans un monde de plus en plus enclin aux frontières et aux péages.