Kill Your Timid Notion 08
Exploring the borders between sound and vision.
The fifth edition of our KYTN festival with DCA: about what you see, what you hear and exploring art that combines both of these senses in interesting ways. The basis of each KYTN festival is film; a point of orientation from which we aim to expand outwards to engage with things seen, heard, felt and encountered; using film to explore different cuts along the psycho-sensorial continuum. At one level a kind of synaesthetic sound image, at opposite extremes we present hearing and seeing totally stripped of association.Read
“There are no complex ideas, only long series of simple ideas” – Hollis Frampton
“A thing is a whole in a thing, is it not?” – Carl Andre
We’d like to give you an impression of the thinking behind Kill Your Timid Notion: to let you know that it’s not just thrown together, that it’s about something you may indeed find interesting, that it could be vibrant/ relevant/ exciting to you, that it will be fun to experience/ attend/ tell your mates about afterwards/ maybe even think about in a few weeks time in a quiet moment over a cup of tea; whilst also not putting you off by talking too much. Everything at the festival is in some way about what you see and what you hear and about trying to think of art that combines both of these senses in interesting ways.
If you’re still with us, and don’t mind a bit of maths then great. So let’s just dive straight in then shall we by starting with mathematician Richard Dedekind who in 1872 developed a way of defining real (e.g. 1,2,3,4,5 etc) numbers as a ‘series of cuts of rational (e.g. 1/2) numbers’.
Two good quotes here, flesh things out…
“A number is represented as the partition of a line segment. A real number ‘N’ can then be the highest value to the left of the cut or the lowest value to the right of it. An irrational number can even be assigned to the cut itself, which is empty, in the sense that the cut a pair of scissors makes across a piece of paper is empty, but present and evident. By extension one might say that any single perception is a cut across the spectrum of stimuli available to us. The cut itself then is not perceived; it is an operation, not a quantity.” – Carl Andre (The great American minimalist sculptor and poet: super lucid on ideas of ‘cut’ sculptures and sculpture as ‘place’. You all know his Equivalent VIII: “The Bricks” that caused such a furore at the Tate.)
“The intellect, then, is a purely practical faculty, which has evolved for the purposes of action. What it does is to take the ceaseless, living flow of which the universe is composed and to make cuts across it, inserting artificial stops or gaps in what is really a continuous and indivisible process. The effect of these stops or gaps is to produce the impression of a world of apparently solid objects. These have no existence as separate objects in reality; they are, as it were, the design or pattern which our intellects have impressed on reality to serve our purposes.” – Cyril E M Joad (Popular philosopher and wartime radio personality who, no kidding, lost fame and fortune in the Train Ticket Scandal of 1948!)
Some of you may worry that this sounds very much like phenomenology, which is only one way in which we interact with the world. You’d be right. The world is, after all perceived, conceived and lived. I’m just focusing on the perceived bit as a way of explaining an impetus for KYTN. We can chat about the conceived / lived aspects later in the pub. So anyway, it is the tacit suggestion of KYTN that art, since the Renaissance and right up to today, has been compartmentalised and labours under the hegemony of the visual (Christoph Cox can fill you in on this at his talk on Saturday) ; artforms have been classified and segregated (like Renaissance class based society itself) and then based on the premise that vision is the overriding, primary sense. Don’t you think today this seems very old fashioned, almost quaint? (Think about the way even the basic ideas of physics or mass transportation, sanitation or dentistry have totally changed compared to the developments in some of the arts.)
This visual hegemony need not be the case. The cut of perception that Carl Andre talks about is, above all, a cut across all stimuli. We all know this is true experientially. We perceive the world around us via all our senses in union. Smell recalls memory. Our stereo hearing helps our eyes to re-focus on specific events in our peripheral vision, that vision then provides the context to interpret (or indeed misinterpret) audition. The chemical and mechanical way we register stimuli combine via the intellect to form consciousness. Our lives are conceived, perceived and lived across all our senses, and as such we can expect to be differently rewarded by good art that treats these phenomena together. And it just so happens that one of the only places in modern society that is purpose built for the stimulation of just two of our senses (audition and vision) is the cinema. And actually, reading C E M Joad’s quote above, doesn’t he sound like he’s sketching out a metaphor for photography, and for film: 24 cuts per second producing the verisimilitude of motion, of life.
So film often seems a good place for us to start with KYTN, from which we hope to expand out and to engage with things seen, heard, felt and encountered; to think of them as different cuts along the psycho-sensorial continuum – in the middle we find sound-image together, at either end hearing or seeing stripped of connections totally. We’ve not got round to smell yet, but there’s always next year.
Paul Sharits one of the great experimental, sometimes called structuralist / materialist, filmmakers of the 20th Century.
The reknowned artist Kjell Bjørgeengen works collaboratively with innovative musicians to make complex installations. Channels of flickering light are produced in response to and from sound.
A Feral Choir of people who’ve never improvised with their voices before, conducted by improviser yodeller, composer Phil Minton.
Kjell Björgeengen William Bennett Zoe Irvine
A day of presentations and discussions on the theme of audio visual perception in the context of experimental music, film and art.
Felix Hess is a unique crosser of the boundaries between science and art. He wrote his doctorial thesis on the aerodynamics of the boomerang
Judith Goddard Mike Leggett Mineo Aayamaguchi Peter Donebauer Tony Sinden
Screening of films by Duvet Brothers, David Critchley, David Hall, John Latham, Judith Goddard, Mike Leggett, Tony Sinden
Benedict Drew Sachiko M
Laser beam sine tones used to draw delicate, abstract patterns by vibrating charcoal, placed atop of a great strip of paper running through the gallery; beautiful, fragile sound-created autonomous drawing.
Keith Rowe Malcolm Le Grice
A poetic multi-screen performance about “the inadequacy of the arbitrary passing moment and the impossibility of permanence”. About time and change.
Lee Patterson Luke Fowler
A delicate and detailed walk through the urban and rural landscape around Dundee; a poetic focus on the details found. A performance for 16mm projection and live amplified objects (maybe pine cones, maybe a coke bottle).
A film performance about Guy then, and Guy now, as a metaphor for the passing of time, which of course all film is inherently about.
We asked Christoph to come and give a sort of informal talk, raising some of his ideas about sound and image, and playing/ showing a few examples.
A kind of audience activating, structured film guessing game in the manipulation of time, sound and image. “At 11:15, weiners. At 21:05, pornography. At 23:30, a duet. Watch the Clock.”
Benedict Drew Takehisa Kosugi Various Artists
Everyday objects and materials (rubber bands, paper, a sink, microphones) disabused of their inertia and made to speak for themselves in a kind of focusing in on the tiny, repetitive, almost unobserved (sonic/ visual) potential of everyday things put into motion.
One of the great experimental films. A 60 minute, three part riddle that maybe approximates our intellectual development by moving from imageless words to the recognition of silent images and the learning of simple tasks and finally a serenity and acceptance of death.
Christof Migone Various Artists Hollis Frampton
A programme that looks at how sound and image can be treated as variants in a collection of ordered objects; at how to create meaning from the similar, and to notice difference.
60 minutes of hard ass minimal film, projected onto a weather balloon and accompanied by the inspired poetic rant of a visionary Frenchman.
Charles Curtis Raha Raissnia
A beautifully crisp, slowly evolving duo for cello and projected images. Abstract but still figurative; change only noticeable after the fact.
Noise music for the eyes. A 6 screen 16mm projection performance of intense audio and visual stimulus.
Guy Sherwin gives a kind of annotated, chat through his optical sound films
A parody of a (Manhattan) road movie and meditation on bifurcation, in paths traveled between the seen and the heard; a road trip played over and over from different perspectives.
Can a musician create a sonic photograph; something with a depth of field, where you can hear sounds and their interconnections, much as you see objects and their relationships in a photo? Could a filmmaker use musical concepts to represent landscape?
John Butcher Luis Recoder Paul Sharits Various Artists Toshiya Tsunoda
The pieces in the programme switch between silent film/ imageless sound, but we wanted to have a think about how ideas can take up residency on either side of the sound/ image border, without having to inhabit both at the same time.
A chorister attempting to sing Vivaldi, with live accompaniment, while trampolining for 20 minutes.
Paul Sharits is one of our all time heroes, and one of the great artist filmmakers of the 20th Century.
A Performance exploring the nature of acousmatic listening; sound removed from visual context and understood for it’s own properties.
Like walking through the abstracted amalgamation of 30 or so storms, trays of water shaken by thunder, light bouncing off pools.
Keith Rowe Kjell Björgeengen Philipp Wachsmann
An immersive environment where sound is looped through oscillators, radio, guitar pick-ups and video amps to create dense strobing images and colours