[-empyre-] fragile identities / taboo of destroying property

Baruch Gottlieb bg at transmediale.de
Sat Feb 18 11:36:26 EST 2012


Dear all, 
still lurking while trying to get over jetlag 9 times zones from last week's entries.
regarding the women's noise theme, I am surprised nobody has mentioned Yoko Ono..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPA8TGNjqjs
(it is not a good video for my point in that it doesn't focus on Yoko, but perhaps is interesting in the way the woman's noise is contextualised/framed in the masculine blues...)
regarding destroying property... I think you really have to be delusional at this point to think that destroying globalized industry-produced state-owned PA speakers in a publicly funded cultural institution during a PhD symposium is somehow a significant or effective challenge to patriarchy... or any offending notion of order. 

sorry for the terseness, must be the jet fuel I've been sniffing... just trying to clear the air a bit.

best

Baruch






On Feb 18, 2012, at 4:36 AM, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> dear soft_skinned listeners:
> 
> 
> Almost caught up now with the present, and the turns that the debates has taken since Marie entered, 
> and thanks to those many points raised, Marie, it gives good food for thought. 
> 
> As I was reading you on female voice and interfering women/noise, I immediately made some connection to concerts I had experienced a while back (Diamanda Galas, and also at that very same time reading Adèle Olivia Gladwell on "Catamania" (The Dissonance of Female Pleasure and Dissent.  London: Creation Books, 1995), and my attempts then to look at voice studies or discussions on voice and noise, anarchy and disruption. Surprisingly often the discursive ground seemed predictable (hysteria & excess & rupture, positively validated) or at least it appeared to move into feminist/lesbian terrain that had been carefully laid out by that generation of feminist theorists and activists in the 70s and 80s, and thus perhaps there was a noise debate that took place in feminist performance studies, later followed by a noise discussion within the sonic arts field revitalized by the Japanese and the larger international cracked media and electronia scene.  The academy is on to it, scholars are very keen on noise now, e.g.  Verstraete, Pieter, The Frequency of Imagination: Auditory Distress and Aurality in Contemporary Music Theatre, Theater Instituut Nederland, 2008; Birdsall, Carolyne and Enns, Anthony, eds.  Sonic Mediations: Body, Sound, Technology, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008. Kendrick, Lynne  and Roesner, David, eds., Theater Noise. The Sound of Performance, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011; Rodgers, Tara, Pink Noises: Women and Electronic Music & Sound,  Durham: Duke UP, 2010, and now Schwartz, Hillel  Making Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang & Beyond,  New York: Zone Books, 2012. 
> 
> I liked much the story you told us of your performance at Transmediale, and the small misunderstanding with the sound-controller/technician, what followed in your posts were many oddly interesting, captivating observations. 
> 
> A few from my own angle, perhaps going backwards again, if permitted. In winter times i tend to like glancing backwards. 
> 
> 
> In response to Marie, Magnus mentions that he felt "lucky to participate in a performance 'going fragile', involving Mattin and other contributors to Noise and Capitalism. This was part of Arika's 'Kill Your Timid Notion' festival in Dundee in February 2010. It seemed as if people ('audience') couldn't bear the silence and the absolutely (radically) open structure of this collaboration. The performace and the notion of 'going fragile' made a real impression on me."  This was picked up by others, but i am not so sure (Cage's 4':33"  and his ideas on silence go back to the 50s) what surprised audiences, what made anything un-bearable, or why an open structure (an indeterminate structure?) would be considered radical?
> 
> Simon argues that we live in a "profoundly different world to the 70's and 80's, in regard to media. In the past few years we have entered a post-convergence techno-culture." 
> I am not sure all that much has changed in regard to the topics debated in the last few days by Marie and others here; in regard to noise, silence, rupture, open structures, 'preparing for the unprepared,' limitations of equipment, operators, etc, of course it appears that concerns still revolve around technical matters (medium specificity -  performing on an oboe is something we tend to understand, and bringing an oboe to a noise concert is also something we understand)  and as well social matters, and these were never that far apart, as medium specificity is functioning also through its social and cultural contexts and receptions. 
> 
>>> 
> ...concept of remediation is as relevant to understanding what is happening to our technologies and epistemologies as is Foucault's of the dispositif and Latour's ideas on socio-technical systems. What are not relevant are the arguments concerning media specificity that dominated the critical discourses of media culture during the 70's and 80's>>
> 
> 
> still, these questions raised over the past few days (see Marie below) are intriguing, also as they touch on personal stories and histories,  and on the previous debate on revolutions and incompatibilities as well. In Rosa Luxembourg's letters we read her reflections on the relationship between her political concept of spontaneity and the unknownness of revolutionary life, and also the unknownness and intimacy of personal life. 
> Last night the BB1 showed a dreary docudrama called "Battle in Seattle" which made me wonder, how  -  given our discussion on self-intoxication and looking/back at re-mediations of Red Army Faction/Baader-Meinhof armed struggle during the 1970s – such a soap can me made and whether that is unavoidable, a "drama set during the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle which follows the riots that swept through the streets during the five-day conference; Charlize Theron stars" (press release), before or while it may also be an academic research subject for a practice-based Phd? 
> 
> the taboo of destroying property?  loudspeakers?
> 
> 
> and what then is left of revolutionaries like Luxembourg or Meinhof?   Were these revolutionary women noise in the system (the state and its political/industrial/military complex) and were they also noise within the revolutionary process (and the communist party and RA) itself?
> 
> 
> When you write of sounds of neighbours coming through the prison walls, i am haunted by my memories of 1977 and what was then refered to as "Germany in Autumn,"  when we 'd get stopped and examined by state police nearly every day as they suspected students to be involved in or aligned with armed struggle against the State. 
> 
> Noise  has a capacity to function more 'positively,' for sure.
> 
> 
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
> 
> - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> 
> Marie schreibt:
>>> 
> I'm interested in thinking of noise/noise music not simply as non-representational but as something that actively troubles or confuses representation; it doesn't simply step outside but, rather, muddles the wires so to speak. So, for example, with Diamanda Galas, what can be so unsettling is not her vocalisation of 'pure noise', the abandonment of language to noise but the 'cracking open' of language; its morphed into something vaguely familiar but unrecognisable. In my own stuff, i'm really interested at exploring notions of interruption rather than excess (although I appreciate thats a false binary...). I spent a while doing the 'full with noise' strategy - playing all sounds, all at once, loudly. But where do you go once you've done that, when you've reached (what you hear as) the limit? While that can be fun, and its got its place, I currently prefer juxtaposing and mixing what you could call harsh noise, or moments full with noise, with other musical styles, forms and ways of doing things. Or I guess what you can call other types of noise not just the sounds or practices that we expect to hear as noise. So i'll play weird nursery rhyme songs about how being a unicorn would be cool, because it would mean that I fall over less, with a background of bleeps and clicks, and then move to a broken cassette player improvisation and then to 30 seconds of all out noise. Because when you're (hypothetically) playing with 3 other guys at a noise gig, doing the harsh noise thing, then, actually, standing up and singing about unicorns with the audience wondering whats just happened, is possibly a way of bringing back the noise to a noise gig. I'm also an oboist (and learnt to play that 'properly' before I started breaking everything!) and i'm interested in the idea of acoustic noise (in the sense of acoustic instruments). It sometimes seems to be where the division between free improv and noise is sometimes drawn; noise uses electronics where free improv uses more 'traditional' instruments. But again, showing up to a noise gig with an oboe can be an interruption in itself.
> 
>>> 
>  Besides the *equipment*, what else is under threat? The room’s
>  electric installations? The artist’s voice and reputation? The
>  audience’s amusement and inner eardrums? Someone’s job? Social and
>  economic contracts?
>>> 
> Among all the possible risks, why is the destruction of property still
> the strongest taboo?
> 
> I didn't mean to imply that breaking the equipment would be the strongest taboo and I think these kind of questions stand as, to some extent, unresolvable problems. So they require a dynamic, relational 'doing' in response.
> R.e ethical compromises of audience expectation/entertainment and possibly feeding into the notion of audience annoyance. 
> 
> Besides this relation between noise and presence,
> it suggests how noise seems to be in-between public and private
> communication, softening their boundaries.
>>> 
>    Would it be possible to understand gossip through a similar logic,
>    especially when it acts as a form of social engineering that modulates
>     institutional and personal regimes (often, in the most perverse ways)?
> Absolutely. The threat of gossip can be heard as the threat of exposure; the overspill of the personal into the professional. But gossip works not simply by making the private public but by revealing the permeability of these boundaries or rather, conflating them. Theres a really great piece by Giselle Bastin, which sees Pandora's box as an archetype for gossip. Pandora’s transgression comes not with the box being open instead of closed but with the erasure of the dialectical opposition between inside and outside and the subsequent disruption of symbolic categorisations. She also sees this conflation of boundaries in Pandora's box and gossip mirrored in feminine/feminized body (to my mind, and possibly very superficially, echoing Derrida's remarks on the hymen). The inbetweenness of gossip; between truth and lie, public and private, personal and professional, is perhaps what makes it such a powerful and dangerous form of knowledge.
> 
> I too would also like to here about Magnus's collaboration with Mattin - do you think the discomfort with silence was partly to do with what I was implying earlier in this email about the expectations of noise scenes/gigs?
> 
>> .
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Baruch Gottlieb ::: Digital Archive Project
in/compatible // transmediale 2012, 31 Jan - 5 Feb 2012 // transmediale.de

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