[-empyre-] vibration and movement

Douglas Kahn djkahn at ucdavis.edu
Thu Jun 12 17:39:31 EST 2014


I read your second message where you mentioned your first message that, for
some reason (perhaps time zone issues) appeared far down on my list of
emails. So, sorry if it seemed I was not responsive. 

First, let me say that when I said I wished to "stay away from the body"
when examining Lucier's "Music for Solo Performer", it was in the context
of attempting to historically elaborate in my book Earth Sound Earth
Signal, I believe for the first time systematically, cultural engagments
along the electromagnetic spectrum. In the book, I do discuss a number of
factors informing "MfSP", including both Dewan and Lucier's notions of
where bodies come into play. I do not stay away from "the body" in
principle, see the Meat part of Noise Water Meat, which includes the
section on Artaud, per your invocation of Artaud, or the more recent essay
that I mentioned in an earlier message here about interoception of American
male artists in scientific and quasi-scientific spaces drifting from the
material culture of the Cold War (starting with Cage's anechoic chamber,
which was constructed as part of the war effort). 

You're right, there is plenty written by now on "sound" in all is
manifestations. However, my book is on the energetic trade between
acoustics/sound (mechanics) and electromagnetism, which is a new approach
to sound as well as an opening up to other (possible) discourses on energy


> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> thanks to Nina, Marcus and Douglas for these very fascinating thoughts
> opening the second week, 
> and it struck me, listening to (well, reading) Douglas trying to "stay away
> from the body" examining Lucier's "Music for Solo Performer", that I have
> never really seen the Lucier performance except in photos, with the
> electrodes attached to the head, and  in re-performances of Lucier's piece
> by younger artists and  then I was intensely aware of, or drawn to, the
> strangely "immobile" body of a performer concentrating (or letting go,
> relaxing) :  the sound generated by the brainwaves, inexplicably from a
> conventional schema or "territory of assumption" (as Nina asks) or value or
> even identification �  unless we go to the other end and "listen" to the
> percussion instruments, and their membranal movement, but what moves the
> movement? how do you worry about waves (not being physicist or engineer or
> pyschoacoustic scholar).?
> And speaking from a perspective of theatre/dance and performance, which
> would interest me to ask you all about, as well as from a perspective of
> social choreographies or soundings (Julian Henrique's work on cultural
> sound "systems" and the operators of the speaker system collectively
> producing the Jamaican music and its kinetic frequency phenomena  -- thus
> also the dancing and the community), how do you know, indeed, as Nina
> implies so poignantly, how to measure a gesture from a gesture, how to
> understand or know affect or react to it when you listen or move to sound
> vibrations?  
> The energies in performance --  this might not be the subject that Douglas
> wanted to talk about here, and my knowledge of the physics of sound is
> minimal, yet Douglas mentions opening out sound to energy.  But how does
> the snake measure the vibrations it feels on the earth (the snake is evoked
> by Antonin Artaud when he addresses vibrational energies and transmissions
> through/across and along the while body/organism), only along the length of
> the body?  what lies outside?  
> Or how do "sounds" or music (and higher frequencies) enter inside, via
> hearing, into the kind of most strangely perplexing affect, body-eros, and
> perceptional confusion of memories, for example when I started to write,
> here,  and listened to a falsetto ("castrato" voice), right here in my room
> (online version of Othon Mataragas & Ernesto Tomasini - "Impermanence"),
> then switched over to hear Tomasini talk excitedly about flamboyant gay
> performers re-owning the lost/suppressed male high voice..... 
> I found this very encouraging and exciting; and against suppression &
> forgetting, I realize there is increasing work done out there, scholarship
> on sounding histories and localities  (and artworks such as Teri Rueb's
> sound walks), well I came across a book by Emily Thompson, titled The
> Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of
> Listening in America (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002), and I figured she must
> have gone on to search out the old (radio) archives in New York or Chicago,
> maybe like Douglas did --- where do you go for these layers of "older"
> sound and (no longer existing voices)? 
> And how to measure them?
> regards
> Johannes Birringer
> dap-lab
> London
> http://www.brunel.ac.uk/dap
> +++++++++++++++++++++

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