Thursday, December 20, 2012

In her talk "Sound/Art/Music: Performing Nam June Paik's Early Compositions," Miki Kaneda, one of the speakers at "The Status of Sound" conference at CUNY (11-30-2012) noted that we do not call the repeated execution of a scored musical piece a "re-performance" but rather a "performance." Each subsequent interpretation and enactment of a scored or directed piece is a new and separate event.  For some reason, I immediately began to think of "In C" by Terry Riley, a mesmerizing composition that has changed music forever. In some ways, it forces the issue of materiality because it is one frequency being repeated over and over. One note on the piano. The same note on the bassoon.  Would Riley object to all subsequent presentations of this composition being considered "re-performances"? An interesting thought.

The impulse to classify individual sounds as artifactual does not diminish their vitality or life. I've been thinking that perhaps it might serve to transform a view of so-called "static" artifacts as objects that are in constant motion and change in the same way as sound objects, perhaps serving to view the world as a more dynamic and complex place.