May 30th, near Wolfsburg
Travelling back home by IC 144. I’m sweaty, tired, there is noise all around by high school children, Swedes playing short clips from movies. Outside, there are big clouds over the eastern German fields and the grass looks tall and tired. The last three weeks have been absolutely amazing.
During my stay, I collaborated with Rijnder Kamerbeek and Oscar Wyers. Driven by an interest in the locality and materiality of music, these collaborations explored the question: what dialogue can our material have with this space we’ve found?
Oscar and I have collaborated on different occasions in different artistic media and it is always a pleasure. I love the exotic, yet down to earth, approach Oscar brings to his music. It’s an honour to leave the first copy of our split release Vertoeven LVI/ Mysteries van de Droom at the Wedding Space.
At the closing event of the residency, Sign Event Context, Rijnder and I introduced our new project,Heuschrecke, which explores reciprocal communication between modular synthesizer and sampler. In an improvisational listening mode enhanced by the Berlinois candlelit atmosphere of wonderful people, we tried to manifest Adorno’s feeling that ‘Music finds the absolute immediately, but at the moment of discovery it becomes obscured’. Jorrit Kiel made some excellent ink drawings based on the short stories.
Apart from these collaborations, I met lovely people. The Wedding Space is a warm, welcoming place where there is always something going on, whether it’s making journals, writing philosophy, making music, swing dancing or cooking. I also visited hacker spaces, bars, clubs, galleries, and people’s homes. I ate lots of collaboratively cooked lovely food. And of course, I’ve had the most wonderful time getting to know the lovely host/scholar/artist/fellow Previous Children Sarah Mann- O’Donnell.
It was terrific talking to her about our respective projects, hopes, dreams, fears, dislikes, listening and making weird playlists on 8tracks, getting Kunst und Pizza at the Drückbar, generally goofing around, and drinking my cheap beer and her marvelous cocktails (that Lavender Bourbon Sour alone is worth the trip).
Perhaps surprisingly,I even got some work done. I wrote 10000 words worth of short stories, I made five new tracks for Scheerling, using the method I described in the opening post, made tree coasters, learned a lot about electronics from Rijnder, scored parts of Abel Gance’s 1923 La Roue, and made a score from Sheena Calvert’s prints. In these prints, she explores the remarkable effect of punctuation on an otherwise empty page. In Music and Language, a fragment, Adorno mentions that punctuation operates somewhere between these two sets of ideas. This gave me the idea to use her prints as a starting point for a score.
To come back to the two questions I asked myself in the opening post of my stay: What does researching as an artist implicate about the nature of the produced knowledge? and What ways of interacting, what methodology could constitute research that is artistic as opposed to academic? […] I would like to make some tentative remarks.
About the first question, the nature of the produced knowledge seems to me to be very embodied at the moment. I feel energized and thrilled to learn more about the intersection of art and philosophy. It made previously inaccessible philosophers (Adorno, Derrida) come alive to me. The produced knowledge seems to be more of an attitude than of a set of propositions I can now judge true or false.
About the second question, I would like to underscore the fundamental value of the non-repeatable. Scientific experiments (ideally) yield similar results under similar circumstances. The experiments I did during the last week were fundamentally nonreproducible: the improvisations, the irreversible sound engineering, the
Concerning methodology, I have the inclination to say that risk and transparency are important. But there is still a lot to explore about that.
A great reason to return again to this wonderful place.
I hope to be back soon. And again Sarah, thank you.