Daniel Barbiero ‘Stillness-Energy-Sound: Notes on Negative Space’

“I am interested in stillness, in the silence that emanates from objects. I see this stillness as a form of energy that these objects radiate.”–Reiner Ruthenbeck[1]

If stillness is a form of an object’s energy, then its sound is the realization of that energy in its active form.

Consider stillness as the sound latent in objects. Sound is released from stillness the way energy is released when, for example, an atom’s nucleus is disturbed. In a more prosaic, musical context, disturb the string by plucking it or pulling a bow across it and a series of vibrations is released, which we receive as sound. Continue reading “Daniel Barbiero ‘Stillness-Energy-Sound: Notes on Negative Space’”

David R J Stent ‘THE TASK OF THE IMPOSSIBLE (or The Figure’s Contributions to the Field)’



At this moment the Figure spies a strange platform set into one of the banks – a semi-circular indentation set into the earth like a stage, book-ended by large mounds as if boulders were concealed under nettles. In amongst those grasses the Figure makes out a series of hard angles glinting in the light, slowly recognising the surfaces of a crude shelter – a tiny hermit’s cabin pinned against the slope, propped up with a stick. Although the coincidence would be lost on the Figure, the setting echoes that of Gustave Flaubert’s The Temptation of St. Antony, missing only the Saint’s holy book and the cross casting a shadow over the hovel.[1] What also escapes the Figure would be Jean-Luc Nancy’s reading of Flaubert’s text as an “exemplary case of literary disaster (…) an act of stupidity” and his insistence, no doubt laced with irony, that Flaubert enjoys the doomed cause of his writing; or rather that he enjoys his lack of enjoyment in the whole “pointless and exhausting enterprise.”[2] Continue reading “David R J Stent ‘THE TASK OF THE IMPOSSIBLE (or The Figure’s Contributions to the Field)’”

Seth Cooke ‘No Locus’

“That place… where the imaginary comes into contact with the local and the real, is what we strive to create.” Michael Pisaro, Ten Encounters

 In the West Yorkshire Police control room we used the word ‘locus’ to describe Pisaro’s place-which-is-not-a-place, a descriptor for the cloud of subjectivities and contingencies that exists around initial reports of any incident before a scene can be established. A ‘scene’ has actors, script, setting, spatial-temporal bounds and a context within a larger narrative. The locus is more slippery. ‘Locus’ means a place, position or configuration of co-ordinates – but it can also describe a focal point of activity or concentration. There are loci of events, of ideas, of possibility, of uncertainty. Through custom and practice, West Yorkshire Police parlance defined the ‘locus’ as a superposition of potentials, mapped from emergency calls, that sets the parameters for an initial response. The ‘scene’ is the collapse into materiality of those potentials, determined when officers arrive and make their assessment. The struggle in emergency response, always, is for an accuracy of relation of locus to scene. Continue reading “Seth Cooke ‘No Locus’”

David Dunn ‘An Expository Journal of Extractions from Wilderness’

Is my primary responsibility as a composer merely the creation of substantive concepts and structures, or am I responsible for the formation and maintenance of a proper environment for such structures?

Beyond this the question must be asked:

What are the contextual limits for such an environment and of what might appropriate maintenance consist? Continue reading “David Dunn ‘An Expository Journal of Extractions from Wilderness’”

Jeph Jerman ‘Sound Diary January 2013’

Jan. 1, 2013

there was a sound in my dream last night. i was set on a large rock semi-surrounded by a body of water, hearing some sort of horn sound, a long hanging note like a trainwhistle but slower in pitch. up above my head in a cliff face was an opening where i could see a camp site, and someone there was blowing a plastic horn, repeatedly. the sound came out of the opening with a bit of force, the opening serving as an extension of the horn’s flare. i thought (in the dream) of those horns that people blew at soccer matches awhile back. i remember reading about the practice, how it was characterized as an annoying sound, but i always found it fascinating. all those untempered notes massing together.  Continue reading “Jeph Jerman ‘Sound Diary January 2013’”

Michael Pisaro ‘What is Field?’

Michael Pisaro, Carol Watts, Drew Milne and Paul Banister.
Chair: Will Montgomery

What is Field? took place at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, London, on the evening of Monday, 12 November 2012. The event was presented by the Royal Holloway Contemporary Poetics Research Centre and was intended as a follow-up to an event on poetry and Wandelweiser scores co-produced by the research centre and UK arts organisation Sound and Music at the same venue a year before. (A transcript of the round- table discussion at the 2011 event appears in Wolf Notes #3.) Continue reading “Michael Pisaro ‘What is Field?’”

Loren Chase ‘Paths for a Listener’

Setting Out (Looking at Listening) 

Where do I see people listening?

What is it I should be looking for?

An ear propped somehow against the air?

Is it anything as overt as a cupped hand placed beside the head? As the hair momentarily pulled back? 

When do I see people listening? And at what times of day should I be looking?

Of course, there is always hearing.

What does listening really look like?  Continue reading “Loren Chase ‘Paths for a Listener’”

Jane Dickson ‘Instrumental Indifference’

Glenn Gould’s musical idealism is exemplified in his “sublime INSTRUMENTAL INDIFFERENCE”. He shunned the works of composers who were overly concerned with the specific sonorities of the piano and focused instead on music which could potentially be transferred intact from instrument to instrument. While this particular idea of instrumental indifference appears intrinsically linked to Western art music, it highlights a universal issue ” the relationship between the musical idea and the instrument, between the ideal and the empirical. Continue reading “Jane Dickson ‘Instrumental Indifference’”

Salomé Voegelin ‘The Possibility of Sound’

A thing like the cup on my table is an actual object, it is real in the most primitive sense of the word: I can touch it, it has a function and a form, and guarantees and locates my experience: to be thirsty, to drink tea – to which I relate a value and a name in which is placed the authority of the cup as object. If the cup was broken or if it were in a museum, removed from its primary function, unable to hold tea or highlighting its decorative nature instead, that would be another thing altogether. It would be a possible cup, if only it was not broken or if only it was not an artwork, but remains actual as a broken piece of crockery or as an exhibit. The broken or exhibited cup is still actual but differently real and it is also still an object with its own name and location, not just a thing. Continue reading “Salomé Voegelin ‘The Possibility of Sound’”