quotation

The question of noise

"Regardless of its constructed character, recorded sound strongly searched for the perfection of fidelity to the original event. Noises were a part of the experience to be ignored, but still made their voice heard. In today's digital model, we perceive efficient strategies defining which part of the experience must necessarily prevail. The binary encoding of signal is presented both as a matrix and as a result of listening to a sonorous universe. How is noise absorbed in this new model? Is it still perceived as oppositional? How does it present itself in increasingly sophisticated technological mediation processes?"

jose claudio siquiera castanheira

Louis Kahn - The Room, The Street & Human Agreement

"So sensitive is a room.

The plan is a society of rooms.

The rooms relate to each other to strengthen their own unique nature. The auditorium wants to be a violin. Its lobby is the violin case.

The society of rooms is the place where it is good to learn, good to live, good to work.

Open before us is the architect’s plan. Next to it is a sheet of music.

The architect fleetingly reads his composition as a structure of elements and spaces in their light.

The musician reads, with the same overallness, his composition as a structure of inseparable elements and spaces in sound.

A great musical composition is of such entity that when played conveys the feeling that all that was heard was assembled in a cloud over us. Nothing is gone as though time and sound have become a single image."

-This is an excerpt from an essay in A+U January, 1973

Deleuze on life & sound

The important thing is to understand life, each living individuality, not as a form, or a development of form, but as a complex relation between differential velocities, between deceleration and acceleration of particles. A composition of speeds and slowness on a plane of immanence. In the same way, a musical form will depend on a complex relation between speeds and slowness of sound particles. It is not just a matter of music but of how to live: it is by speed and slowness that one slips in among things, that one connects with something else. One never commences; one never has a tabula rasa; one slips in, enters in the middle; one takes up or lays down rhythms.

— Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy

Audio Visual Big Guitar

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The sonic installation explores architecture as an essential element in our listening experience. Elizabeth Martin in Pamphlet Architecture 16, describes the project which

" uses interactive rotating roof element that alters the small space in which a player is enclosed. The individual faces the neck of the large guitar, connected to six 10’ strings that are set in motion. The instrument produces the sound, the player does the manipulation, and the oscilloscope displays the visual representation of the sine wave forms. Thus, viewer experiences more of an active role in musical exploration in contrast to the passive occurrence of the concert."

The project was created in 1987 at Columbia University by Mark Brearley, Peter Cook, Larry Daves, Neil Denari, Diana Thater, and Hishman Yousef.

Sound and Oneness...or Thirdness

Minimalist composer, Terry Riley:

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"Music can also be a sensual pleasure, like eating food or sex. But its highest vibration for me is that point of taking us to a real understanding of something in our nature which we can very rarely get at. It is a spiritual state of oneness."

Terry Riley's spiritual state of oneness correlates well with an idea presented in a collection of essays entitled REVERBERATIONS: The Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Politics of Noise. This oneness can be seen as a sense of duration, what Henri Bergson calls true being. For Bergson, music removes us from our constructed illusions of quantitative time, or clock time. Rhythm and measure interrupt it and bring us into duration, which is a sensation of time where being and sound form an 'intensity'. This intensity is an idea that occurs both inside and outside duration - as something entering the mind to a degree that measure is lost. It does not reflect merely properties of sounds or a piece of music, but the reception of the input, or how it is received. Somewhat paradoxical... how can music, existing as physical, measurable, organizations of sound, actually breakdown the listener's concept of measure and time? Music, like minimalism, ambient, trance, or noise, employs a purposeful rejection of the time music, or organized sound, structures for us. La Monte Young, another influential minimalist composer, hints at this idea;

"One of the aspects of form that I have been interested in is stasis - the concept of form which is not so directional in time, not so much climatic form, but rather form which allows time to stand still."

Deleuze and Quattari in A Thousand Plateaus, have an interesting take on how time can both move and stop without changing position or halting.

"This proliferation of material has nothing to do with an evolution...It is on the contrary an involution, in which form is constantly being dissolved, freeing times and speeds. It is a fixed plane, a fixed sound plane, or visual plane, or writing plane, etc. here, fixed does not mean immobile: it is the absolute state of movement as well as rest, from which all relative speeds or slowness spring, and nothing but them. " (1988, 267)

It's possible that non-moving music is the goal of 'spiritual' music, to create a trance-like state or to reveal an essence of the emptiness of time. In his essay, A chronic condition: noise and time, Paul Hegarty says the constant flow of music allows for multiplicity of thoughts and sensations, an endless becoming of duration. Bergson's idea of multiplicity of intensity is one of transformation. Deleuze and Quattari extend this thought, where the multiplicity of intensity is one of simultaneity. Deleuze and Quattari view intensity and the quantitative to be transformed into a plateau or rhizome, where connections are reconfigured so as to prevent ideas of meaning or narrative to be formed. This plateau can be seen as a location that allows dwelling, a certain sort of settling.

Dwelling can mean this spiritual state of oneness - particularly in the listener, or "the Other".  For in fact, 'one' sound is made and is perceived/understood by 'two', the Other. Music tends to be about three, or thirdness; about the sea at which communication drifts. If this thirdness is a space or field, it can be experienced, explored, researched, mapped, and designed. It's a dynamic process where the world is re-ordered and re-imagined as it is being presented. It is the fluctuation between movement and non-movement, a 'fixed sound plane'.

aural architecture

"Whether it is snapping fingers, whistling notes, singing songs, or remaining silent, a space responds. The listener is immersed in the aural response of the space, as if in auditory dialogue with the environment. By responding to human presence, aural architecture is dynamic, reactive, and enveloping. In contrast, because humans do not have the means of creating the presence of light, a space does not react to our visual presence, but is only manifested through the interruption - as shadows or reflections."

- barry blesser & linda-ruth salter

vitruvius and learning

"The Architect should be equipped with the knowledge of many branches of study and varied kinds of learning, for in the architectural judgement all of the work of other arts is brought into test…therefore let our architect be educated, skillful with the pencil, instructed in geometry, knowledgeable in history, follow the philosophers with attention, understand music… and many kinds of learning, I think that no one has the right to proclaim oneself as architect hastily… Those, therefore, who from tender years receive instruction in the various forms of learning, recognize the same stamp on all the arts, and an integration of all fields of study, so that they can more readily comprehend them all."

vitruvius, ten books on architecture

the eye and the ear

Rather than relying on a confined, separated definition of music and architecture, I’ve fallen back to the root of each art: the eye and the ear. The eye and the ear resemble each other in construction, number, and in the function of their parts resulting in the obvious perception of analogous properties of matter. The eye lends itself to a visual field; the ear to an aural field. Architecture represents the art of design in space; music, the art of design in time. Nature continually manifests motion in space or motion and space bound together as one; it is life

Elizabeth Martin, Pamphlet Architecture 16

To begin, again...at the beginning

I thought I would start by offering more of a foundation for a lot of my ideas, and eventual work and investigations. Although I love what I am getting involved into lately, there is a large part of me that cannot take responsibility for the ideas, as it often feels more of a ‘witnessing’ or discovery rather than creative ownership. I think of Colin Wilson in The Occult:

I ‘pull back’ from life - like a camera taking a long shot with a wide angle lens. I quite simply become aware of more reality than before.

This awareness presents itself as a synthesis of all that I have learned in my own experiences, and the creative endeavors of others… and allows me to fill in gaps and make connections, patterns and conclusions.

Currently, I work at a surveying company in Hudson, OH - a comfortable 20 minute morning drive. I take the back roads avoiding Route 59, and 91 and the hustle and/or bustle of Anywhere Town, USA.  At work, I utilize and develop a virtual software that enables clients to view surveys online, paperless, etc, etc. I do minimal drafting (AutoCAD), boundary calculations, and other odd jobs. But mostly I prepare and review drawings, publishing them to a online server. I find I am extremely lucky to still be able to control my mind listening to music, Ebooks, interviews, lectures, listen to podcasts. At first, I found it hard to shed the Ego of the Architect - but soon fell in love with casual nature of the people I work with and the shear fact of being able to multitask as I see fit, with endless opportunities to expand my understanding of the world with a constant self-bombardment with the use of noise-cancelling headphones.

Music has always been a large part of my understanding and has served as a point of reference, an interpersonal soundtrack, and even the foundation of my experimentation with, well.. a number of things. My parents played instruments, and with the advent of the walkman, portable mp3 players, and headphones, music started to become a large part of how I began thinking for myself. I went to school for architecture, inspired largely on the models and work of my sister Michelle after a single walk through her Ohio University Interior Architecture studio about 6 years ago. Throughout the last four years, in the large studio spaces filled with chatter from many voices, one would usually see me with headphones folding paper at 4 a.m.

Into the infinite abyss, tumble dry not so low, and a some time later I am remain a bit, dare I say…flabbergasted. After graduating, one is inevitably hit with obvious questions hovering around the 'What’s Next' category. Ignoring the convential steps (I think of Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime) with graduate school right out of the gates, interning… I began to see the intense possibilities of following direct influences, and personal passions falling into place. I've learned that most of my ideas need more space, time, and room to breathe to grow and develop. I took a hard look at what I loved the most, what I remember from being a kid, what I can connect to more than anything.

So, so far we have music, architecture, landscapes, topography, graphic design, technology… I observed one day I am nearly 100% immersed in said topics 18-22 hours a day.  The torrent force of Brain Juice Central 2012 is fast and flowing.

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Kind of perplexed with even more questions and frustrated with the lack of finding a personal connection that I can get behind, I began to research the topics. What an earth-shattering concept. To this day - this highly inconceivable move resonates on the opposite side of the world. Some countries are considering making a national holiday, The Day Jose Got His Head Out of His Ass Day. I bet the parades will be incredible.

First on the list was Resonance, Essays on the Intersections of Music and Architecture V1. Here, I was exposed to the likes of Iannis Xenakis, more of Cage, Murray Schaeffer, Bernhard Leitner, and Leonard Bernstein among others. I began to feel in good company with the experiments that, truthfully were done without the use of the technology we have today. That excites me.

I leeched onto the sonic investigations of Bernhard Leitner (late 1960s Austrian composer and designer of vibrational installations) and his sentiment of ‘measuring with the ears and constructing with sound’. Soon a model was formed, one intended for cataloging the characteristics of a site in a perceptual way - in the broadest sense considering ideas of space, sound, place, scale, physical, cultural, and mental phenomena. I was witnessing myself fall into place, and could not avoid making the connections with the allure of my immediate environment, childish wonder with the outdoors, love of theory, process, and experimentation, and well, music…Thus my personal research into sound and space: Proxemia, the Aural Cartography project was born. I intend to approach this investigation first with what I see fit, namely utilize my technical exposure to the precision architecture, and now of surveying, love for music, photography, drawings, paintings, maybe even film - but most importantly anything that will add to the experience of discovery.  Eventually, an architectural, physical form will be derived based on the information I gathered be it direction of flying geese, rhythms of the lake tide, elevations, speed profiles, boundaries...

Here, I recall Brian Eno talking about John Cage in Eric Tamm’s Brian Eno, His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound:

"‘Art is a net’, Cage said. Years later I read Morse Peckham. He said, ‘Art is safe.’ I realized that’s what Cage meant…

You’re creating a false world where you can afford to make mistakes." 

It seems like making mistakes creates learning opportunities that exist as a form of experimentation, culminating with a research based process. Often these mistakes can be exploited or translated. I think embracing chance operations may help to avoid creative obstacles where, like creating a 'false world' as Eno puts it, one creates an entirely new and unexpected world, one worth investigating.