Interview with Florian Hecker | #LiveArtsweekV
aprile 20, 2016
Live Arts Week present three of Florian Hecker’s sound works. A unique occasion dedicated to his last masterpieces of text, sound and synthesis, with a sequential performance of Chimerization, followed by Modulator and Synthetic Hinge. The research project on Chimerization that Hecker initiated at the MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011, starts from a concept derived from psychoacoustic investigations into the difficult-to-define areas between language and non-language. These investigations focus on the decomposition of sound and on synthesizing incompatible modalities, surpassing their respective particularities without fusing them, in order to obtain a narration beyond immediate comprehension, which may be deciphered through repeated, ‘active’ listening. For both Chimerization and Hinge finds Hecker teamed up with the Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani. Hecker commmissioned Negarestani to write the experimental librettos for the works, which were recited and recorded in an anechoic environment, and then processed through an algorithmic perturbation. In the big hall of the museum Hecker creates a sort of pathway through which the works are being performed in a pandemic chimerization.
Florian Hecker – Chimerization, Modulator, Synthetic Hinge
multiple sound performance, première italiana
thursday 21 april – 9pm h 21.00
Atpdiary held an interview with Florian Hecker about his upcoming premiere.
ATP: You are presenting at Live Arts Week 2016 a very complex triptyque. Would you like to explain me how it was born and how did you develop the three works that compose it, Chimerization, Modulator e Synthetic Hinge?
Florian Hecker: I’ve been working on a series of text sound pieces that dramatise the auditory chimera software developed by Bertrand Delgutte with Jayaganesh Swaminathan since 2010: “Magnitude Estimation” 2010; “Hecker Leckey Sound Voice Chimera” 2011; “Bregman / Deutsch Chimera—47 minutes in bifurcated attention” 2011 and “Chimerization (MIT Project)” 2011 and “Chimerization” 2012; produced on the occasion of documenta 13,2012: see: http://chimerization.documenta.de . The computer generated sound piece “Modulator” is structured according to a sequence of auditory objects, streams and events that exist in stark opposition to each other. The work features a complexity of non-standard sound synthesis processes, means of decomposition, and further resynthesis. “Modulator” inhabits the very conditions of what is defined by psychoacoustics as “timbre” – a catch-all “multidimensional waste-basket category” for everything difficult to analyse. (Albert Bregman and Stephen McAdams, ‘Hearing Musical Streams’, in Computer Music Journal 3 (4) (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1979), 26 – 43.) Originally produced on the occasion of documenta 12 (2013) in Kassel, Germany, the pragmatic role of “Modulator” was to intensify the timbral range of Hecker’s text-sound piece “Chimerization:, see above. It has consecutively appeared in “Hinge” / “Articulaçao” (2012) and in “A Script for Machine Synthesis” (2013—2016) and is here presented for the first time in the UK. “Synthetic Hinge” is a new piece produced on the occasion of the performance at Live Arts Week and is a complete resynthesis of “Hinge”, the former human speakers have been replaced with synthetic voices designed by Rob Clark and Christophe Veaux, Centre for Speech Technology Research, University of Edinburgh.
ATP: What does it mean, in your compositive approach, “Chimerization”?
FH: “Chimeras are integrated bodies that synthesize incompatible modalities, surpassing their respective particularities without fusing them, finding a common ground, or reducing one to the other. Hecker and Negarestani deploy the chimeric operator in a live experiment—less a collaboration between philosophy and sound than a chimerical synthesis of them. In this abstract performance, recalling Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty as much as Beckett’s minimalist narratives, the participating elements will be chimerized through their mutual immersion in the abyss of the universal, and thereby revealed, in turn, as nothing other than local guises of this abyssal continuum. If the goat of the title is a local field (philosophy, art, text, sound, perception), or the universal abyss upon whose precipice it teeters, then the chimera is a twisted trajectory—a non-trivial synthetic link between local and global—that unfolds as the goat is plunged into the abyss”. (Robin Mackay in Program Notes: “Florian Hecker & Reza Negarestani: The Non-Trivial Goat and the Cliffs of the Universal: A Topological Fable on Navigation and Synthesis” Performance at Abrons Arts Center, New York, 7:30 p.m., 15 November 2012)
ATP:The role of the listener is essential in your works, as it’s the person that has to perceptually understand the work. How do you control and develop this part of the interaction?
FH: No control but some propositions in the sonic content that might do something.
ATP:Would you like to introduce to me the work Chimerization, also in relationship with the work together with the Iranian philosopher and narrator Reza Negarestani?
FH: Robin Mackay introduced me to Reza Negarestani’s work many years ago and he kindly accepted my invitation to contribute the libretto, text and script for the three projects we worked on since.