Ceci n’est pas la musique: Laying the Groundwork for a Schizoanalysis of Brian Ferneyhough’s Carceri D’invenzione I (1982)

The interaction between composer and performer, performer and audience, recording and audience, and memory and active recall, form a complex rhizomatic web that locates the phenomenon of music in a constant process of becoming. All aspects of musical creation, performance, and recollection are locked into various artefacts that can be seen as tracings (notations, the vibration of air, a memory) that, to be activated as music, must be returned to the map of temporally bound perception. This act generates yet another tracing through the act of writing (to the page, to the air, to the memory) that is frequently mistaken for the phenomenon of music.

By taking Brian Ferneyhough’s Carceri d’Invenzione I (1982) as a case study, this presentation will demonstrate how Deleuze and Guattari’s theorems of deterritorialisation can be applied to the different states of becoming present in the musical act (Delezue and Guattari 1988). The composer’s own writings (Ferneyhough 1995) and analysis of his sketches (Toop 1994; Fitch 2013) will illuminate the creative act that resulted in the published notated score (Ferneyhough 1982). Discussions around performance practice and the interpretation of notation (Fitch 2013) will similarly explore the act of realisation into sound. Finally, research into the perception of sound and the functioning of musical memory (Hallam, Cross, and Thaut 2009; North and Hargreaves 2008) will be employed to propose a similar analysis of how specific passages in the work may be perceived and remembered.

This attempted schizoanalysis contributes to the literature on the ontology of the musical work (e.g., Goehr 1992) and attempts to function as an avant-garde aesthetic, engaging directly with creative practice and attacking an Academy that valorises the past to the detriment of the present.

References

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1988. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Ferneyhough, Brian. 1982. Carceri d’Invenzione I. New York: Edition Peters.

—. 1995. Collected Writings. Edited by James Boros and Richard Toop. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Fitch, Lois. 2013. Brian Ferneyhough. Bristol, UK: Intellect.

Goehr, Lydia. 1992. The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hallam, Susan, Ian Cross, and Michael Thaut, eds. 2009. The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

North, Adrian C., and David J. Hargreaves. 2008. The Social and Applied Psychology of Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Toop, Richard. 1994. “‘Prima le Parole . . .’ (On the Sketches for Ferneyhough’s Carceri d’invenzione I–III).” Perspectives of New Music 32 (1): 154–75.

Unformed Sound in Multimedia Composition: The Šarapovas Project Silver Dust

The idea of the presentation is based on the Deleuzian concept of the deterritorialisation of refrain, using unformed sound and an investigation into how this type of sound works in the multimedia project Silver Dust. The experimental video project, created by Lithuanian artist Andrius Šarapovas, is interdisciplinary, comprising music, dance, and poetry (Nivinskas, Juodkaite, Navakas, and others). The uniqueness of this project is that Šarapovas has been interested in Deleuze’s philosophy for a few years and framed the composition by following some ideas of Deleuze. In the video project Silver Dust, different art lines run separately, parallel, or in different directions, are full of cracks, and at the same time create unity through the invisible links. The project is compounded from twelve short pieces.

How does Deleuze and Guattari’s mention of “broken tones” and “raw sounds” in What is Philosophy? stimulate the appearance of the art’s machine, vibration, and clinches between the different art lines in the composition Silver Dust? How much raw sound and how much sound modification during the sound editing deterritorialises the refrain of composition, mentioned in Deleuze and Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus (1987)? How does this machine erase the boundary between natural and artificial unformed sound in music and produce clinches with dance and poetry? Is it the work of a dark precursor, described in Deleuze’s early work Difference and Repetition?

We don’t pretend to identify where the pick of interconnection and resonance becomes obvious and which unformed sound is of crucial importance. Everyone perceives the appearance of resonance slightly differently. Unformed sounds are welcomed into the composition; later sounds are recreated by design, engineering, and montage. As Šarapovas stated in an interview, “When everything is said and all harmony, rhythmic things step aside, there is nothing in front of you; the new briefing and intensity for creation approaches”; the pretext for that is raw sound (in a wrong way, an old double bass sound, a phone call, and the sound of an opening door are played). These sounds from one side are the cracks of a line, a bridge to counterpoints and a condition for experimenting with the intensity of frequencies while searching for deterritorialisation. They are also clinches, in Deleuze and Guattari’s words first of all—flesh, which leads to blocs of sensation, percepts, and affects and waiting for resonance. “Flesh is only the developer which disappears in what it develops: the compound of sensation” (Deleuze and Guattari 1994, 183). Unexpected and unformed sounds inspire the performance’s team, and first of all Šarapovas reacts to the moment “the one which ‘is lacking in its place’ as it lacks its own identity” (Deleuze 1994, 120). That provokes new turns in the art machine. Raw sounds quiet down and, to the contrary, some musical sounds are re-created into a loud noise, experimenting with different pitch and rhythm in the process of sound editing. Consequently, sounds are held, as Deleuze and Guattari state, in their “extinction,” “production and development” by the multimedia art machine. Moreover, Šarapovas tries to compound raw sound/noise in music and poetry and the raw view/noise in image to allow their interconnection during montage, opening conditions for vibrations and couplings between heterogeneous elements, as well as division. “All that, however, would be possible only because the invisible precursor conceals itself and its functioning, and at the same time conceals the in-itself or true nature of difference” (Deleuze 1994, 119).

References

Deleuze, Gilles. 1994. Difference and Repetition. Translated by Paul Patton. London: Continuum.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

—. 1994. What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press.

From Painting to Sound: Musical Reflections on Deleuze’s Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation

In Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, Deleuze becomes the philosophical voice of Bacon’s paintings. The book’s main arguments are developed in relation to Bacon’s thoughts and from Deleuze’s sensations and visual reflections on the paintings. Bacon resonates through Deleuze’s words; both the painter and the philosopher intermingle in the perception of the paintings and on the meanings of the philosophical arguments. Thoughts become images and images become thoughts. Does sensation have a logic? Or is logic merely the philosophical language derived from sensation?

The written expression of Deleuze’s sensations and my sensation of his words made me perceive and relate visual philosophical notions within the context of musical experience and thinking. My musical thoughts and sensations (or sonic imaginations) herein described arose from the experience of reading Deleuze’s book on Francis Bacon before establishing any connection with his writings on music. I relocated Deleuze’s visual notions to describe, in a particular way, musical layers and events spread through a musical piece. I will explain how my musical arguments relate and are similar to some of Deleuze’s thoughts on music, whilst emphasising the reason why some of his ideas on painting serve to describe and think musical problems with a different language and specificity.

In this presentation, I will introduce the three main pictorial elements that Deleuze describes in Bacon’s works: (1) spatialising fields, (2) the figure, and (3) the place. I will explain how I relate these pictorial elements to musical phenomena in my work and to the phenomenon of deterritorialisation through music as thought by Deleuze. In particular, I will delve into the idea of the “isolation of the figure” in Bacon’s paintings and explain how I relate “isolation” to a musical phenomenology. I will also describe how the mutual exchange and coexistence of the pictorial elements can be related to the interaction and resonance between multiple sonic layers and/or multiple realities, which consequently establishes a link between Deleuze’s visual thoughts on Bacon’s work and Jean-Luc Nancy’s ideas on resonance through listening.

To illustrate the relation of the pictorial elements to musical ones I will present a musicalised animation of Bacon’s painting Head VI (1949). The music will be created with processed material from the recording of my composition A Bao A Qu (2012) for nine musicians, a piece that I used in my doctoral dissertation to describe the relation between Deleuze’s notions on Bacon’s paintings and my music. The animated painting will transform in synchrony with the music, revealing and explaining through an audiovisual experience how visual elements can be associated with the musical ones.

[terror]tory

[terror]tory is an assemblage of processes that develops portraits of fluid identity; identities that are unravelling and becoming. In his lecture “Subjectivity and Thought in Gilles Deleuze,” Manuel De Landa (2009) describes identity through an analogy: as the matter brought down by a river, layered over time on the ocean floor. This layering refers to habitual routines and repetitive narratives, which become identified with the subject, I am. He points out that the identified—myself or the mountain—also has historical evidence and therefore cannot be reduced to a mere social/linguistic construct. Following De Landa, [terror]tory explores identification as a territorialisation of consciousness, which occurs primarily in an inherited/taught/socialised/genetic way, becoming the bedrock of what identity is based on. In a Spinozan sense, all things are unavoidably the way they are and that which emerges is necessary. However, it seems that the matter that makes the bedrock can prove problematic if, for example, the matter layers on beliefs such as “I’m not good enough.” Apparently this matter cannot be removed physically or psychologically, we are stuck with it, it is “the matter” (as in “what’s the matter?”).

Deleuze points out that beneath these layers of habitual routines and narratives that harden and densify, we find a domain of intensive and volatile magma (desires/will to power), which cause a folding, fracturing, stretching, moving of the matter above it. Psychically he refers to these ruptures/disruptions as states of “delirium” (vertigo, meditation, shock, yoga, breath work, psychedelics) that afford the consciousness glimpses of experiences that support its non-dependence on identity—that consciousness is not what it identifies with. De Landa adds that psychological wellbeing is dependent on a certain amount of stable identity; however, identification becomes arthritic and Spinoza points out that human perception is primarily lodged in an erroneous perception structure mechanism, identifying with what isn’t rather than with what is (I continue to watch sunrises and sunsets, even though I know the earth revolves around the sun!). [terror]try researches methods that can tap into the psychic magma—practices that loosen identity, opening up to new possibilities and creativity.

[terror]tory engages with the following practices as a methodology to catalyse and maintain fluid identity: This methodology is performed by using clothing as the matter of identity. This clothing is personal and owned by the performers. Deterritorialisation occurs by “filleting” a garment, removing the fabric from its seams. This process is a shifting of paradigm from a transcendent, linguistic ontology; it liberates the fabric of being from categories/territories from the map, making the material of identity virtual. Reterritorialisation begins with the fashioning of yarn from the liberated fabric—relating to the matter, eliciting the narrative. These yarns are bound into balls—an introspective cocooning procedure. The balls are gifted to and swapped with others—the exchanging of stories, listening and relating to others. Knitting begins. Sitting with the narratives creatively developing new fabrics of identity that relate to the materiality of being, witnessing and assisting in the emergence of new forms of becoming: sitting with, witnessing, and co-operating with emergent forms in an embodied way. The new material can be unravelled, be gathered, be stretched, and have spaces. All the fabric from the original territory has been used; however, it has changed state.

These processes embody sustainable “delirious” practices: mediation (sitting with), yoga (embodied practice), relating to stories of another. The performance itself becomes a “delirious practice.” As a craftivist work it deliberately uses the politics of gendered spaces and practices as a means of disruption within places and practices—specifically, knitting (female, domestic, personal, unseen, craft, private) in a public/academic (male, intellectual, public, valuable, important, visible) context. Knitting in an academic/public context creates a disorienting juxtaposition, a disruption serving as a delirium to shift consciousness.

Web: terror-tory.blogspot.com; vimeo.com/134178378; vimeo.com/134127764.

References

Manuel De Landa. 2009. “Subjectivity and Thought in Gilles Deleuze.” European Graduate School Video Lectures. 11 videos. Accessed 15 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL30032170CD028499.