Music in Transit: An Interactive Interview With Juliana Hodkinson

In the past, the conference format has enforced a separation between the concert hall and the presentation stage, and hence also between the composer, performer, and researcher; however, as those involved in music are surely aware, the fluidity between these roles—the many hats of musicking—can overwhelmingly complicate such clear-cut divisions. Given the new possibilities of distributing audio (digitally and even wirelessly), a musical analysis could plausibly be heard simultaneously with the very music it seeks to explore; such is the aim of this performance-presentation.

Juliana Hodkinson describes her compositional practice as a kind of sonic writing that oscillates between musical notation, composition for instruments and extramusical objects, and the creation of digital audio. Milk and metal, bells and drums, toys and politicians, silence and noise, news media and field recordings, strings and winds: pointillist references that lead the compositional work away from the limited signifying economy of internal ontological coherence toward an aesthetic of proliferating and dynamically emerging sonic and multi-sensorial contexts. Martin Heidegger (1971, 152) once said, “A boundary is not that at which something stops but, as the Greeks recognized, the boundary is that from which something begins its presencing.” Like a film or skin, this mesh is porous, and in the post-digital age such boundaries need not adjoin one another, but might interlope ectopically, anachronistically, or multiplicitously across a non-Euclidean diorama of extending plateaus.

Whereas a traditional interview may extract music from its placial situation, this performance-presentation constitutes the typical texts of music’s reception synchronically within a given performative space. Seeking to coalesce traditional research practices with current compositional technologies, this “interactive interview” between musicologist and music theorist Danielle Sofer and composer and musicologist Juliana Hodkinson begins with a spoken dialogue of prepared interview materials, including excerpts from texts by Deleuze and/or Guattari and Erin Manning. In the course of the work, this prepared format becomes increasingly interposed by musical and verbal interference. Set up in this way, artistic practice seemingly causes the object of research to fissure, erupt, and escape those who study it, thus replicating the archaeological habits of research more accurately than a traditional conference presentation. Blurring the walls of the concert hall with the boundaries of “transitive places” in a much broader context, our collage locates itself within the delineated territories of Hodkinson’s recent compositions to create a transverse quilt of mix-matched identities, many parts of which are nominally fixed but which in their performance/recitation remain at once analogically open.

References

Heidegger, Martin. 1971. “Building Dwelling Thinking.” In Poetry, Language, Thought, translated by Albert Hofstadter, 141–60. New York: HarperCollins.

Deleuze’s Philosophy of Cinema: Reflections on Subjectivity, Images, and Visual Artworks

In “Die Zeit des Weltbildes” Heidegger (1938) describes the modern age as the time when the world first became a “world-image.” At the origin of this shift lies a complex relation between the self, reality, and its representation. By ascribing to subjectivity a foundational role, philosophers such as Descartes and Kant transformed reality into a representation, thus turning the world into a world-image. Hence they gave philosophical grounding to what can be called a representational conception of the image. The outcomes of this conception are still visible today, as questions concerning the nature of images and their relation to representation are gaining an increased attention, in both philosophy and art history (Strehle 2011, 507; Bottici 2014, 2). In the present paper, the conception of the image is investigated at the threshold between philosophy and art. Focusing on Deleuze’s analysis of the role of time in cinema, this paper argues that Deleuze develops a conception of the image beyond the representational framework. The argument of the paper should be articulated in two steps. First, I outline what exactly I mean by the representational concept of the image. Rather than analysing the works of any particular philosopher, I focus on a celebrated painting of the Italian Renaissance entirelly based on central perspective: the mysterious Cittá ideale, which portrays a utopian vision of the city of Urbino. Following the recent work of art historian Hans Belting, I suggest that particular features of the central perspective anticipated the modern concepts of subjectivity and representation. Then I move to consider Deleuze’s reflections on cinema. Here I shall focus on Deleuze’s analysis of “opsigns” and “sonsigns” in Italian neo-realism and the related concept of the crystal image. By presenting purely optical and sound situations in which no action is involved, opsigns and sonsigns place time at the centre of the cinematic image (Deleuze 1989, 2). Following Deleuze, I suggest that time here is to be understood as being both pre-subjective and pre-objective. It is the time of pure memory, constantly split within a virtual and an actual side, pre-existing the conscious life of any particular subject (Deleuze 1989, 53). Such time finds expression in the crystal image, in which actual and virtual sides of the image are merged (Deleuze 1989, 69). Through an analysis of the crystal, I show how Deleuze presents a concept of the image beyond the categories of subjectivity and representation. I conclude by drawing some consequences of this concept for both philosophy and visual arts.

Beside the painting Cittá ideale, I will make reference to the following visual works to illustrate some points: De Sica’s Ladri di Biciclette (1948), Pasolini’s Accattone (1961), Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror (1975), and Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark (2002).

 

References

Bottici, Chiara. 2014. Imaginal Politics: Images Beyond Imagination and the Imaginary. New York: Columbia University Press

Deleuze, Gilles. 1989. Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Heidegger, Martin. 1938. “Die Zeit des Weltbildes.” In Gesamtausgabe I. Band 5 Holzwege. Frankfurt am Main: Viktorio Klostermann.

Strehle, Samuel. 2011. “Hans Belting: ‘Bild-Antropologie’ als Kulturtheorie der Bilder.” In Kultur: Theorien der Gegenwart, edited by Stephan Moebius and Dirk Quadflieg, 507–18. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.