Our presentation refers to the project “Other Spaces—Knowledge through Art.” Funded by FWF Austrian Science Fund, the project brought together artists and scientists, with their differing means of approaching the world. Focusing on Deleuze’s notion that the process of becoming is essential in thinking about philosophy, art, and science, the means at our disposal were those that artists and scientists utilise when writing, composing, staging, philosophising, interpreting, inventing, informing, and so on. The question of which aspects can be seen as common and/or different was not prematurely hypostasised with scientifically formulated theories, but was instead left open, thereby enlarging the realm of possibility for the unexpected or surprising.
The presentation shows the outcomes of a collaboration between conceptual art, cultural sociology, and composition, in the form of an audio-visual production named “Al niente—A Dissolution.” This Italian musical phrase literally says “to nothing,” meaning a diminuendo that fades until nothing is heard anymore—“a living silence” for the video’s makers Adreis Echzehn and Elfie Miklautz, who in this way examine the phenomenology of hearing and time experiences in other spaces.
Their double-screen video with an independent soundtrack by two collaborating composers follows a triple blind concept based on a compilation of music and sounds, videos, texts, and photographs produced by the authors. The focus is upon finding spaces in which everyday temporal constructs are lifted, permitting a deceleration to be experienced. It is about the search for heterotopias in which silence becomes audible, about experiencing the atmosphere of a place through the sense of hearing, thus exploring and exhibiting correspondences between exterior spatial experiences and sound spaces and interior experience spaces.
What we want to discuss after showing the video is the cooperation between artists and a scientist working independently of one another to create a common result that went beyond the differences, showing repetitions with minimal but substantial aberrations and following different paths of transition. Our creation is, so to say, an example of answering the question raised in the call for the conference: “the question of how a communication between heterogenous systems, ‘of couplings and resonance,’ occurs without being predetermined.” We will show and talk about how we composed these resonances and how we created “new couplings that are not accidental but rigorous and at the same time indeterminate.” The challenge for the scientist was working without any concepts and definitions—for example, of silence or nothingness—but instead experimenting with contemplating: trying to find the passage from affections and perceptions to affects and percepts in a Deleuzian sense with the aim to create a bloc of sensations standing for itself, untranslatable into words and assumptions. Contemplating in this way means becoming the percepted part of the world, having passed into it—“We are not in the world, we become with the world; we become by contemplating it . . . Becoming animal, plant, molecular, becoming zero” (Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, 169).