My conception of beauty is not a piece of sparkling jewelry that seduces at first glance, but something discovered, as if by a blind person on hands and knees, exploring the earth through touch. I am interested in acoustic debris—sounds we often like to pretend aren’t there: the hiss of breath escaping a wind player’s embouchure or the rattle of moisture collecting inside their instrument, the gentle thump of digital piano keys or the creaks and groans of a bench underneath the musician playing them.
These are sounds of effort, sounds of intention, reflecting bodily and mechanical engagement. They evoke not a grand, developmental narrative but the simple truth of proximity. Another person is there, as I am here. We occupy the same space. And while she may be focused on executing a particularly technical passage, or shaping delicate nuances of melodic contour, I am free to hold her debris sounds in gentle awareness. I feel the room in which they resonate. The stillness. For whatever transformations a piece might undergo, however violent it might get, these acoustic artifacts speak of more basic things: breathing, pressure, friction, the negotiation of performer and instrument. They occupy a different, more enduring temporality, and my attention roams freely.
Points of Inspiration
Sea (2003), Agnes Martin
Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), Robert Rauschenberg
…and some sites worth visiting!