Mort

tangiblemode-studio was founded by Natalie McQuade and Pablo Arcent in 2013 and is currently based in Barcelona. Our core team, collaborators and advisors include film-makers, architects, poets, app developers, script-writers, sound-artists, engineers, video-artists, neighbours, voice-actors, linguists, musicologists, scientists as well as international experts in business and new tech companies.

< SITE info

STUDIO notes >

Pablo Arcent draws on a wide experience in the field of advanced music. For more than a decade, he developed high level professional activity both as a performer and as an acoustic and digital composer. From the late 2000's, his work quite naturally expanded into certain knowledge, research and creation fields sometimes deeply overflowing the aesthetic plane, also individual-creativity based production. Nowadays, he is rather interested in a new type of non-focal, scattered, distributed creativity – something traversing us rather than radiating from a privileged point. A permanent catching up with the latest coding languages and techniques; a growing interest in computational linguistics or the non-aesthetic aspects involved in dataset sonification; the architecture of feasible collective intelligence platforms; the research on new physical and cognitive interfaces able to give us back a congruence between what we see, hear and touch… are some of his current concerns.

Natalie McQuadeʼs interests and background in music, bio-psychology, philosophy and visual arts were drawn together in her thesis: “Thresholds Between Knowing and Not Knowing…” (2008) which dealt with disruptions in perception as a creative tool. Since then, her work has continued in a multimodal vein – one of her major, ongoing projects sees her building/reconstructing the human head as part sculpture, part microphone attachment for recreating 3D sound scenes. Her works have also become somewhat less ʻher ownʼ and more naturally collaborative, attracting expertise from a wide range of fields from within both arts and sciences. Expanding her horizons beyond her native Melbourne and Australia –both online and offline– she began collaborating abroad in 2011 based on shared interests in not just the content of work, but addressing many of the issues surrounding what it is to be making things in the 2010s…

STUDIO FOUNDATIONS

The creation of tangiblemode-studio in 2013 meant both a particular answer and a transformative proposal in response to a certain state of things. We place our innovation efforts into the broad realm of cognitive production and its latest –ever changing, richly unstable– modes of reception. The central goal: building an independent, self-sustainable production platform under the highest possible standards of technical and financial solvency. Far away from conceptualist and immaterial stances, we approach cognitive objects, experiences or events as material, tangible things. In so doing, we get rid of misleading mythologies (including “self mythologies”) and all kinds of obsolescent ʻlabelsʼ potentially distorting a fresh reception of new content possibilities. From a deeper understanding of the latest modes of cognitive reception, we want to make one not just feel, hear, see or understand ʻimmaterialʼ forces but also touch them as things, play them as instruments… We even treat perceptions as things: complex, labyrinth-like things

<

tangiblemode

SITE YOU

This site aims to talk to a variety of different people from many different backgrounds. As for the professionals we are addressing, the range of profiles is quite broad given the amount of input-modes covered. Among others, we are specially talking to:

tangiblemode

>

José Tomé is a sound-designer, sound-artist and video-artist.

He graduated in 2003, specialising in Film-Sound at the School of Cinematography and Audiovisual of Madrid (E.C.A.M.). Since his graduation, he has worked as a sound-designer for film, television and advertising. In his ten years of work, he has made more than 50 projects which include several feature films, documentary films and video-art pieces. In 2013, he was a candidate –for the third consecutive year– for the ASECAN Awards for his sound work on the feature film, “The Extraordinary Tale” – recognition that is also attached to the sound-design award received in 2007 for his work on “Diente por Ojo”. Within sound-art, experimental-film and installation, he has carried out several works for museums and art fairs. After the project, “En la Máquina”, Tomé made the experimental short film, “Triadic”, on the spaces left behind by humans and recovered by nature (film currently in distribution). Presently, he continues to develop his activity as a sound-artist, video-artist and film sound-designer along with teaching activities.

José Tomé is the co-author –along with Pablo Arcent– of the documentary film, exp_antiGravity. Its transmedia treatment will be developed by tangiblemode-studio in full coordination with both authors.

Most of the visual material present on this info-page (pictures, screenshots from videotracks) consists of José Tomé's shooting during the production of exp_antiGravity.

Alessandra Rombolá is a flutist working in both the classical-contemporary and free improvisation music fields.

Born in Italy, she has been based in Madrid since the early 2000s where she has developed major activity as an interpreter, improviser and teacher. Her teaching is especially focused on extended-techniques for the flute. She teaches both regularly and through special workshops wherein pupils are put straight into contact with the latest international creations of the repertoire as well as with real live-concert situations. She is currently a soloist of the Vertixe Sonora Ensemble (based in Santiago de Compostela, Spain) – one of the latest cutting edge ensembles within the European contemporary music arena.

Alessandra joined in as a collaborator for the scene, “architecture_improvisation”, of the documentary, exp_antiGravity. The scene was shot on 15th May, 2012, at Intermediae Matadero (new art space, Madrid). It consisted of a ʻ4 partʼ dialogue about different ways of understanding music practice, either from the object-based prism (architecture, composition) or as a process/experience (flow, improvisation). Within the scene, Alessandra perfectly embodies the kind of infrequent ʻhybridʼ personality, equally proficient both at interpreting and improvising. By the way, she consciously bears and holds in time this little –so-called– artistic ʻschizophreniaʼ without needing to make any kind of definitive professional choice between ʻjust performingʼ or ʻjust improvisingʼ. This double feature turns her profile into a very special musical profile.

As for the shooting of the documentary film's scene, “architecture_improvisation”, besides Alessandra's remarkable contributions to the conversation –as a well reputed specialist ʻon both sidesʼ (the complex fix-notated contemporary music on the one hand, the unwritable real-time on the other)– she gifted us a wonderful introduction to her own artistic profile while talking directly to the camera in a charming combination of honest, straight-forward descriptions with deep personal and artistic implications.

Francisco Carreño Espinosa is a poet.

In a somewhat less realistic way, we could also introduce him as a Filologist or even as a Master in Museography and Art Curator. Furthermore, in the last years he has made successful incursions in the field of short film. Speaking of mundane success, in 2011, he was one of the four finalists of the biggest, fattest, Hispanic literary award, Premio Planeta de Novela, with an excellent novel, “La segunda vida”. Out of his poetry books, our favourite ones are “Calblanque” (2006), “Todos los Días” (2008) and “El libro de los errores” (2011). He has also written many essays and catalogue-texts for exhibitions and often gives lectures and live poetry recitals.

Paco was invited to participate as a collaborator –along with the writers, José Pazó and Martín Rodríguez-Gaona– in the scene, “el sonido de las palabras” (the sound of words), within the documentary film, exp_antiGravity. The scene was shot on 15th May, 2012, in a little chapel on the outskirts of Madrid. It involved a set of individual and conversational interventions between the three characters as well as the occasional reading of short fragments of their own works. The core of the conversation revolves around the sonic dimension of words. Together with them, we wonder about the recent resurgence of the poetic “orality” between the younger generations of poets and writers, resurgence linked to a growing interest by the performative dimension within poetic practices. Beating under all of this –as pointed out by Martin Rodriguez-Gaona in one of his recent books–: “the certainty that the verbal art keeps all its validity”.

In addition to the previous collaboration, we can say that Paco takes a central place in the current production of tangiblemode-studio. At present, we are fully immersed in the development of the project, TLD – a multimodal production for everyday-use touch devices having its semantic and sound centres in his –in every sense– huge poetry book, “Todos los Días”.

Adolfo Núñez is a composer and industrial engineer.

He was the designer and, for more than two decades, chief of the LIEM (Laboratory of Informatics and Electronic Music) within the –now defunct– Centre for the Diffusion of Contemporary Music (Ministry of Culture, Spain).

We interviewed Adolfo on 24th October, 2011, for the documentary film, exp_antiGravity, during its first stage of production. On the occasion of the then imminent disappearance of the CDMC and LIEM, he agreed to be interviewed at the Centro Reina Sofía's space – for more than two decades occupied by LIEM (Laboratory of Computer and Electronic Music). At that point, the space was about to be literally dismantled. Rather than focussing on nostalgic aspects and ʻweepingʼ on the unfortunate upcoming situation, we decided to concentrate energies in a set of critical reflections that, in addition to assessing the considerable historical achievements of the LIEM, looked directly towards the future.

As a privileged witness of the institutionally troubled times for Contemporary Music in Spain, we very especially appreciate Adolfo Núñez's sincere and insightful collaboration.

José Manuel Costa is an art critic, visual and sound art curator.

He has an ample trajectory in the fields of radio (Onda Dos FM, Radio 3, Radio El País, Radio Clásica RNE), press (El País, co-founder of dossier ABC de las artes, founder of Culturas/diario Público) and specialised music, visual-art and sound-art magazines (ArteConTexto, Exit). For over 13 years, he has been a correspondent of ABC in Berlin and London, with wide critical curatorial activity parallel in both cities. Among his most recent activities, we emphasise especially his curation of the sound-art exhibition, ARTe SONoro (Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2010), as well as the radio programme, Via Límite (Radio Clásica RNE, National Radio of Spain).

On 18th May, 2012, during the exhibition, “Arte Oído”, held at Caixa Forum in Madrid, we shot a collaboration with José Manuel for the documentary, exp_antiGravity. We very especially appreciated, given on the one hand, his wide experience in the issues raised and, on the other hand, his very particular voice: such a characteristic way of talking openly, from a wide perspective though with a total absence of patronising the audience.

Concerning José Manuel, in fact, it didn't take us much effort to connect pretty immediately or to clear up the big lines of the conversation since, in a way, everything seemed to flow and interweave quite naturally. We started by considering some historical, artistic, social, even political implications of terms such as “experimental music”, “sound-art”, –straight–“music”, “contemporary music”. We wonder about the possible existence of conscious confrontation or differentiation strategies –including the linguistic ones– between “sound-art” and so-called “contemporary music” or, on the contrary, the possibility of more spontaneously emerging divergences between them based on mere historial and sociological reasons. We also asked him about the role of the new critic –if any– in front of those new scenarios characterised by media hybridisation, overproduction, full and permanent accessibility, unstable valuation criteria –or lack thereof–, even the impossibility of establishing any fixed difusion/reception spaces for all those practices under the label, “sound-art”.

Throughout the scene, José Manuel brought up various major points of interest, all of them linked to the central question here: the new art critic. Within a scenario filled with complexity and overproduction, ideas such as anonymous criteria or scattered criteria (diffuse, distributed criteria) would seem to be be pointing towards new art critics now understood as a set of emerging phenomena rather than the consequence of any kind of ʻauthorityʼ. All that, boosted by his almost unlimited faith in ʻaverageʼ people and their individual capabiliites to come to spontaneous appreciative criteria far from indoctrination. At the same time, from the point of view of the reception of such proposals, he highlighted the idea of ʻexperienceʼ –replacing certain principles of contemplation– a sort of ʻfloatingʼ relationship with the presence or –sometimes, total– absence of an object. All this suggests a type of critique able to consider much more extensive sets of relationships, a kind of appreciation capable –in its complexity– of overflowing the traditional idea of contemplating objects.

José Manuel contributed, in short, material of the highest interest. As we re-listen to his reflections, we can't help to feel as the listeners of his radio programme, “Via Límite”, normally do: above all, this is about a normal guy talking for normal people, no haughty voices… That could be in itself –between many other possible ones– not a bad definition for the new art critic we were looking for. What if it is no longer necessary to wait for distant futures? What if this new critique has already started and is here to stay and evolve…?

José Luis Besada is a musicologist and composer.

When it comes to define himself, he prefers the –more inclusive– term, musician. He received a degree in Mathematics (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) as well as a Master in Composition and Musicology (Université Paris 8), both titles received in 2010 –which indirectly talks about his youth. Currently, he is about to finish his Ph.D., co-supervised by Makis Solomos (University Paris 8 –biographer of Xenakis–) and Belen Perez Castillo (Universidad Complutense). Since 2003, he has been professionally active as a teacher, collaborator in newspapers and specialized magazines (AudioClásica, 2007) as well as contributor in radio programmes (RNE-Radio Clásica). He is also currently an Artistic Collaborator at the Centro Superior de Enseñanza Musical Katarina Gurska in Madrid. He has received the most prestigious scholarships and already has several publications and academic papers.

As a collaborator, we shot the scene, “música y cálculo” (music and calculus), with José Luis within the film documentary, exp_antiGravity. The shooting took place on 17th May, 2012, in Madrid. The scene covers both affinities and insurmountable distances between music and mathematics (and sometimes, more generally, beween musical/artistic thinking and scientific thinking). Taking this first consideration as a starting point, we moved into some more direct implications such as the notion of truth, both in mathematics and music (could we speak of ʻmusical truthʼ in the same sense we talk about mathematical truth?). We also briefly hit on the different types of “logic” that –inspired by an article of the French composer, scientist and philosopher, François Nicolas– could ʻtutorʼ musical thinking: mathematical logic, physical logic, psycho-philosophical logic. Finally, we focused around the principles of “calculation” and “calculability” in music: notions such as applicability and instrumentality of maths –and science in general– in music as well as the haptic sense of calculation (maths as a utensil, an artistic tool). Even the sense of historicity –either understood as evolutive or not– can set insurmountable distances or, perhaps, incommensurable methodologies when it comes to understanding, predicting or validating scientific-mathematic or artistic-musical propositions.

About José Luis, though we were already aware of his high communication capabilities, we were struck by his rhythm, a very particular intellectual timing and quality: the right balance between speed and clarity, density and concision, even the right combination of formal and casual styles. All of that was brilliantly brought together by him while facing one of the shortest and, at the same time, complex and dangerously ʻspecialisedʼ scenes ever shot by us to that point.

Juan Antonio Lleó is a composer and digital artist.

From a deeply multidisciplinary background, his work unfolds in the fields of electroacoustic composition, computer-art and nano-art.

In addition to his outstanding collaboration as interviewed within the documentary, exp_antiGravity, we are indebted to Juan Antonio for having served as ʻambassadorʼ for the centre of Material Physics of the CSIC (Spanish National Centre for Advanced Scientific Research) – facilitating the inclusion of top quality scientific content as a relevant part of the documentary film.

As all of the above suggests, the artistic work of Juan Antonio is widely informed by scientific questions. Throughout his personal collaboration, we focused on the tiniest scales of matter. Placing ourselves at these nano-scales, we covered the possible conceptual connection between visual and acoustic elements. We also faced the possible conceptual leap towards an aesthetic perception of all this. Concepts such as scale, dimension, or self-similarity (fractality) led us to introduce the idea of nano-art – an emerging art field which exploits and visually/artistically reprocesses topographic information coming out of magnetic force microscopes. In this regard, Juan Antonio has developed his own processing tools based on datasets provided by the scientists of the CSIC.

On Pedro López, we could venture he is a particularily multifaceted sound-artist, drummer (slesh), programmer-improviser (212code), digital luthier, founder of outstanding netlabels (modisti), article writer and promoter of alternative social networks such as modisti.com and martinica.org.es. However, for a more hi-fi definition, you can visit his own website wherein he funnily introduces himself as “a computer-based system that offers superior performance, flexibility and reliability. It has been designed to save time in installation and troubleshooting, but it is still very important that the field personnel who work with this equipment familiarize themselves with this manual before attempting to listen their works.

We shot a film documentary (exp_antiGravity) collaboration with Pedro on 14th May, 2012, in Madrid, Spain. The scene was planned as a casual encounter/conversation with him. The conversation slid over different tags we had previously agreed on and scripted in a very atomised, even ʻchaoticʼ way: meaningfully chaotic. We covered issues such as production, over-production, re-production, “real”-time, live-coding, writing, form as set of interactions, pattern, model/modelisation, body, word, platform, instrument, touch, space, fidelity, poetry, filtering, gravity

As expected, Pedro's voice turned that little jungle of abstract emptiness into a fully embodied conceptual planet wherein our original tags interwove together in very natural, precise ways – however, never fully closed ways. That was, by the way, a terribly windy evening and we clearly seemed to walk with the wind in so many aspects… One of those days when you should not forget –while deeply enjoying a nice conversation– you are still working, after all.

An extraordinary contribution that we won't stop appreciating, Pedro.

Alberto Posadas is a composer.

He was awarded the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s National Music Prize in 2011.

Alberto's remarkable music production nowadays is strongly shaped by having met Francisco Guerrero in 1988. [Without nostalgia, that was still a world of roots, branches, accumulated artisan skills, masters and pupils…]. He studied composition with Guerrero, discovered some new composition techniques incorporating non trivial uses of combinatorics and fractal geometry applied to music. From such a powerful boost, Alberto came to develop some compositional approaches he can today call his own: the translation of architectural spaces into music, the application of topology and painting techniques related to perspective or the exploration of the acoustic features of instruments at a micro level. Also, in a self-taught way, he studied and explored the possibilities of electroacoustic music. His work came to cover the connections between music and other art fields such as dance and video-art through devices for gesture capture, image analysis and transformation of sound in real-time (Glossopoeia, Cuatro Escenas Negras / respectively in collaboration with Richard Siegal and Carlos Franklin / 2009, IRCAM).

We shot a large collaboration scene with Alberto Posadas within the film documentary, exp_antiGravity, on 19th May, 2012, at Teatros del Canal in Madrid. The scene shows a strongly objectual and architectural approach to the practice of music composition. In other words, someone ʻstillʼ deeply interested in the building of the “thing” (“less concept and more object”, he comes to state).

In a concatenated sequence, almost as a series of flavours, these would be some of the issues so generously covered by Alberto throughout his collaboration:

MATERIALITY: the unquestionable materiality of music, not just as a physical acoustic evidence but as a transmitter of information over measurable time-units. GRAVITY: his interest in so-called ʻoverloadedʼ music. COMPLEXITY: the profitable richness of complexity, multiple reading layers, multidirectional time. PERCEPTION: human perceptual limitations as an exploitable factor (resistence within perception). Perceptual sedentarism (resistence to perception, the ideas of static perceptual-angle and perceptual angle-shift). The listener as a composer (“listening is a composition adventure”), the listening mechanism approached as a composition system in and of itself. SPACE: historical lag between the physical listening-space and the new acoustic realities. Space as a compositional parameter. The idea of modular space at very different levels (“any contemporary space definitely needs to be a modular space”). INSTRUMENT: the idea of micro-instrumentation as the exploration of intermediate spaces within a given instrument (assuming the finiteness of objects: “writing for a clarinet can be something highly ambitious”). Re-appropriating traditional instruments as “found-objects”. FORMALISATION: common misunderstandings around the ideas of “flexible” and “formalised” within a composition process (natural formalisation, non-imposed methodologies, found-principles). MUSICALITY & RELATIONAL ʻNEEDʼ: (“I cannot really demarcate what is ʻmusicalʼ from what it is not”), objectual musicality, relationship sets inside objects. Concept of raw-material. The soundscape as a –not-necessarily musical– sound-fact. The (anti)-Cage paradox: “the non-intervention is also a way of intervention”. Manipulating, constructing, transforming the raw-matter as a way of “opening” (“and that doesn't mean closing things but, well on the contrary, opening them!”). SOUND-ART: the term. Positioning in front of the sound-art (“sound-art focuses in the merely generative rather than constructive facts”) (“The generative approach seems to me quite interesting… just for its first 10 seconds”). The wideness of the term contemporary music. CONTEMPORARY MUSIC: strongly objectual approaches, “less concept and more object”. CONTEMPORARY MUSICOLOGIES: musicology, contemporary music and sound-art, a critique of certain “cheap” postmodern musicology. The limits of the just-humanistic approach to highly technical music.


By the way, this is not such a thing as the index of a treatise or anything like that… The points above reflect a mere summary of a long, rich conversation. On the other hand, the advantage of certain music approaches, besides how consistently they can be worded, is that finally they donʼt need words at all to stay standing.

Jean Pierre Dupuy is a pianist, conductor and pedagogue.

As a performer, he is considered by the critics as one of the indispensable interpreters within classical-contemporary piano music, a repertoire that roughly extends from the second decade of the last century to these days. Dupuy is also a creator in multiple facets, including the foundation of specialised music ensembles (Solar Vortices), innovative pedagogy projects (Europe, U.S.A.), music publishing as well as world premieres of over 400 hundred works by leading and emerging composers. Among his discography, the live recital of Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano by John Cage, published by Milano Dischi’s Stradivarius collection, stands out as a reference recording.

Within the documentary, exp_antiGravity, Jean Pierre offered us a double collaboration scene shot at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid (12-14th May, 2012). Firstly, we filmed one of his materclasses dedicated to the works of John Cage for prepared piano. His second collaboration consists of a beautiful conversation about fundamentals of the pianistic interpretation from a contemporary view-point, all filtered by his wide experience as a performer. Within the views shown –far from any dualism between material and aesthetic realms– physics, technique and philosophical aspects naturally overlap, which we deeply appreciated.

We are confident that, with Jean Pierre, this will not be the last collaboration, since the key themes that this double scene brought about suggest more that one zoom-in

Our appreciation to Jean Pierre involves both gratitude and a deep fascination for his lifelong career combined with such an uncommon blend of depth, beauty and naturalness in the way he conveys things.

Clara Eslava and Miguel Tejada are two urban planner/designer architects.

Especially well known for their project, “Tejido urbano” (Urban tissue) 2004 –winner of the competition for the re-development of Serrano Street, one of the main streets in Madrid– executed between 2007 and 2011. In 2005, they founded together the studio, Eslava&Tejada architects. Both Clara and Miguel, beyond well proven professional skills, are individually characterised by perceiving, thinking and making proposals that fall far beyond the rigid areas of creativity traditionally associated with the profession of architect. All that ends up reversing architecturally in their favour, in the most refreshing and successful ways. Above all, they are really the kind of people you deeply enjoy to collaborate with.

Along with the composer, Juan José Eslava, Clara and Miguel participated in the scene, “spaces for the listening”, within the second production stage of the documentary film, exp_antiGravity. This collaboration was shot on 13th May, 2012, at Intermediae-Matadero (new art space, Madrid). As for their respective individual contributions to the scene, a recent academic article by Clara Eslava –“El columpio (peso, equilibrio, vértigo y vuelo)”– triggered a whole conversation on primary emotions linked to the way as physical space gets experienced during childhood. Certain objects and principles around stable/unstable spaciality, such as swing, pendulum, suspension, flight, flotation…, were later on extrapolated to the experience of ʻlisteningʼ to sounds, both in time and space.

As far as Miguel is concerned, we brought up a well known TED talk by David Byrne (2010) as a starting point for further reflections, the main subject being –exactly as formulated by Byrne– “does the venue make the music?” In principle, it was about determining whether certain music works and practices “fit” or “do not fit” any given spaces. However, the question may also be reversed by bringing about the possibility for current sound creations –from their unique complexity and perceptual requirements–, to come to shape or fully determine some utterly new ways of sound-oriented architecture: the new listening spaces.

We bet both Clara and Miguel will be surprised about the extremely beautiful, engaging and wide ranging material they have helped to generate. Apart from our deep appreciation, we feel kind of proud of having got them into this…

Natalie McQuade is an Australian artist working in the fields of visual arts, music and sound art.

She holds a Master of Fine Art (sculpture, sound, installation) from RMIT University and has completed music studies in composition, cello and recorder. She also has a background in psychology and philosophy.

Besides having performed a collaboration scene for the documentary film, exp_antigravity, she is the co-founder of tangiblemode-studio (2013) together with Pablo Arcent.

Natalie's collaboration for exp_antigravity includes a fascinating scene in between performance and interview. The scene was shot at Centro de Arte Reina Sofía's square in Madrid, on the 24th October, 2011. It focuses on her work in 3D-binaural field recordings via dummy-heads that she built and sculpted herself, following most advanced physics-acoustics and prosthetics methods.

Within tangiblemode-studio, along with Pablo Arcent, Natalie currently directs and develops projects such as: exp_antiGravity, TLD (Todos los días), instantFrog, dummy-heads project as well as the ʻearphoneʼ festival. All of these projects involve numerous external international partners and interface with a wide range of cognitive disciplines.

Cristina Rodrigo is a visual artist.

After graduating at Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad Complutense of Madrid, she obtained an Erasmus Scholarship to study at Staatliche Akademie des Bildende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany, with professor Christian Jankowski. During her stay in Stuttgart, she developed a special interest in installations and video-art. She participated in an exchange programme in San Francisco between the Staatliche Akademie des Bildende Kunst Stuttgart and California College of art. Subsequently, she lived in Berlin for 4 years. Her paintings can currently be found in the Gallery Antonio de Suñer, Madrid.

Cristina surprised us with a nice collaboration – in this case, not directly related with her professional skills. Sometimes, these kinds of 'dislocated’, on-the-go collaborations get to work especially well. On the other hand, the close-up sound of a voice tells you much more than the voice means or thinks to be saying…

On the occasion of the project, instantFrog, we asked Cristina to join José Pazó (the author of El libro de la rana, the central piece inspiring the project) in the reading of some fragments of the book. Directed voice-recording sessions took place on 23rd May and 2nd July, 2013, in Madrid.

In sum, lots of thanks, Cristina, for such a refreshing contribution to instantFrog's phonetic landscape!


photo (video-still) from “Cristina Rodrigo: Tierra de Sombra Natural”,
produced by CB Mediacade Motion Media

Ángel Arranz is a composer, sonologist and musicologist, associate researcher at the Institute of Sonology of The Hague since 2008.

Some territories that define his work: the utilisation of time as a constructional matter through applied mathematics; spatiality in physical, structural and notational domains; organicism by means of the study of morphology of the natural forms and biological processes; affinity with deconstructivism and the Baroque universe; the interdisciplinary approaches to other arts, especially the relationship between architecture and music.

On 24th October, 2011, at the café&bookshop, “La Libre”, in Lavapiés (Madrid), as part of the production of the film documentary, exp_antiGravity, we shot a conversation between Ángel and the musicologist, Isaac Diego, around the general subject of musical notation and the different ways of understanding this –rather inherited– phenomenon of the music score within contemporary music contexts. The conversation quite spontaneously expanded into various unforeseen topics, though.

We were already familiar with both the depth and quality of Ángel's approaches but we also deeply admired the freshness and intellectual oomph that –from both parts– that semi-improvised conversation came to reach (they had literally first met one another for the conversation). During the scene shot at the café, noises, words and even full pieces of conversation coming from other tables sneaked into our own table in a lovely, unpredictable, ʻsemanticʼ noise colouring each of the intervieweeʼs sentences…

In general, the conversational dynamics between Ángel and Isaac started evidencing two significantly distant intellectual stances (in a way, quite normal, given their respective profiles). However, it ended up by showing a strong convergence that we could call “generational” in that it involves some key aspects and common problems faced by the latest generations of composers and sound artists beyond their specific approaches.


THE CONVERSATION (from Ángelʼs view)

Contrary to Isaac, Ángel assumes a still valid role for written SCORES, a strong sense of AUTHOR's responsibility embodied in the composer, the PERFORMER as a mediator –in the case of instrumental music. He is deeply aware of certain inherited ʻconstraintsʼ surrounding the materiality of the CONCERT, the nature of which is apparent, however, not necessarily inalterable. Rather than denying CONVENTION, Ángel aims at disrupting it or re-interpreting it. As for the score itself, it is understood as a “trip” from the almost complete ABSTRACTION (mathematical and architectural principles, pure time-DESIGN) to a set of elements meant to be more and more determined, concrete, ʻrealisedʼ. However, Ángel considers that both poles ABSTRACTION / SCORE, rather than defining a single dichotomy, they represent the two ends within a wide range of possible accesses to musical ENJOYMENT. As for the RESPONSIBILITY of the composer, Ángel understands the composer somehow as a ʻtime illusionistʼ, someone meant to re-create time in front of the listener. The performer becomes the carrier of a sort of ʻcodified complexityʼ –meaning a sequence of operations as simple, straightforward and fluent as possible so that time can be properly re-created without much obstacle. The AUDIENCE, according to Ángel, receives a ʻmixtureʼ radiation of the two elements before, namely, the plain of maximum complexity (composer) and the plain of maximum ʻsimplicityʼ –i.e. operational-fluidity. That places the audience in a somewhat intermediate, mixed plane with respect to composer and performer. At some point, the conversation starts to converge, mostly from a joint critique of the historical “logocentrism” of Western culture, the PREPONDERANCE of the VISUAL over the AUDIBLE being one of its most straightforward expressions. On the musical realm, the latter leads to both a certain “pathological” overestimation of the score-object and the –not less pathological– impossibility of taking direct access to the sonic world per se, without symbolic mediations whatsoever. Historically speaking, for both of them, the audible domain should recover its centrality over the visual. However, Ángel does not see much of a problem in the score itself though he proposes to hold a permanent state of rethinking/recycling/update of it. For the composer, a new kind of awareness comes out of the SOUND CRAFT itself: “crafting the two poles sound/score more in the manner of pure electroacoustic music composers” (then coming back to score and notation with an expanded awareness of the physical reality of sounds to be ʻrepresentedʼ). From the SONIC as CENTRE, the conversation shifts into the possibility of establishing new identities for SPACES, sound-based identities. This naturally connects with the subject of CONCERT SITUATIONS, a new agreement point here between Ángel and Isaac. Both equally assume the heavy –sometimes unbearable– HISTORICAL WEIGHT of the traditional concert hall, its rites, its solemnity… Their ways of dealing with this common concern are, however, different. Ángel brings up the idea of “DELOCALISED CONCERT-SPACE” whereby “temporality becomes emancipated from the space”. It is not just about using alternative, previously unconsidered spaces and social situations but –in a strongly technological approach– the capability of re-creating a space within another space by means of advanced virtual acoustics systems. He more specifically refers to the latest WFS systems (Wave Field Synthesis) and, as an example, a whole concert-season implementation in Holland, where the idea of space-within-space directly produces utterly new concert geometries: more flexible and open LISTENING SITUATIONS as well as socially richer (more diverse audiences). The final segment of the conversation shows a new point of mutual convergence on something nowadays crucial: the new awareness on economic models making current art-creation both possible and sustainable. The exhaustion of most INSTITUTIONAL MODELS –inherited from the last century– makes the ʻinventionʼ of new ECONOMIC MODELS for art probably more necessary than ever before in history. In this sense, it seems that artistic creativity and ʻeconomic creativityʼ should be brought together, almost in equal terms. In other words, art does need to become not just creatively relevant but also economically ʻSUSTAINABLEʼ as a high-end human practice. The kind of “CREATIVE PRESSURE” coming out of all that is found by Ángel as something “deeply stimulating” nowadays. Finally, they didn't need to avoid any “crisis” awareness to conclude that –apocalyptic folklore aside– present times are actually incredibly promising times.


As you can see, summing-up Ángelʼs thoughts is not precisely an easy task. Well, if this is a super-squeezed string of headlines, guess how the real conversation could be…

By the way, right after this conversation, Ángel incidentally made his way into another scene of the film documentary –in principle, as a listener but soon becoming a keen ʻquestionerʼ–, the one featuring Natalie McQuade and her dummy-heads. In a fully spontaneous way, he contributed to make the scene even richer than already expected. What to say… Thanks, Ángel, for being so generous!

José Pazó is a writer, translator and philologist.

He is an associate professor at Universidad Autónoma of Madrid (area of Spanish Language) and also teaches at the New York University in Madrid as well as at the Ortega y Gasset Foundation. His first area of expertise is morphology, although his general interest also covers Spanish as a second language and the acquisition of morphology and the lexicon. José is also a cartoonist; author of “El libro de la rana” (Langre editions), and; translator of “Botchan” (Impedimenta editions), “Kiki de Montparnasse. Recuerdos recobrados” (Nocturna editions) and “Un occidental en Japón” (Nocturna editions), among others.

Along with the writers, Francisco Carreño and Martín Rodríguez-Gaona, we invited José to participate as a collaborator in the scene, “el sonido de las palabras” (the sound of words), within the documentary film, exp_antiGravity. The scene was shot on 15th May, 2012, in a little chapel on the outskirts of Madrid. It involved a set of individual and conversational interventions between the three characters as well as the occasional reading of short fragments of their own works. The core of the conversation revolves around the sonic dimension of words. In the course of the conversation, José bursts in with a curious “theory” –half fantastic, half poetic, perhaps not fully scientific but quite believable, in fact– about men in caverns, gravity and vocal cords. His thesis suggests the improbability that the vocal cords were remotely originated for speech purposes…

José ends up the scene by reading some fragments of his work, “El libro de la rana” (The book of the frog). This singular book, published in 2011 (Langre), has directly inspired –in collaboration with Pazó, himself, among others– one of our more special ongoing productions, instantFrog, featuring multimodal content for tablets and smartphones through interwoven visual, sonic and haptic elements.

Juan Andrés Beato is a Technical Telecommunications Engineer, specialising in Acoustics Engineering and Mastering Engineering.

He is also a self-taught musician who started up working as a professional band musician, also in improvisation and experimental pop projects. Since the year 2000, he has worked as a sound engineer at LIEM (Laboratory of Computer and Electronic Music/Spanish Ministery of Culture), assisting composers (studio and concert based jobs) as well as developing computer applications based on PD and MAX/MSP.

For a start, something needs to be said. We find it quite shocking the way –in certain music creation contexts– roles, hierarchies and weights keep being applied when it comes to developing art projects with highly technological and collaborative implications. All these ʻmisunderstandingsʼ are usually rooted in obsolete ways of understanding creation and creativity as somewhat dissociated from the technical/technological aspects involved… From this mythical, romantic, individualistic approach to music creation (the indivisible genius, the score as almost ʻsacredʼ revelation text and things like that), we could bump into a whole range of problematic concepts needing to be addressed and, in a way, updated…

We place the collaboration offered by the sound engineer, Juan Andrés Beato, for the film documentary, exp_antiGravity, as a major testimonial contribution in order to address the present and future of the tecno-art creation far from rather inexplicable anachronisms. The scene was shot at the MNCARS (Centro Reina Sofia) on 17th May, 2012. Located within the very same room –back then already semi-empty due to dismantling works– occupied by the LIEM (Laboratory of Computer and Electronic Music) for more than two decades until a few weeks ago, Juan Andrés talked to us from his wide experience collaborating with artists, specialised software development and live concert –computing and electronics– experience. Over the last decade, Juan Andrés has decisively participated in projects related to electroacoustic and live electronics music, sound-art, pedagogy and radio-art. Numerous public activities connected to the LIEM were publicly framed within the –also defunct– CDMC (Centre for the Diffusion of Contemporary Music). In addition to a large memory of professional collaboration with artists, with Juan Andrés we covered the recent disappearance of both CDMC and LIEM, the remote and recent context, the possible causes, the relationship with similar facts suffered by other major European public cultural institutions and the possible mid and long term consequences for artistic creation.

In sum, Juan Andrés positions himself with total eloquence in front of issues such as horizontal collaboration between engineer/software-developer/artist, the possible aging of the XXth century rooted idea of electroacoustic creation lab (even the general idea of studio-lab), the relationship between production and listening, the upcoming new spaces for listening… As we said, Juan Andrés ends up by showing his own perspective about the disappearance of the LIEM-CDMC in close connection with similar events in other European countries (GMEC, Bourges). As happened with Adolfo Núñez's collaboration, we very especially appreciated Juan Andrés Beato's capability not to fall into mere protest but, from a critical, constructive point of view, put all the energy on what should be re-thought and re-built from right now facing the immediate future.

Miguel Álvarez-Fernández is a sound artist, composer, musicologist, curator of projects of sound art and music producer.

Since 2008, he has directed and presented the weekly radio programme, Ars Sonora (Radio Clásica/RNE, Spain).

In Autumn 2011, we interviewed Miguel as part of the first production stage for the documentary film, exp_antiGravity. That was the end of a gruelling day at the first edition of Sound-in (sound-art and experimental music section within the Multiple Arts Fair, Estampa in Madrid), co-curated by him along with Anne-Françoise Raskin. Seemingly effortlessly, Miguel gave us literally tons of intensity and a handful of ʻliveʼ reflections on several key aspects concerning the sociology and politics of music and sound art. During our recording, the rest of the participants from a just finished international panel –also moderated by him– surrounded us, staring at him while flipping out at his inexhaustible verbal energy…


Miguel started with a general introduction to the fair, Sound-In. He seemed to enjoy the fact that, in parallel to his voice take, the surrounding sound layers were also being recorded. That bustling background spoke for itself. On the rich variety of sound proposals shown within the fair, Miguel states: “I cannot call all this stuff other than ʻmusicʼ. This is music, indeed.” Whether intentionally or not, the rest of the interview was nothing but a set of sociological and political art implications somewhat naturally unfolding from this sentence. Issues such as the strong appropriation of the term, “contemporary music”, by XIX century rooted public institutions; the better receptiveness coming from the visual art world –less prejudging, it seems– when it comes to host and program certain sound practices often rejected for the “music” tradition; the urge to break down symbolic barriers historically linked to the ʻexpertʼ music practice; the ʻelitistʼ implications of “music notation” and its creation of exclusive barriers (“they say: in fact, you donʼt know anything about music”), which, in a way, have contributed to impoverish the potential diversity of audiences (“people donʼt come here to show how big their wisdom is but –if anything– to show how big their curiosity is”); the political-artistic implications of a recent symphony hall use/occupation in Madrid for more general and hybrid sound practices… Concerning the last, when asked if there is a real need for ʻfightingʼ the sound-art presence in these late Romanticism public ʻtemplesʼ instead of letting it be and avoiding any kind of –unnecessary?– conflict (by just using other kinds of spaces), Miguel points out: “what do we really sacrifice by keeping ourselves aside?”, “these public spaces appropriated by late-symphonic music are spaces currently paid for by all of us!”. Congress, Senate, Spanish National Radio or National Auditorium… The conversation ends up in a fully political mood. That was Spain, year 2011, where a major historical, political event –the so-called 15M citizen revolution– still kept radiating heat and thoughts all ’round. In this context, it is easy to understand why Miguel chose to openly state all kinds of political implications –at some points, even bravely– on the covered questions.


We thank Miguel for a rich and energetic contribution – where such a noisy background wasn’t even able to dim any of his thoughts. Though we originally meant to cover his more personal production (performance, composition, installation), it is actually hard to see in Miguelʼs work any kind of meaningful dissociation between personal/collective or even between object/event. That turns a curatorial work like Sound-In –made together with Anne-Françoise Raskin– into a kind of large scale sound production that also speaks for itself as any other kind of sound practice.

José Manuel López López is a composer.

He was awarded the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s National Music Prize in 2000.

Born in Madrid, Spain, José Manuel has lived in France since 1986 after moving there in order to complete his musical training, mainly at Université Paris 8 and at the Pompidou's IRCAM (Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustics/Music). In any case, his specialised training was broad, and the list of personalities that somehow modulated his personality reflects major agents and forces in the European music creation panorama from the second half of the XXth century to nowadays. His professional career officially took off in the early 90s and has kept deeply active at the top level. His path could be characterised by an infrequent combination of work, honesty, wisdom and lots of success. From a deep architectural approach –genuinely European–, José Manuel has covered most of the territories of music creation that can possibly be covered until nowadays. Above all, we like to think of him as someone able to turn the extreme emptiness of concepts such as time or sound-spectrum into deeply meaningful and ʻtangibleʼ entities in front of our ears.

In the spring of 2012, we asked José Manuel for a collaboration within the documentary, exp_antiGravity. He agreed to do so with total generosity and on 16th May, 2012, early in the morning, we were shooting with him a monographic scene, which, as for the rest of the collaborators, was more a thing-driven than a face-driven job. Rather than more or less successful faces, we were mostly interested in conveying a rich series of ideas, methods and findings. And the thing is that we didn't even need to give José Manuel much explanation on our priorities since he naturally approached subjects in that way: rather as a set of forces transversing us all than as mere ego-driven issues. As far as José Manuel is concerned, we dared to bring up some questions at an extremely fundamental level of things, such a level of thinking where a major composerʼs concerns can appear surprisingly close to the basic physicistʼs or philosopherʼs ones.

Time, direction, gravity in music, the fixed and the volatile (in a wink to the title of his work, Lo fijo y lo volátil, one of our favorite ones), writing (coding, software, model), instruments with or without body (gravity/antigravity), the role of the body in the experiences of performing and listening to music, the future of instruments

Lots of things, plenty of generosity all ʼround and a quality of material that, even in its raw state, seemed to us like a fully high-end piece in itself.
We deeply appreciate it.

Anne-Françoise Raskin –among other art related activities– is an art curator.

Her work is linked to Sound-In –the sound-art and experimental music section within the yearly Multiple Arts Fair, Estampa in Madrid, co-curated along with Miguel Álvarez-Fernández–; the platform, Arte y Desarrollo (project manager); as well as the publisher, Continta me tienes.

Anneke participated as a collaborator in the scene, “architecture_improvisation”, within the documentary, exp_antiGravity. The scene was shot on 15th May, 2012, at Intermediae Matadero (new art space, Madrid). It consisted of a ʻ4 partʼ dialogue about different ways of understanding music practice, either from the object-based prism (architecture, composition) or as a process/experience (flow, improvisation). We started from four extremely simple questions, intentionally borderline simplistic questions:


Is it really possible to improvise?


Is it really possible not to improvise at all?


Which component of ʻimprovisationʼ occurs in a musical architecture –apart from the obvious fact of its ʻinterpretabilityʼ in front of written or fixed music?


Which component of ʻarchitectureʼ occurs in an improvisation?


About Anneke –besides that proficient, beautiful Spanish!– we loved her extraordinary conceptual flexibility, such capacity to not necessarily be an advocate of ʻpositionsʼ. We much value her way of listening to every detail with delicate care and being highly reactive to states that the conversation was going through – we insist, without blinding herself with too personal positions to defend. In general, we could say that if the challenge posed to the talkers was in itself an ʻimprovisatoryʼ challenge, Anneke fully proved her skills as an improviser – someone who is not afraid of the disorder within conversational dynamics, nor to the act of thinking together without need for great departure or arrival thesis…

Many thanks for joining this little challenge, Anneke!

Martín Rodríguez-Gaona is a poet, essayist and translator.

Born in Peru, Martin has resided in Spain since the late 90s. He graduated in Communications at the University of Lima. After studying a Master's degree in 1998 in the United States (Bowling Green State University, Ohio, 1998), he settled in Spain. He received an art fellowship at Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid (1999-2001) where he worked thereafter as a cultural manager until 2005. In 2010, he won the International Fellowship of poetry, “Antonio Machado”, of Soria. As a result of his stay in this city, he wrote the poems, “Codex de los poderes y los encantos” (Olifante, 2011). At the end of 2011, he won the poetry prize, XXIV “Caceres Heritage of Humanity”, with his book, “Madrid, línea circular” (La Oficina, 2013).

As a first collaboration, the scene, “el sonido de las palabras” (the sound of words), within the documentary film, exp_antiGravity, features Martín along with the writers, Paco Carreño and José Pazó. The scene was shot on 15th May, 2012, in a little chapel on the outskirts of Madrid. It involved a set of individual and conversational interventions between the three characters as well as the occasional reading of short fragments of their own works. The core of the conversation revolves around the sonic dimension of words. In particular, Martín hits a range of subjects verging on his remarkable essay, “Mejorando lo presente” (Caballo de Troya, 2010). We talked on a certain resurgence of “orality” (spoken poetry) and a set of performative practices attached to it. All these practices would be boosted by more or less ʻunexpectedʼ ways of approaching technology as a double element of re-production and social difussion. In our view, the book represents a milestone in the recent body of essays on new poetry in Spain. Out of it, we were particularly interested in the prospective future that –back then– Martín presented at the last part of his book. He strongly suggested the possibility of natively-digital poetic expressions and communities, namely, those no longer based on mere last-minute ʻadaptationsʼ or ʻtranslationsʼ of pre-existing predigital material. In our view, this lack of really native approaches –i.e., from scratch– to the interface between digital culture and poetry is a very common flaw in most shown proposals on the field nowadays.

Our second collaboration with Martin responds more to what this website defines as services. In this case, it was Martin, himself, who asked us to produce a series of audiotracks as a promotion to the then imminent release of his poetry book, “Madrid, línea circular” (La oficina, 2013). The total content of this commission (24 tracks / 70ʼ / 3D-transaural/Hi-Res audio) encompasses the sound implementation of 14 poems (read by the author) with 11 short audio-clips, which included a casual presentation of the work in the form of a conversation with Martin.


[By the way, out of these 24 audiotracks you might find some highly compressed online material (low rate mp3) around. Don't pay much attention since that is not at all the most suitable presentation of the material and doesn't do any justice to its high quality and interest in many senses. Of course, these online-things happen and sometimes fall totally out of the author's hands and control. In any case, we anticipate that tangiblemode-studio will release, shortly, an official edition of this work in its original Hi-Res audio format].


In conclusion, we would like to highlight both our deep admiration for Martin and a feeling of sincere gratitude for all the shared experiences –including the readings of each of the works here mentioned– contributing to our own work and production lines connected to the field of poetry.

Isaac Diego holds a PhD in Art History and Musicology from the University of Oviedo, Spain. He is currently the art director of PROYECTO 23, an art collective focusing on sound and scenic experimentation from a common background in choral singing.

His commitment to experimental arts and music materialises through articles, texts for art catalogues, lectures and congress communications. As a creator and performer himself, he approaches these practices from a highly critical and disruptive spirit. In addition to his musicological background, he has also studied classical guitar, Renaissance lute, singing (countertenor) and choir conducting.

On 24th October, 2011, at the café&bookshop, “La Libre”, in Lavapiés (Madrid), as part of the production of the film documentary, exp_antiGravity, we shot a conversation between Isaac and the composer, Ángel Arranz, around the general subject of musical notation and the different ways of understanding this –rather inherited– phenomenon of the music score within contemporary music contexts. The conversation quite spontaneously expanded into various more unforeseen topics, though.

The stimulating contribution of Isaac's deeply overflowed the concise script we had passed him just about 2 weeks prior to the shooting. His conversation with Holland-based Spanish composer, Ángel Arranz, turned out to be one of the biggest, nicest surprises in our whole shooting process. He also looked so pleased by the multilingual background noise coming from the surrounding tables and creeping into our one…

In general, the conversational dynamics between Ángel and Isaac started evidencing two significantly distant intellectual stances (in a way, quite normal, given their respective profiles). However, they ended up by showing a strong convergence that we could call “generational” in that it involves some key aspects and common problems faced by the latest generations of composers and sound artists beyond their own specific approaches.


THE CONVERSATION (from Isaacʼs view)

Notational and graphic representation of music had also been a central issue in Isaacʼs PhD thesis, read some two years ago at the Art History and Musicology department, University of Oviedo. Isaac Diegoʼs expertise turned out to be, thus, especially suitable for holding this conversational scene. As a starting point, Isaac criticises the strong “SELF-REFERENTIALISM” within the so-called CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, rooted in early mid XXth century European 2nd Avant-garde. [It could also be pointed out that a score centred self-referentialism has always been present in the European written “music” tradition of all times]. Isaac talks on the lag between sounding result and score itself (historically accumulative). This lag has grown to the point of provoking, in many cases, a complete dissociation whereby the SCORE takes the centre of any possible reflection, analysis or –academically legitimate– aesthetical appreciation. Isaac considers the score phenomenon basically as a set of “illusions”: ILLUSION of CONTROL, ILLUSION of COHERENCE, ANALYTICAL ILLUSION, where time is delusively thought and talked about as something “stoppable” and “seizable” (mistakenly equalised to space itself). Not without humour, Isaac came to speak on the composer’s ONANISM, where creative self-awareness and self-referential scoring meet together. The fact is that all the attention about WORKS has been historically focused on the so-called “poietic level” (Molino, Nattiez) – namely, the cognitive levels around the genesis and production of a composer's work. That has perpetuated a model of access to music almost strictly based on “expertise”. The creation of a set of SYMBOLIC BARRIERS around music notation has also been used as a source of ʻlegitimationʼ. According to Isaac, barriers create unnecessary splits and segregations acting at many levels: composers versus performers, performers versus specialised performers, even composers and performers versus average audiences. At some point, the conversation starts to converge, mostly from a joint critique of the historical “logocentrism” of Western culture, the PREPONDERANCE of the VISUAL over the AUDIBLE being one of its most straightforward expressions. On the musical realm, the latter leads to both a certain “pathological” overestimation of the score-object and the –not less pathological– impossibility of taking direct access to the sonic world per se, without symbolic mediations whatsoever. Historically speaking, for both of them, the audible domain should recover its centrality over the visual. Isaac refers to a sound finally treated “aurally”, without any kind of symbolic mediators. [However –Isaac digresses–, “even if symbolic mediators such as the score dissappeared, wouldnʼt there be any other ʻmediatorsʼ for us to bump into?” Key aspects such as the idea of strong IDENTITY linked to the principles of WORK and AUTHORSHIP, would be worth reconsidering –though we can detect important reconsiderations taking place nowadays, even at a sociological level through “questionings” such as the copyright debate]. Coming back to the VISUAL as a centre relegating the audible, Isaac [quoting the Mexican musicologist Rubén López Cano] brings up the term “FORENSIC MUSICOLOGY” in order to portray a –mostly European– way of analysing [even composing] rooted in the ʻillusionʼ that sound-in-time could be cognitively assimilated to a sort of ʻfrozen timeʼ visually accessible within the written score, supposedly at will. In this sense, Isaac refers to this ʻpathologicalʼ form of “sound imagination” –strongly encouraged by traditional academic environments– whereby students are asked to just look at the score and draw a bunch of conclusions supposedly without needing further ʻreasoningʼ based on real sound sources in action. In sum, once the audible dimension recovers the centre, any proper analysis should expand into much wider SEMANTIC NETWORKS [wherein musical experience gets considered from diverse angles at once – not just the emitter], its nature being basically material, tangible and not symbolically mediated or legitimated. All of this naturally connects with the subject of CONCERT SITUATIONS and a new agreement point, here, between Ángel and Isaac. Both equally assume the heavy –sometimes unbearable– HISTORICAL WEIGHT of the traditional concert hall, its rites, its solemnity… When it comes to the “symbolic violence” involved in a traditional concert hall, we could say Isaac holds an openly ʻSECULARʼ stance. Breaking the almost inescapable “violence” that such a “sacred rite” involves, implies also by itself a new form of ʻviolenceʼ. Isaac claims the introduction of HUMOUR as a disruptive source able to create a certain distance from all these historical connotations [in this sense, he points out that the impossibility of humour of any kind did work historically as another ʻlegitimationʼ factor within the concert as a “sacred rite”]. As for the idea –introduced by Ángel– of “delocalised concert-space”, Isaac draws on contemplating artistic evolution as something no longer “language evolution” based (a typical XXth century aspiration). Implicating a larger number of disciplines and collaborators within a concert EXPERIENCE –Isaac says– means “LETTING YOURSELF BECOME A HYBRID” [the only incovenience of it being, so far, practical – just when you apply for grants or funding and you are forced to tick a box pretending you work as “something very specific”]. Both Ángel and Isaac refer to the urge of RELOCATING CONCERT SPACES [which, in a way, has already started to happen quite naturally and increasingly]. However, this situation stretches further away from the mere physical re-location in that it quite often involves a full SOCIAL RECONFIGURATION [expanding the variety of potential audiences] as well as much more FLEXIBILE LISTENING SITUATIONS. The final segment of the conversation shows a new point of mutual convergence on a nowadays crucial matter: the new awareness on economic models making current art-creation both possible and sustainable. The exhaustion of most INSTITUTIONAL MODELS –inherited from the last century– makes the ʻinventionʼ of new ECONOMIC MODELS for art probably more necessary than ever before. In this sense, Isaac denounces a certain “lack of entrepreneurial imagination” connected to the arts, which has perpetuated a certain dependence (not just in Spain but mostly all over Europe) of deeply endogamic INSTITUTIONAL NETWORKS [mafia-like, he dares to say], “fortunately bordering on extinction”. In any case, both Isaac and Ángel, from a deep awareness of the kind of present times we are passing through (the sort of multidimensional, for some, ʻapocalypticʼ crisis), tend to face it as the most exciting times possible to live in: an authentic opportunity for all of us.


This has been just a sum-up from a priceless contribution, for which we canʼt stop thanking Isaac. Guess how the real conversation will shape up…

Juan José Eslava is a composer.

The most important part of his studies was made in Paris (National Conservatory, IRCAM) where he became student of extraordinarily relevant personalities within the international instrumental, mixed, and electronic music panorama. He has also lived for several years in Tokyo.

Along with Clara Eslava and Miguel Tejada, Juan José took part in the scene, “spaces for the listening”, within the second production stage of the documentary film, exp_antiGravity. The collaboration was shot on 13th May, 2012, at Intermediae-Matadero (new art space, Madrid). He offered us, in fact, a double collaboration: firstly, a delightful conversation with his sister, Clara (connections and leaps: architecture/music); then a personal interview on questions more specifically related to his own work as a composer.

Juan José's collaboration left us with a whole bunch of interesting points. We would particularly highlight the extraordinary importance he attaches to the body and the gesture as musical creation matter, with direct implications on certain new approaches to musical notation. He likes to refer to all that as gesture ecology, or more literally: “ecological work from within gestures”. All these aspects explain his deep interest in collaborating with dance creators, such as Camille Mutel, between many other interdisciplinary approaches. We found a striking proximity between these art approaches and the so-called –within fields such as philosophy, cognitive sciences or AI– “embodied cognition”.

Above all, besides publically thanking Juan José Eslava for his generous implication in this film documentary project, we would like to invite you all to just listen to his musical works. If possible, go and listen to them “live”…

Pablo Arcent is a composer and sound-artist.

Pablo is co-founder and co-director of tangiblemode-studio (2013), together with Natalie McQuade.

He is also co-author of the documentary film, exp_antiGravity, along with José Tomé. Its transmedia treatment will be developed by tangiblemode-studio in full coordination with both authors.

In addition, within tangiblemode-studio along with Natalie McQuade, Pablo currently directs and develops the following projects: TLD (Todos los días), instantFrog, dummy-heads project and the ʻearphoneʼ festival. All these projects involve numerous external collaborators internationally while covering a wide range of cognitive disciplines.

José Luis Torá is a composer.

His work especially focuses on new writing approaches for classic acoustic instruments, often incorporating quite customised extended techniques which he develops himself. He turns the kind of physicality embodied in instruments into really extreme explorative journeys. As a preparatory stage –somewhere in between improvisatory and research-like–, José Luis likes to spend months by himself with each one of those ʻobjectsʼ he writes for in order to interrogate them, virtually from scratch, with his own hands. This approach –also deeply informed by the classical available knowledge about all these instruments– seeks, on the one hand, to extend the range of sonic possibilities –even a kind of tweaking or fine-tunning– and, on the other hand, to provoke so-called “collisions” between matter and other external inputs (thoughts, external ideas) whose nature is more architecturally abstract.

José Luis participated as a collaborator in the scene, “architecture_improvisation”, within the documentary, exp_antiGravity. The scene was shot on 15th May, 2012, at Intermediae Matadero (new art space, Madrid). It consisted of a ʻ4 partʼ dialogue about different ways of understanding music practice, either from the object-based prism (architecture, composition) or as a process/experience (flow, improvisation). As far as José Luis is concerned, we were especially interested in his personal way of connecting the improvisatory (as an early exploratory stage of instrumentsʼ physicality) to the objectual/architectural achievement involved in a fullly finished, high-end, fix-notated piece. In other words: in this type of approach, any dichotomy between improvisation and architecture would disappear to be somehow converted into a progressive journey that exactly matches the gestation and complete development of each of the works over time.

We deeply appreciated the way –as proficient as imaginative– José Luis took and faced this little ʻimprovisatoryʼ challenge we got him into along with the rest of the participants in that shot conversation. That was the point…

Canco López is a composer, performer and conductor.

Musically speaking, Canco is one of those medieval and Martian spirits, both at once –should that imply any kind of contradiction. He has a wide academic training in Early Music (organ, harpsichord, choir conducting and orchestral conducting). As a composer, he was a pupil of Francisco Guerrero (1951-1997) –one of the most interesting Spanish personalities in the recent history of European contemporary music. In 1991, he founded the ensemble, Ars Combinatoria, which he still conducts nowadays. The ensemble was created in order to give the musicians a solid and progressive historical perspective stemmed from Early Music while gradually expanding their repertoire so that they could eventually afford more and more notationally complex music, including some of the latest contemporary works. Though they have already proven this evolving versatility more than once, Canco tends to say –from this humble voice characterising him: “we keep working on it so one of these days we get it”… As a composer, Canco has a significantly dense music catalogue and continues extending it tirelessly, beyond todayʼs difficulty with pursuing these types of mid/long-term projects which are not focused on the immediacy of results.

Canco López participated as a collaborator in the scene, “architecture_improvisation” within the documentary, exp_antiGravity. The scene was shot on 15th May, 2012, at Intermediae Matadero (new art space, Madrid). It consisted of a ʻ4 partʼ dialogue about different ways of understanding music practice, either from the object-based prism (architecture, composition) or as a process/experience (flow, improvisation). We thought of Canco –as a composer/performer, also a specialist in Early Music interpretation– as a very suitable profile when conversationally covering certain historical transitions from the semi-improvised (glossed) to the hyper-determined (XXth Century rooted) musical writing. He also came to show us his own personal approaches to that as a composer where his practice could be neatly defined as strongly objectual and architectural. We would also like to highlight the extremely good ʻchemistryʼ –almost immediate– with the rest of the partners of conversation, even beyond confronting positions on these subjects. We deeply appreciate each of his contributions to the scene – on both composing and performing sides of it. Furthermore, we suspect that, in front of certain kinds of greatness, infinitely better times are to come.

Professor Agustina Asenjo is a head researcher at the Department of Physics of Materials of the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid/Spain).

As an expert on magnetic forces microscopy, her research has contributed, among other things, to the development of powerful microscopes able to display surfaces of materials at nano scales.

The development of nano-technologies, such as magnetic force microscopes, has had a direct impact on so-called Materials Physics. It makes possible both the characterisation of some otherwise inaccessible new topographies and their physical manipulation, so that a whole range of utterly new materials can be built out of a controlled growth of nanometric structures.

Within her collaboration for the documentary, exp_antiGravity, filmed on 26th October, 2011, Agustina contributed a brilliant and insightful introduction to the fields of nanotechnology, microscopy of forces and their remote ʻexpressiveʼ connections with fields such as Computer Visual Arts. In this particular case, science draws inspiration from the artistsʼ experience in order to expand the catalogue of dataset visual displays coming out of this microscopy.

In 2008, the CSIC organised the first International Scientific Photography Competition. In fact, it was calling for artistic visualisations of data from these kinds of microscopes. Agustina also introduced us to the whys of this type of competition beyond ʻscientific romanticismsʼ of any kind… and indeed, there is no need to romanticise the scientific fact for appreciating the enormous beauty of this research field in itself.

Big thanks to Agustina for her invaluable contribution.

Oscar Ferreiro is a visual artist who lives in Melbourne, Australia.

As his website reads: Oscar “explores ideas around self, containment and mess, and makes process driven work using everyday materials”.

We caught up with Oscar during his latest visit to Madrid. Pretty on-the-fly, we asked him for a short collaboration within the project, instantFrog – a very special kind of collaboration. It consisted of reading for us a set of English translations of Bashō's frog haiku. The series of translations show an interesting range of creative possibilities centred around the more or less canonical ones:


The old pond!
A frog jumps in–
Sound of the water.


[Nippon Gakujutsu shinkökai /
quoted from One Hundred Frogs,
Hiroaki Shato]


Variations oscillate between the ironic and hilarious:


Bearded pond,
tickled by frog,
says, “ugh!” . . . & smiles.


[wm Flygare /
quoted from One Hundred Frogs,
Hiroaki Shato]


On 9th June, 2012, –no rehearsals or anything, not even being told before entering the studio what kind of collaboration it was– Oscar contributed a wonderful double reading of all selected versions. Besides having much enjoyed that funny session with him, we were really impressed by that natural –quite musical– sense of timing as well as the phonetic richness almost effortlessly delivered in front of such a nice set of literary miniatures. In a nutshell, Oscar and his hidden talent for frog-haikuing…!

Oscarʼs collaboration becomes part of a set of voice recordings in 16 different languages produced for the project, instantFrog.

Thanks, Oscar! In any case, our favourite recorded sound ever was your word, “cerveza”, at the end of the session… ,-)


photo: Natalie McQuade
from the exhibition, “Remote drawing”, by Oscar Ferreiro

Honorina lives in a little hamlet, Valdecañada (El Bierzo, province of León, North West of Spain).

This little hamlet falls very close to the so-called Silent Valley route. Tightly surrounded by glens and valleys (in fact, that's what Valdecañada really means: Valde=valley / cañada=glen), we shot various scenes for the film documentary, exp_antiGravity, within its first production stage.

One of the scenes shows a delightful conversation with Honorina, a very special character. Honorina lives alone and, since there are very few neighbours left in the village, she spends most of her time on her own, especially those long winters in the area. However, she doesn't seem to get bored at all and her loneliness does look like a happy sort of solitude, a vibrant one. In addition to talking to us with astonishing spontaneity and precision about her everyday audible experiences: sounds of the place, their relationships with radio and music, the two channels of TV currently received, a neighbouring pianist who for years used to live in the house across the street and about whom she knows everything –as she used to come out to the backyard and listen to him playing for hours every day… in addition to all that, Honorina does sound herself, sounds in an extremely singular way. The conversation –where she is fully aware she is being shot– shows so many layers of sonic interest, including a fascinating speech-linguistic document: her own –who knows if bordering on extinction?– way of talking.


Thanks very much to Ribera del Cantero for their collaboration – an excellent little hotel (rural cottage) placed at the very entrance of Valdecañada (it is a long hamlet, just so you know!).

Miguel Álvarez-Fernández Jean Pierre Dupuy Adolfo Núñez
Pablo Arcent Juan José Eslava José Pazó
Ángel Arranz Clara Eslava y Miguel Tejada Alberto Posadas
Agustina Asenjo Oscar Ferreiro Anneke Raskin
Juan Andrés Beato Juan Antonio Lleó Cristina Rodrigo
José Luis Besada Canco López Martín Rodríguez-Gaona
Francisco Carreño Espinosa Pedro López Alessandra Rombolá
José Manuel Costa José Manuel López López José Tomé
Isaac Diego Natalie McQuade José Luis Torá
collaborators acknowledgements

This section displays information about a wide range of collaborators. As you will see, the professional and disciplinary fields covered is pretty diverse. Beyond the specific project-contexts involved, each individual reading aims to be self-contained. Devoting individual posts to each one of them is also our particular way of saying thanks!

exp_antiGravity



THE PROJECT

In February, 2011, an exciting cross-collaboration proposal from a young film-maker came up. Video-artist and sound-designer, José Tomé (Madrid, 1977), invited us to get involved in the writing of a script as well as to manage the full sound contents for a really challenging documentary film. The film would be focused on the new emerging approaches (perceptual, aesthetic, performative, cognitive, architectural) to the phenomenon of SOUND in its broadest sense.

Despite some initial reservations –mainly due to the apparent broadness and somewhat ʻunmanageablenessʼ of the matter–, we soon started seeing it as an excellent opportunity to try out quite a special type of hybrid production together. What if someone finally faced a full ʻcongruenceʼ between audible and visual domains within a filmic context? In principle, congruence should be understood, here, as the highest possible degree of balance and depth of connection (also physically, in terms of ultra-fine synchronicity affecting the spatial sound dimension) between whichever audio and video elements. Furthermore, the film was meant to stage sound itself, which in a way implies a fascinating paradox: treating sound as a true “image”, the real screening core. The goal, in sum, would be to achieve a quality of detail, technical resolution and sound-architectural features that normally fall far from filmic language priorities.

After sharing many working sessions and exchanging plenty of thoughts, the above-mentioned premises led us to the very basis of the documentary film project: “exp_antiGravity”.

SCRIPT

In summary, the documentary piece is built up in five interconnected episodes: I.Noise  II.Sound of music  III.Gravity  IV.Music of sound  V.AntiGravity.

The starting point (Noise) shows a kind of crowded, over-saturated audiovisual landscape, a sort of space-time exploding in plentifulness: noisily superimposed voices, big and small artist-statements and all kinds of aesthetic proposals rising from everywhere… From this very point, materials will be submitted to a double process of symmetry and expansion. On the one hand, Sound of music considers “Music” (the long-lived artistic tradition) as a very specific kind of sound and Music of sound searches for certain “semantics” we could discover more or less implicit in rough sounds taken from the real world.

On the other hand, the physical concept of Gravity would conceptually stand for a quite specific type of “propelled time” (vectorial, tensorial, directional, entropic time), the kind of time upon which occidental music has based (and tends to keep on basing) its main time-construction paradigms. Far beyond that, its symmetric opposite, AntiGravity, actually considers an utterly different sense of gravity (a sort of ʻpost-gravityʼ) rather based upon the experience of what we will call “sonic levitation”. Through this metaphor, borrowed from advanced experimental Physics, we will try to suggest and explain how this new sonic-gravitational sense (like it would happen within certain zero-gravity spaces or even in experimental altered or non-Earth gravity spaces) could come to reach a much broader aesthetic paradigm, erasing all possible borders and quality/moral dichotomies between music and sound-art in general.

Throughout our research process –besides the richness of illustrations, sonic and visual documents, textures, graphics or any other kind of means– we will resort to straight talk with various composers and sound-artists from different backgrounds and aesthetics. Furthermore, we will show some other interesting voices such as philosophers, scientists, cognitive experts and some artists currently verging sound as part of their inter-media work.

raw-film: PRODUCTION STRATEGY

Raw-film production was originally split into three phases with a flexible spacing between them. Phases 1 (September/October, 2011) and 2 (May, 2012) have already been completed, involving a total number of 15 scenes and 24 interviewed characters. Both phases took place mostly in Madrid, covering a rich set of emblematic art, science, institutional and urban locations (CSIC's Center of Materials Physics, Reina Sofía Contemporary Art Museum, CaixaForum, Intermediae Matadero, Teatros del Canal, Paseo de la Castellana) where we approached the artists' and professors' interviews in a whole range of shooting and scenic situations. Phase number 3 –the last one–, yet to take place, is not expected to happen before the second half of 2016 – its nature being somewhat more complex in that it involves not only the international expansion of the raw-film itself, but some specific transmedia production elements (app development, real-time semantic processing computer framework development etc).

TRANSMEDIA TREATMENT: Film/Installation/App-film

As for its release, distribution and user-receptions, this project considers a native transmedia approach whereby the same raw-material originally allows for three different processing approaches. Therefore, raw-content can be semantically processed:

Transmedia approaches will produce neither different nor ʻalternativeʼ versions of the same work but rather a natural jump of the same basic content through different media. This jump is able to transform both the way of presenting content (formal structure, materiality) and its own modes of user reception (degrees of user activeness in front of the content, interaction-design, elasticity of time-experience, etc).

The transmedia treatment of exp_antiGravity dramatically expands the amount of potential audiences, types and depths of reception – making this rich, high-end cognitive/educational/art experience fully and easily accessible to almost anyone no matter their background.




January, 2016   |   © tangiblemode-studio

photography: José Tomé
ESP || eng