New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Christian Marclay’s ‘Screenplay’ at New Langton (San Francisco)

The various rooms at New Langton Arts in San Francisco are deceptively quiet these days. Not only are the main gallery’s walls covered with dozens of examples of graphically sophisticated avant-garde sheet music, but on the first floor, in the screening room, New Langton is looping Screenplay (2005), a silent video by artist Christian Marclay. The video is part of the overall exhibit, curated by Christoph Cox and titled Every Sound You Can Imagine.

This is one of Marclay’s visual scores, in which found materials are collated as a representation of a sound performance to be interpreted by musicians. It is Marclay’s intention that his film be viewed by performers as a score. Screenplay is compiled from film footage that Marclay spliced into something of a narrative. In addition, he introduced simple, colorful digital animations of lines and waveforms and big, round dots on top of some of the footage. In following series of images, for example, a conductor appears on screen. It is one of the more explicitly music-related sequences in Screenplay, which is more often packed with seemingly random images of buildings and under-water scenes. In this segment, a thick line traces the path of the conductor’s hand, until, over time, his face is almost entirely obscured:

Marclay’s art often has a magnetic quality, in which the world seems to conform itself to his mindset. For example, in the sequence depicted above, the actions of the conductor, which already were meant to give instruction to musicians, take on a whole new symbolic purpose.

There is a stream-of-consciousness quality to Marclay’s Screenplay. For example, at one point there’s a chase scene that ends up with a door being locked, followed by a close-up of the lock, and then when the key falls out of the lock, something on the floor explodes, which leads to numerous sequences of ever more out-of-control fires, which then leads to scene after scene of water. Each of the segments of the silent, unfolding story is taken from a different pre-existing source, but through Marclay’s editing, they’re combined into something fluid and whole. As with the numerous printed scores on display, Screenplay is running unaccompanied by music — if Marclay uses art as score, in this setting his score is the art.

Upstairs, in the main gallery, another Marclay found score is on display, Graffiti Composition (2002), in which blank sheet music paper was left hanging in public, and then after people and nature made their imprint on the paper, 150 pieces were selected to serve as the final work.

More on the exhibit, which runs through March 28, at newlangtonarts.org.

There is video available online of performers accompanying Marclay’s Screenplay, including Eliott Sharp (youtube.com); Sharp with Hernán Hecht and Juan Jose Rivas (youtube.com); Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkings (youtube.com); and, at thewire.co.uk, an excerpt from an event that featured three ensembles (Vicki Bennett and Ergo Phizmiz; Steve Beresford, John Butcher, and Roger Turner; and Blevin Blectum, JG Thirlwell, and Janine Rostron).

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , , / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe



  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0548 / Drone Vox / The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice.
    0547 / Genre Melee / Combine two seemingly different genres.
    0546 / Code Notes / The Assignment: Make music that includes a secret message.
    0545 / Unself-Awareness / The Assignment: Learn from feedback intended for others.
    0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 548 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts