30 May 2011

'transfiguration for winter light and folded time' narrowcast at Rice & Beans

"....my body [for example] lives in as many spaces as the society, the group or the collectivity have formed; the Euclidian house, the street and its network, the open and closed garden, the church or the enclosed spaces of the sacred, the school and its spatial varieties containing fixed points, and the complex ensemble of flow-charts, those of language, of the factory, of the family of the political party and so forth."

"...all times converge in this temporary knot: the drift of entropy or the irreversible thermal flow, wear and ageing, the exhaustion of initial redundancy, time which turns back on feedback rings or the quasi-stability of eddies...."
-Michel Serres

a radio programme transmitted at midday on monday 30th May, transfiguration for winter light and folded time was staged for one hour as a audio contribution to the exhibition Money We Can't Use Here, by Japanese-Dunedin artist Motoko Kikkawa.

Motoko's show, currently enjoying its first week of slow material accumulation at recently established Dunedin artist-run space Rice and Beans, comprises an artist book, delicate sculptural works (an exquisite Elizabethan collar made of short-grain rice that references paper cutting), digital prints, and various performative interventions. Sparse and waywardly tuned, the show foregrounds the space's quietness and light in this final (pre)wintry week of May, with live works involving various performers inhabiting the space, often populating it briefly with sonic interventions. These performative inhabitations and nomadisms have included guestings by Matthew Ward and Richard Scowen, as well as the occasional appearance by Kikkawa herself on violin.

The formal structure for transfiguration for winter light and folded time involved temporal mirroring, via a simple psychogeographic folding and compacting of an hour of the day into the one following it. The programme's temporal backbone was the re-transmission of a blankly durational recording of my movements while walking across the city of Dunedin from my house to the second hand bookstore where I work, this soft surveillance continuing during the walk from this location across town to the gallery space, the recording progressing from 11am until 12 noon, at which time the performance at the gallery began, sonic reception at this point transforming (as seamlessly as possible) into transmission.

I kept recording while setting up for the show, unfolding an out of date municipal map of Dunedin and surrounding districts and placing this on the beautiful bare wood of the gallery floorboards. I knelt on this map, after removing my shoes, and slowly surrounded myself with an infrastructure of radio receivers. This radiophonic cityscape was tuned progressively into the field recording I had just made, which became audible alongside the usual mini FM residue of etheric bleed and chaneling-into-audibility of the airwaves of the space itself, a soundscape occasionally layered at points with recordings of solo violin done in the previous month.

The sound was transmitted to the space using a solar panel connected to my Mini FM transmitter, the latter in this way directly powered by the strong white winter New Zealand light streaming through the gallery windows. At a certain point near the concluding stages of the hour, an analogue vocal mapping of street and place names, read aloud as-written on the grounded map, supplemented the transmission, further scoring a body-sized poetics of place live to the gallery space.

As a compositional framework, this live site-specific transmission, or radio show, was bolstered by the additive improvisational accompaniment of Motoko Kikkawa on violin and amplified chip packet, as well as Matthew Ward and Richard Scowen on various instruments.

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