Sunday, 11. January 2009, 23:03 - 23:45, Ö1




von Andrew Garton


Notes for Sensorium Re-Connected, a radiophonic sound work by Andrew Garton in association with the artist Stelarc for ORF Kunstradio

From 18 August through to 26 September 97, ABC Classic FM's The Listening Room presented Sensorium Connect / Body Morph, a generative composition by composer Andrew Garton comprising of sounds sampled from performances by Stelarc.

On 11 January 2009 Kunstradio will broadcast an entirely new version of this work. Sensorium Re-Connected commemorates the work of The Listening Room and the contribution this piece made to furthering radio and sound art online in Australia.

Generative music is algorithmically driven to produce variation, ongoing evolution and development of sounds. The process of creation, performance and distribution of music is changing. The Internet is an amorphous infrastructure for the liberation of creative ideas and is no doubt influencing the work of artists the world over. It is a time of enriching exploration and discovery that is akin to the period during which Piero della Francesca was to discover perspective and the body's relationship to space.

Andrew Garton, August 1997

Sensorium Re-Connected is both composition and process. The composition is comprised of sounds created by the artist, Stelarc, in collaboration with Rainer Linz, during his performances. The sounds include brain waves, heartbeat and blood flow. The sounds of his third mechanical hand are also amplified. Sensorium Re-Connect also includes sampled sounds triggered from an angle transducer that measures the bending angle of the legs and a sensor that monitors CO2 in the breathing. "These variations make it a much less predictable signal and a much more beautiful resulting sound. The sounds that are indicative of the physiological function of the body, and the mechanical operation of the third hand are rendered neutral in their associations so that they don't sound like a musical instrument or natural sound or some kind of other technological object that we know and identify with". (Stelarc, 1996)

Acoustically what's happening in Stelarc's performances is a kind of aura is generated around the body. "When internal body signals are amplified they are, in a sense, emptied from the body into the room within which the body is performing. The humanoid shape of the body that originally contains the sound now becomes the cuboid space of the room". (Stelarc, 1996)

In Sensorium Re-Connected, these sounds are further emptied into what one might call the suspended ever-evolving space of the Internet. An acoustical landscape translating from humanoid form to cuboid space to space as instrument.

Text for production of the generative radiophonic sound work, Sensorium Re-Connected, by Andrew Garton.

Imagine for a moment music that doesn't repeat, that is never heard the same way twice, that is somehow fresh every time it is performed. A new genre – self-evolving and difficult to commodify.

Music is dead! Tot, kaputt, fertig!

We listen, love, work and die silently in numbing arpeggios of repetition. With its skilled interpreters, concert halls and cathedrals, theorists and record companies, its evolution from ritual to repetition confirms the end of music and its role as creator or social space.
The maintenance of social order and cohesion is built upon the absolute denial, prohibition and commodification of free expression. Music is no exception. In fact it acts as an indicator of its success, the success of power and of commerce, to define and control its compositional procedures and its production, distribution and consumption.

Music is dead!

In the Middle Ages, in Europe, jongleurs both musicians and entertainers, would travel from village to village performing privately and publicly. The jongleurs' income was derived from these performances. Their material was gathered, assimilated and modified from what they heard and what they saw along the way.
They ensured that access to music remained the privilege of every social class. They were essential to the social circulation of information. The jongleur "…was music. They alone created it, it carried with them, and completely organised its circulation within society." (Attali, J, 1977, Noise, University of Minnesota Press. Breaking the Loop pp. 3)

Music is dead!

True folk music is no longer possible. The process of incorporating previous melodies and lyrics into constantly evolving songs is impossible when melodies and lyrics are privately owned. The jongleur became a businessman, a skilled interpreter of music inhibited by cultural property and copyright protections.

Music is dead!

"The mind believes what it sees and does what it believes…" The messengers of capital are thorough in creating an audience for their own message. You cannot rebel against something you have been taught to believe you want, need, can't do without.

Music is dead!

Doesn't the avant-garde,
sound sculpture,
culture jamming,
KunstRadio – radio art,
studies in noise ecology and other sonic experiments
push back the economic boundaries,
free creativity and explore new sonic landscapes?
Is this enough?

Let us imagine the liberation of imagination, towards the discovery of inert creative capabilities, towards autonomous listening zones, independent of that which would commodify and render creativity inept, dull, repetitive… The future of music and sound is an indefinable space!

The process of creation, performance and distribution of music has changed. It is a time of enriching exploration and discovery that can be likened to the period during which Piero della Francesca discovered perspective. Where Piero uncovered a new relationship between the body and space, sound is now found to have previously unsuspecting relationships within the unbounded, interconnected, virtual spaces of the internet.

The distance between audience and performer becomes a commons reclaimed! We are all engaged in the space of change, giving birth to spectacles that both fascinate and liberate the mind, breaking the loop…