Portraitkonzert 2019

JULIA MIHÁLY & ÓSCAR ESCUDERO

im Rahmen von KONTAKTE’19 – Biennale für Elektroakustische Musik und Klangkunst

 

ÓSCAR ESCUDERO: THE FLAT TIME TRILOGY

The video projection of all three pieces is personalized by the performers via the recording of several fragments, which are treated and indexed into the final project. They fix the identity and the here-and-now of every performance.

POV (2017) for saxophone, virtual reality glasses, electronics, and video

Paraphrasing musicologist Rubén López Cano, POV (Point of View) revolves around the question “How does art differ from reality?”. This incursion is made under the creation of non-fictional narratives, taking elements that were already there before the concert or others, which are shortly enounced when the piece begins. The very nature of those fragments is what we can consider as “residual”:  improvised sound tests, fragments of pre-existing pieces, medical scanners, former social networks or Google Earth captures. The narrative is constructed in a network-like cluster of hundreds of spatiotemporal layers, which become present altogether as representations.
In the piece, the individual is completely mapped by a projection he/she apparently “controls”. This dialogue is held by the fact that the performer is not only part of the projection surface but factually inhabits the piece through its score. Hence, a double correspondence is created: The performer is completely isolated from a reality he/she interacts with and, at the same time, the audience becomes a witness of its amplification. Besides, the reality gets more complex through the conversion into representations of all the elements, going towards what Baudrillard called objective reality: an illusion, which cannot be combated with truth due to its impossibility of being understood as any other thing but a representation itself.

OST (2018) for performer, virtual reality glasses, electronics, and video

OST (Original Soundtrack) is the second piece of the Flat Time Trilogy, a series of three works for solo player with VR Glasses and video. From different perspectives, they constitute a question on how our spatiotemporal perception overrides all the dichotomies between the physical and the virtual, constructing a single playing field.
Within the entire trilogy, the individual and his/her present coordinates (temporality, geolocation, identity) form the core of the situation. Progressively, and through the construction of a massive network of simultaneities and references, memory is neutralized and converted into a pure object.
OST is the result of the collaboration with the Spanish artist Belenish Moreno-Gil. The piece stages an individual who is characterized by nudity, embodying the impacts of a continuously reacting environment. Practically at the same the words are articulated, they seem to be deprived of any validity; they lose their capacity to create effective conceptual frames. The liquid property of the entirety converts frame seeking into a chimera, a consequence of a process in which the individual progressively empties itself.

HOC (2018) for performer, virtual reality glasses, electronics, and video

HOC is a portrait of frustration. Its materialization finds meaning in one action, which is always omitted. Therefore, its origin, its (re)constructed as a memory, longing or, in any case, as an implicit stratum of rest of the events happening concentrically. Even the title itself (hoc, demonstrative pronoun in latin) refers to what, in its absence, becomes something stubbornly known and renown (“this”), which subordinates everything.
The multiple voices interacting in the narrative of HOC build a sort of unfaced reference to that single fact, trying to locate its spatiotemporal coordinates. Consequently, this search transcends the aim for the execution itself; through that obsessive “non-mention”, the action literally takes place as an absence, gradually unveiling itself due to its causes and consequences. This piece completes the Trilogy of the Flat Time, together with OST and POV, which constitutes an approximation to the boundaries of the human being as a body, but also as an eternal virtual representation: as a metaphor.

 

ÓSCAR ESCUDERO: CUSTOM #1.2
(2017)
for performer, ensemble, electronics, and video

The first work of the Custom #X series; 5 “DIY” (Do It Yourself) pieces, which have to be pre-produced by the performers via the recording of several video extracts.
Due to the strong role of the text, the piece starts following a well established itinerary, which has its starting point in a very concrete situation: a video tutorial on how to be successful in social networks. However, the succession of the events will mislead the audience into a constant reorder of the hierarchies, creating a temporal and spatial multiplicity in which the piece “takes place”. This kind of simultaneity, very typical of our daily experience as online users, becomes crucial in the development of the concert situation.
Taking advantages of a flat time and space as native environments, we can sketch an analogy with the description Spanish philosopher María Zambrano writes about temporal perception in dreams. Zambrano speaks about absence of emptiness, a term that we could clearly implement to our online nature. A status quo in which it is impossible to distinguish between present and past, the original action and the displayed one and, within the piece’s dramaturgy, between the performers’ identity and that “interested reality” in which they are virtually indexed. Through the “customization” process, the players build a synthetic reality, expressly created from their digital footprint, which interact with them live during the performance. This piece finds four extensions in [Custom #1.2 /1.3/1.4/1.5], affecting mostly to their instrumentation (both expand the percussion into an ensemble), their text and general content. The video projection of this piece is personalized by the performers via the recording of several fragments, which are treated and indexed into the final project. The performers’ personal profiles on different social networks also are used as a digital stage. Thus, they fix their identity and the here-and-now of every performance.

 

JULIA MIHÁLY: DISAPPOINTMENT DIARIES
(2019, UA)
für Flöte, Violine, Cello, Synthesizer, Elektronik und Video

Ein Leben ist gefüllt von Erinnerungen an das Vergangene und Erwartungen an das Zukünftige, die wiederum später zu Erinnerungen werden und die einen für spätere Erwartungen bzw. Erwartungshaltungen prägen. Disappointment Diaries ist eine Sammlung vergangener „schlimmster Erwartungen“ aus dem Leben verschiedener Menschen. Dabei geht es weniger darum, ob diese Erwartungen sich in den individuellen Fällen tatsächlich eingelöst haben. Vielmehr interessiert es mich, die Wege der Gedankenkonstrukte nachzuverfolgen, auf denen sich Menschen oftmals so stark im Absurden verrennen, dass sie nicht mehr erkennen, ab wann die Realität die Erwartungen gar nicht mehr einlösen kann.

 

JULIA MIHÁLY: GRAND HOTEL ESTABLISHMENT
(2018/19, UA neue Fassung)
für Violine, Viola, Cello, Synthesizer, Schlagzeug, Performerin, Live-Elektronik und Video

Das Stück behandelt das Thema der 68er-Bewegung einerseits retrospektiv, auf eine Generation blickend zwischen Aufbruch und Protest, philosophischen Kopfkinos und postpubertären Happenings, ideologischen Irrwegen und linksradikaler Hilflosigkeit, und untersucht andererseits gesellschaftlich relevante Gegenwartsbezüge der Jetztzeit. Nicht nur aus dem Rausch der Befreiung, sondern auch vor dem Nazi-Erbe ihrer Elterngeneration, haben sich die 68er gleichsam mutig wie leichtsinnig den verkrusteten Strukturen einer konservativen Gesellschaft widersetzt.
Dabei war den 68ern klar: Gefahr geht nicht von den Rändern, sondern von der gesellschaftlich etablierten Mitte aus. Und so wurde das Establishment zum allumfassenden Feindbild, das es durch politische Agitation zu bekämpfen und langfristig zu unterwandern galt. In der Mitte unserer Gesellschaft sind die 68er heute längst angekommen, doch der Marsch durch die Institutionen, vorbei am Strand unter den Pflastersteinen, führ-te die Mehrheit direkt in die opportunistische Luxus-Suite des Grand Hotel Establishment. Bequem eingerichtet genießen sie bis zu ihrem Aussterben alle Vorzüge der kapitalistisch-neoliberalen sogenannten Ersten Welt. Doch in der Lobby kommen aktuell ganz neue Gäste an, denn den All-Inclusive – Aufenthalt im Grand Hotel Establishment haben längst auch jüngere Generationen gebucht, die ihren Marsch durch das System allerdings oftmals von den politisch gegenüberliegenden Rändern angetreten sind.
Doch was genau ist dieses Grand Hotel Establishment? Ist es der Kulminationspunkt in unserer Gesellschaft, an dem es clashen muss? An dem wir uns von allen Seiten kommend gegenübertreten und auseinandersetzen? Nicht nur mit uns selbst als versklavten und kommerzialisiert ausgebeuteten Leistungssubjekten, sondern auch mit den politisch „Anderen“, die mit ebenso viel Idealismus und Kampfgeist nach einem Up-date des politischen Systems und gesellschaftlicher Verhältnisse streben. Vielleicht ist es ein Ort, an dem wir Stellung beziehen und Werte diskutieren. Vielleicht ist es aber auch das Luftschloss einer ewigen Utopie, an der sich Generation für Generation abarbeitet.
Textauszug: „Aus dem Gefühl autoritärer Bevormundung gründeten wir den Wanderzirkus Revolution! […] Wir gingen Ostern feiern mit Mollis und Steinen beim massenmedialen Henker und kokelten Kaufhauser an in der Stadt der Dichter und Banker. […] Wer von uns weiß noch, welchen Weg er geht auf der Straße 68? – Schlafen für den Frieden? Frieden und Freiheit! Die Freiheit, Freiheit als kommerzialisierte Selbstausbeutung zu konsumieren. Die Freiheit, Emotionen als Rohstoffe öffentlicher Entinnerlichung zu publizieren. Die Freiheit, den tatsächlichen Feind, das Selbst, als versklavtes Leistungssubjekt zu ignorieren. Denn: In uns selbst sitzt heute die Herrschaftsinstanz. In der Luxus-Suite des Grand Hotel Establishment.“