Sound: Schematic as Score (Uses of Failure)

May 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Derek Holzer,

on (among other things) failure & experiment, in Vague Terrain:

Schematic as Score: Uses and Abuses of the (In)Deterministic Possibilities of Sound Technology

[image: David Tudor’s “Self-Playing Performance Patch for Untitled (Homage to Toshi Ichiyanagi) (1972)]

“I consider it axiomatic that, for any art work to be considered experimental, the possibility of failure must be built into its process. I am not referring to the aestheticized, satisfying glitches and crackles valorized by Kim Cascone, but to the lack of satisfaction produced by a misguided or misstepped procedure in the experiment, whether colossal or banal. These are not errors to be sought out, sampled and celebrated, but the flat-on-your-ass gaffs and embarrassments that would trouble the sleep of all but the most Zen of musicians or composers.

The presence of failure in a musical system represents feedback in the negative, a tipping point into anti-climax, irrelevance, the commonplace, the cliche or even unintended silence. Many artists try to factor out true, catastrophic failure by scripting, scoring, sequencing or programming their work into as many predictable, risk-free quanta as possible ahead of time. (Spacebar, please.) But this unwelcome presence also guarantees the vitality of that hotly-contested territory – the live electronic music performance.”

See also Derek Holtzer’s site.

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