on wearing a mask, and the bare limits of representation, pt. 2.
February 26, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Barry Chabala, events, Michael Pisaro

“blind monks examining an elephant” by itcho hanabusa. (found here)


here finally is the second part, documenting the event of last january 30.
barry chabala and michael pisaro in this recording perform pisaro’s composition rapport abstrait at the winds measure event that ben owen organized to celebrate their new release, black, white, red, green, blue (voyelles) (wm 17).

the dynamic of the evening moved through a long arc, introduced by alessandro bosetti’s dramatic sound and poetry-based compositions (see pt. 1 of the event in the previous post); as the evening progressed the music got very quiet, and the subtle sounds of the space and the audience became more pronounced, becoming a part of the musical experience. my recording equipment, perhaps sensing the delicacy of the situation and strained to its limit, decided to shut off before the performance was finished.

luckily, i thought, other recorders were at work… but as we later listened through the various recordings, we quickly realized that none of them could possibly bring back the specificity of the moment and the subtle feelings that we had individually experienced.
in a way, each recording had an element of truth that was missing to the others, or perhaps a unique atmosphere approaching to varying degrees each one’s own idealized recollection of the event. at the end, the more one tried to bring back an absolute essence of truth, the more such documenting wish ended up in frustration.

how to bring back through a recording the complex experiences that we all went through in that small room? how to give an account of each individual perspective? the sounds themselves, their physical presence, the time passing by and how we later situated ourselves in that rich and yet subtle continuum.. there was something that no recorder could capture, a failure to remembering.

i have found myself fascinated and excited by the different perspectives surrounding the event. they seem to converge, and yet never completely overlap. ultimately, an old question seem to linger – are the documents that we produce a reflection of a generative moment, or are they new entities that will unfold in their own right and say things that escape our initial intentions? how much control do we have over the way we appear to the external world? to me, that doubt in itself means a world of possibilities.



barry chabala and michael pisaro, as recorded by gill arno

zip archive contains the three recordings that were made respectively by james connell, ben owen and myself in ogg vorbis format. be advised, it is a 350.1 MB download.


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