Sep 30, 201310:59 AMPoint of View
Sketches on the Connectivity of Art: Part 2
(page 1 of 3)
I’m obsessed with noise. All kinds of noise—from meticulously created noise by sound artists to acoustic occurrences that happen by accident in everyday life. I’m constantly checking EBay for obscure limited edition noise tapes from the Japanese underground to add to my immense collection. I keep my ears open and record grey sound on my iPhone on the way home. I tune in on a set of batteries’ dying breath as the jingle of my daughter's toy distorts to a lingering scratch, or when the frizzy sound of a subway conductor’s PA system mixes with the metal on metal screeching of the rails.
For years now, noise has cast a seductive spell on me. I‘m hooked and, like any perfect addiction, this one offers no reward but the craving of more. Musically, I love quiet noise, the John Cage kind, electronically composed noise a la Xenakis, Parmegiani or Merzbow power chaos, improvised guitar freak-outs, noise the way Haino Keiji does it, looped low-fi tape noise from the great Maurizio Bianchi, and straight up industrial field recordings. My senses fall for elegant, polished noise that creates a solid monolithic form: heavy as steel, yet smooth and solid as an obsidian stone. Whimsical, graphite-thin and unstable; then pointy, accelerated and cutting; noise that’s round and light as a feather.
Marco Fusinato, 'Mass Black Implosion (Shaar, Iannis Xenakis)', 2012
Courtesy Marco Fusinato and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne & Sidney
When it comes to noise, it’s all about flatness and the removal of emotional perspective. Noise by definition means "unwanted sound"—a void in our realm of senses that, like a black hole, offers no form or scale. It could be eternally deep or minutely thin. It is in many ways the closest manifestation to physicality that sound can have. Context and content-free, it is pure. It exists by itself away from our harmonics and rationales. If white is nothingness, noise is everything. All spaces filled solid and occupied, blocking all communication in its way.
Rick Owens, 'Half Box Chair', 2011
Courtesy Salon 94
Noise is today’s refuge. In a time where all white space is in danger of being occupied, and purity in art and life is scarce, noise brings all communication to a halt. It’s the final word before absolute silence. It leaves no room to be protected, no freedom to be fought for. Like stepping into an explosion of senses, a blasting wave that carries you away, noise is today’s most contemporary soundtrack.