In september I was in Aberystwyth, Wales for The Noises of Art conference. The theme of the conference was situated on the intersection of “visual art and aural modes of creative practice”. As my installations MULTIPLE voice/vision and DIORAMATIZED #02 both work exactly on that intersection – or the friction – between the visual and the auditive, this promised to be a very interesting conference.
I sent in the proposal The framing function of the body – a phenomenological inquiry for the session themed embodied sound. Its content was an iteration and further elaboration of the presentation I gave in February at the one-day symposium Sound & Image @ M Museum Leuven.
The Aberystwyth three-day gathering of noises and art proved indeed to be very inspiring with interesting talks and positive feedback on my own presentation.
In art theory and contemporary digital art sensorial mixing and transmutation have superseded the modernist segregation of the senses (Jones, 2007). Artists explore how the technologically mediated world is perceived through the body and its multiple senses. The phenomenological tradition shares this interest in embodied perception, and provides a broader context for these inquiries into the relation between human sensorium and technological mediation. In Mark Hansen’s concept of embodied perception it is “the confrontation of antithetical media interfaces […] that can catalyze a shift in perceptual modality—from perception passively guided by a technical frame to perception actively created via (human) framing” (Hansen, 2004, p. 87).
In this presentation I will focus on disruptive strategies in my media installations: how injecting friction at different interface levels enables the framing function of the body; how this friction explicitates technological mediation, and at the same time makes it possible (for the observer) to question these forms of mediation.
To illustrate my discourse, I will refer to the media installation MULTIPLE voice/vision, a large spatial structure wherein multilayered polyphonic textures—Bach’s Musikalisches Opfer & contemporary polyphonic music—are mapped to multiple audiovisual elements. I will first discuss friction at a purely visual level: my use of cylindrical anamorphosis; its double (inter)face; its combination of analogue (hardware) and the digital; its phenomenological implications. A second level of friction is between the layers of sound and vision. I will discuss how this friction is also related to a built-in friction between different sensory modes of the human perceptual system. Using this multi-layered approach I will illustrate how the complex interaction of different levels of friction, presented in a black-box constellation, enables the complete dissolution of the traditional technical frame, and opens up possibilities to unleash the full potential of the framing function of the body.