Author Archives: Max Singer

Conference Project: Silence and Whistles

IMG_1097 When I worked on the initial map where I was hoping to use music that I had created over a period of time to create a landscape where life events could be read in terms of topographic data. In a way this was a response to a lecture given here as part of the science lectures series a year ago given by Dr. Patrick Muchmore where he called the composer “an explorer of abstract landscapes.” In thinking about this concept I wanted to combine a way of presenting non-musical meanings visually that could be used as interpretations both for non abstract events and abstract musical events. Not reaching a satisfactory exploration of this concept I scraped my work and instead put together a less personal piece focusing on genealogy. Not doing the initial project made me think a lot about what kind of symbols exit in music, if any at all, and if there is a difference between “real” performed music and “virtual” – or “actualized” music that exists in a realized form of notation or thought but not in sound. The concept of whether the beauty or meaning of music exists only in a syntactical form of mathematical relationships that produce certain tones, or if it is contained in a system of semiotics either made clear to a listener through titles and program notes or even biographical information about the creator. In my map I presented a land mass that is covered mostly by musical staves, often distorted to run the island, the southmost tip contained musical quotations. The four corners contain all the non-quotation elements in the map – described in not musical or ambiguous terms. The mark for silence is given “This is the task”. The fermata for holding a note is listed as “Until”. The dominant symbols combine to form, in terms of musical instruction, the meaning of “Hold this Silence indefinitely very loudly”. To me this motif serves as a biographic text – as for most of my life I was forbidden to practice a musically informed life. Shadows of bombers are placed across the islands – once printed I applied torn out strips of my own composition over these shadows – making them hostile elements against the message of the landmass. I was inspired by the Icelandic invasion map that was show by our visiting cartographer. As I sought to find a meaningful connection from the history of cartography. Using the layers of printed I wanted convey the different levels that a work can exist at – both at the silent and conveyed and the expressed and internalized by listeners – and perhaps also viewers. IMG_1098

Revolutionaries – (Counterrevolutionary Splinter Group?): Post-Mortem

qr3 [The site seen from the main path] My marker offers a sort of communication in an otherwise unused space on campus, combining dissonant elements such as the technology of the QR code compared to the simple wood. Additionally, the QR code is hand drawn which further disassociates the high tech aspect from its execution on my marker. Hand drawing the QR code is revolutionary because it’s technology being used outside the system. The technology itself brings about an at attempt communication: the marker asks for your name and requests that you talk to it, a very human interaction. qr2 [After being removed the code remains active in photographs of the installation] The figure drawn on the ground in front of the marker indicates a human entity at work, but one that has been removed from the site and is no longer physically present. The site itself is very human-constructed, bisected by a drainpipe, but people usually stay on the cement path. The marker also looks like a standard terrain marker such as one might encounter while traveling, but it doesn’t help one to locate oneself. The board itself is held up with natural materials (large rocks found in the area) in a manmade drainpipe. qr1 [The figure worn down after a week of presentation] I was most influenced by Amitav Ghosh because his mental geography was so influenced by people interacting with a place that he had never known or seen, yet who became part of his own mental geography. I was inspired by this to include communication with an unknown figure. It is my intention to see if I can record any of the interactions with the marker. I received a blank text message, several hangup messages, and one person who when prompted for a name responded “Noooooooooooo.” Views of the post and the figure (more visible here) seen in the rain at night – qr5 qr4

Site-Specific Plan – Revolutionary

We would hope that this would engage people to come into the space and interact with it and bring people into some sort of action. That inclusiveness is part of any revolutionaries goal. What is a QR Code? A QR code looks like this: a smart phone can scan them. Essentially they operate as a link. This can trigger an action in a browser – or make some txt show up. How would we implement them? We would make stencils and spray paint them onto boards. Here is a free software for generating QC codes [you merely input the link or text you want] and then making stencils that we could spray paint onto posts. What would these posts look like? This is something that could work. I would imagine them at 4 feet tall to make them easy to scan. Maybe half a foot across. Easily placed anywhere in our space. How can these be made to interact with the location and make people become involved with them? The posts can be set down bates hill. They can simulate a grave marker appearance with chalked body outlines at their feet. Revolutions often lead to a change – the markers are what they have or will terminate. Also the sort of spooky imagery of the body, of change and things endings, would help make people become involved. Further down when I refer to people interacting I will call them revolutionaries. Revolutionaries invite new participants. Example line of posts going down Bates hill. Post with chalk outline. ​ What are some things these QR codes do? Here is a little spread sheet I whipped up. I offer this list only as some idea for brainstorming not as a complete or uneditable list. Example : Type : Action : Action Explanation : Additional thoughts When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right. Fuck the police. etc. Social Media message(s) Goes to a website Scanning the code results in the revolutionary being taken to their facebook or twitter account with a revolutionary post already written – waiting their approval. Revolutionary techniques are increasingly dependent on social media. It is likely the most relevant and succesful revolutionary tactic today. Theme of a new republic Music Goes to a website Links to pieces of music – perhaps randomly generated – with revolutionary contexts. Marketing. Words Presents text Single words designed to force a new line of thinking. Revolutionary phrases and rethinking traditional definitions are core revolutionary values. 2/6/1778 Dates Presents text A date. Random. but made significant to our revolutionaries. Perhaps accompany it with a faux-event that would impose either a sense of force or freedom. Dates hold particular revolutionary significance, Guy Fawkes day, national hero birthday – and death days. Past and future dates are often used as a rallying point to propagandize. JFK would become known as the False Information sites Goes to a website Simple web pages presenting false information. Information sabotage. Flag generator Displays image Displays a random flag – perhaps paired with text of an ideology ex “British flag with the text ‘Anarcho-Syndicalism’” Creates a divide between established order and states represented by flags – and the pure intellectualism and idealism of the revolutionary. “Taken Out” Image Displays image Displays an image of someone blacked out scanning the same QR code Post that was just scanned The fate of the revolutionary. censored Other than the physical installation what would we have to do to make this work.’QRrev1 qrcode.28864306 qrcode.28864708 qrcode.28865236 qr-board We would have to be willing to come up with relevant information to display above. Come up with words and slogans and images. Maybe write and host some information to look like wikipedia or another more reputable site. Doing so is free of cost and we have tremendous freedom with what information we provide, from text, to doctored images around campus.

Self Portrait: Notated Sound on Autopography

MapSelf mapself2  Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 7.17.55 AM 1. Earlier Map with sign system. 2. Detail of notation undergoing transformation into a topography Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 7.18.04 AM Detail – Inaudible/External – Notated/Domestic – Noise/Uninhabitable Audio: Removed. Sheet music is a form of clear instruction – or so it is often presented. In reality it is a sketch that a performer breathes life into. Maps, especially, the textbook map that I sought to imitate, have a similar existence. A landmass, with imaginary lines, marking giant invisible and imaginary boundaries that are nothing without external human action. The idea of crossing a border is itself a kind of performance. This appealed to me to create a false country, through combining a number of lands that I have a connection and then filling it with music that I have written. The music imposes its own forms and imparts that musical element of time to the piece. The music is augmented by valleys and bumps and crevasses created by making a graph of the intensity of my memories and combining it with the topology of where I have grown and lived. The sea that surrounds my promontory is generated from the audio of that music. This way the entire piece can be aurally experienced. With the notated pieces creating a layered and distorted form of the original piece of music – the distortions taking the form of pitches bending under the strain of the topographies of memory and place – amid the sea of noise generated from the piece. The only elements not meant to be derived from the interlock of life and music are the “real” map from which the fantasy landmass extends, the text and symbols in the key, and the fantasy heraldry. Initially I planned a Key – and spent a great deal of time seeking to take the abstract, but highly data-relevant, symbols of music latching them to the hidden narrative I was discussing and then making a key that would translate those symbols into other symbols that have more narrative meanings. For instance ♬ being read every time on the map as ♈.