16 October 2012

On either side of the hush

David Toop on sound and cinema, noise and silence, music and text, and a new work by Christian Marclay:

"A knock on the door in a film; think about it. There is dread, maybe for one party or both, or there is desire, maybe for one party or both. Maybe dread and desire are the same. The knocking may be reversed invitation, the prelude to an opening, or death knell, ...A knuckle strikes wood and on the other side of that resonant wood surface another story is set in motion by the unknown part of a sound, the drum and its interior. Simple. ...Last night I was woken from a dream, not a nightmare, by three thunderous bangs. They forced me to get up, prowl the house yet they came out of sleep and a beating heart, not the house, and who is to say that their origin was not a convergence of my currently troubled mind and the rapid sequence of rat-a-tat door knocking that opens Marclay’s Everyday ? [...]

"Sound in cinema can silence both music and text. A gap in the script. Voices fall silent; the empty orchestra offstage is given a well-deserved rest. Theatre dies (finally) to make way for the everyday. Jacques Tati was the master of this. Complex surfaces, Michel Chion says, writing of Tati, describing scenes as if they were Duchamp’s nude, descending the stair in planes and fragments of time. 'CLANG goes the now famous swinging door in Les Vacances.' A thousand other noises of the everyday besides, all noises quiet deafening short extended and silent raised to the brief intensity of fireworks. The founding myth of contemporary art, Duchamp’s readymade, is caught up in this everyday. A door swing, CLANG, nothing. But Tati makes it swing again, then again, then again. Now we hear it, not as a special door that would compel us to book our own holiday just to be able to hear it, but as all doors: CLANG."


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