With projects such as Clock DVA and The Anti Group, Adi Newton investigated the philosophical, esoteric and political resonances of the relationship between music, technology and image. Conversation with one of the greatest sound alchemists of all time
We publish the interview to Adi Newton contained in Chaos Variation III , the 12 "+ SD Card vinyl edition by Obsolete Capitalism and the same Adi Newton / TAG (The Anti-Group) just published by Rizosfera . Translation from English by Claudio Kulesko. We thank Rizosfera and Obsolete Capitalism for availability.
Obsolete Capitalism: We begin the conversation by working on the concept of intensive and a-programmatic bifurcation. A cartography of your long and astonishing artist itinerary leads us to identify two main floors. In our opinion, we are dealing with two macro-environments in which it is possible to divide your theoretical-sound research and your audio-visual pragmatics: the first of these environments is the Piano- Clock Dva , the second is the piano- Anti Group, often collected in the acronym TAG / TAGC. In between, many interesting collaborations, almost as a corollary of an intersection with the two artistic intervention plans mentioned above. The two macro-environments you have created are certainly intersecting, but they are also strongly divergent. In your audio-alchemical laboratory, at what point of personal and artistic research does the bifurcation between Clock Dva and Anti-Group begin, and what rhythm, or interval, can we attribute to them?
Adi Newton: Of course there is always a connection between things. Consider the theory of morphic resonance of Rupert Sheldrake. "The morphic fields of social groups connect the members of the group to each other even miles away, providing communication channels through which organisms can remain in contact with each other despite the distance. They help us provide an explanation for telepathy. Today there is strong evidence that different animal species are telepathic, and that telepathy appears to be a fairly common means of animal communication. Telepathy is normal, not paranormal, and is natural, not supernatural: it is also common among people, especially among people who know each other well. The morphic fields of mental activity are not confined to our heads. They extend well beyond our brains, through intention and attention. We are already familiar with the idea that fields extend beyond the material objects in which they are rooted: as in the case of magnetic fields propagating beyond the surface of the magnets; the gravitational field of the Earth extends well beyond the earth's surface, keeping the moon within its own orbit; the fields of a cell phone extend far beyond the telephone itself. In the same way, the fields of our minds extend far beyond our brains "(Sheldrake, 1981). the fields of a cell phone extend far beyond the telephone itself. In the same way, the fields of our minds extend far beyond our brains "(Sheldrake, 1981). the fields of a cell phone extend far beyond the telephone itself. In the same way, the fields of our minds extend far beyond our brains "(Sheldrake, 1981).
Here is a summary of the properties of the morphic field, as described by Rupert Sheldrake: "At each level of complexity, the hypothesized properties of the morphic fields can be summarized as follows: 1) These are self-organizing totalities. 2) They possess both a spatial and a temporal aspect, and organize spatio-temporal patterns of vibratory or rhythmic activity. 3) Attract the systems in their sphere of influence towards models and forms of characteristic activities, of which they organize the coming-in-being, and of which they maintain the integrity. The goals, or objectives, towards which the morphic fields attract the systems placed under their influence are called attractors. The paths through which, usually, the systems reach these attractors are called creodi. 4) They interconnect and coordinate the morphic units, the holons, located within them, which, in turn, become whole organized by the morphic fields. The morphic fields contain within them other morphic fields, structured according to a certain hierarchy, or olarchy. 5) These are probability structures, and their organizational activity is probabilistic. 6) They are equipped with an integrated memory, produced by self-resonance with the past of an internal morphic unit, and by morphic resonance with all previous analogous systems. This memory is cumulative. The more certain patterns of activity are repeated, the more they tend to become habitual "(Sheldrake, 1981). The morphic fields contain within them other morphic fields, structured according to a certain hierarchy, or olarchy. 5) These are probability structures, and their organizational activity is probabilistic. 6) They are equipped with an integrated memory, produced by self-resonance with the past of an internal morphic unit, and by morphic resonance with all previous analogous systems. This memory is cumulative. The more certain patterns of activity are repeated, the more they tend to become habitual "(Sheldrake, 1981). The morphic fields contain within them other morphic fields, structured according to a certain hierarchy, or olarchy. 5) These are probability structures, and their organizational activity is probabilistic. 6) They are equipped with an integrated memory, produced by self-resonance with the past of an internal morphic unit, and by morphic resonance with all previous analogous systems. This memory is cumulative. The more certain patterns of activity are repeated, the more they tend to become habitual "(Sheldrake, 1981). This memory is cumulative. The more certain patterns of activity are repeated, the more they tend to become habitual "(Sheldrake, 1981). This memory is cumulative. The more certain patterns of activity are repeated, the more they tend to become habitual "(Sheldrake, 1981).
So, from what we can understand, the information, once conceptualized and conceived, begins to resonate outwards, as if it were a wave in propagation, informing other receivers that they will end up having the same ideas. A concept, an idea, then, will inform other ideas, so the morphic resonance, the etheric vibration, the connectivism, the collective unconscious, can all partly explain the phenomenon for which certain events develop simultaneously in different topographical locations, within different cultures and in different languages, as can be seen in the arts, sciences and many other fields. From my point of view, therefore, my work is not only interconnected with sound, or with music, but also with art and science, and with other systems of thought and practices such as magic, alchemy and philosophical-spiritual beliefs. All this informs my ideas and my practices in the fields of art, painting, film production, or creative audio.
The Anti-Group, «The Delivery», Atonal Festival 1985
Let us now talk about the productive unity and its "excessive" side. Here the excess is understood as a wealth of themes, plurality of perspectives, multiplicity of theories juxtaposed in the assembling plane, and of the articulation of the involved languages - sound, image, text. Since its first appearance as The Anti-Group / TAGC - the first two years (1985/1986) at the Atonal festival in Berlin, for example - the synaesthesia between these three aspects of art remains your authorial signature - or your fundamental modus operandi- that produces that «surplus» that we translate as «excess of discourse». It is a matter that is not known as "schematising" or storing, then as today, within a single object of fruition, or of a precise discursive category - be it in the form of disc, film, video or performance, or all four things together. How has your approach to mixed media developed, and what motives, or intensity, have "forced" you to present your artistic projects with this discursive surplus?
From an early age, and throughout my life, my main interest was painting; I look at art, theater and cinema, from the privileged perspective of a painter. I work starting from an intuition: «An absolute can not be given by intuition, while all the rest derives from the analysis. Here we call intuition the sympathy with which one enters an object in order to coincide with what it has of the unique and, therefore, of inexpressible. On the contrary, analysis is the operation that leads the object back to elements already known, that is, common to this object and to others. "(Henri Bergson, 2012).
When I started experimenting with sound, I started with tape recordings and for me, at that time, the tape recorder was a means of altering and modifying the sound from recordings of concrete or acusmatic sounds, or some kind of tool. Through the physical editing, the variation of the speed, the reversal of the tape or its manipulation, it was possible to obtain compositions or arrangements. I was interested in the works of experimental artists such as John Cage, Earle Brown, Ilhan Kemaleddin Mimaroǧlu, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, GRM, and more recent groups such as Velvet Underground. Thanks to my interest in art - as these sound artists were exploring the relationship between visual art and other forms of expression such as dance and cinema - all this fascinated me,
These first experiments of exploratory relationships between different practices, as in the case of Reunion 's performance by Cage and Duchamp, or the soundscape designed by Varese, Xenakis and Le Corbusier for the Philips Electronics Pavillon, at the 1958 World's Exposition in Brussels , marked the beginning of the expanding development of what today could be defined as a form of multimedia. I always had the idea of extending my ideas in other areas, such as the visual, starting with the use of 8 mm films and slide projectors. Over time, and with the advance of technology, I was then able to proceed towards a greater integration between sound and visual art.
Clock DVA, «The Hacker», 1988
We have always thought about your artistic research as The Anti-Group / TAGC - but this is also found in the Clock Dva of The Hacker / Man Amplified period - as one of the fundamental pillars for understanding the concept and evolution of the "Image-Sound" »In art and in the theory of cinema-thought. The Image-Sound is the third movement of the image, that intersperse gap that defines a new level of "expanded cinema" that others call "the cinema of the future". The Image-Sound is when between sound and image there is no separation, if not an area of obscure and deep indeterminacy in which the sound becomes image, while the image becomes sound - as in the case of the performance of TAG in Prato , at the Museum of Contemporary Art (1988). The Image-Sound is that battlefield in which the clash between cinema, video and television dissolves in favor of a pure and at times narrative, sometimes semi-spherical, spiritual and intense image and sound. Your expressive side has often remained in the shade, while it seems to us the most advanced and the most paradigmatic. Do you want to talk about how, in your work, the image has changed so radically?
I believe that this aspect has in some ways developed together with greater availability of technologies and their advancement, since it has become possible to adopt techniques that, previously, were the preserve of expert systems, in Artificial Intelligence, and of very expensive processes. employed by specialized industries. Computers, especially in my work, have allowed us to integrate these two media, and to manipulate the sound to levels previously impossible outside of IRCAMstudies, or other experimental research studies. What would have required several weeks of physical work before, could now be obtained in a few days, and then be further developed; and it could be suggested that the immediacy introduced into computer music consists in the fact that it allows to assimilate such techniques into an easily applicable form, thus becoming a simulacrum of the original. In some ways, in the previous epochs, the technological restrictions and the scarce availability of the technologies have stimulated the invention, and therefore it is easier, nowadays, to understand that it has come to constitute a milieu , in which the techniques and experiments of the pioneers previous ones have become part of a sound fabric.
But to create something new or to expand what already exists, we must go even further, not only creating a unique individual expression, but also expanding the conceptual themes and their relations with the visual counterpart and with the corresponding literature, highlighting new significant meanings. For this reason, my work is both an investigation of relationships and connections within a given area of interests, and an application of these researches, which end up organizing the composition, structure and content; every element, therefore, is inserted inside the work, informing a total sound field. This sound field is, as you refer, the Image-Sound, containing the sum of a work in which there is no separation between image, sound and concept.
The Anti-Group, Digitaria , 1987
Your first artistic project in 1977 was called The Future. Already from the ambitious name, the future relationship and technology has represented for you a tension towards what seems to be destined to actualize itself as articulated coexistence, but it is already reality as a virtual project. The technological revolution, from the time when The Future, Clock Dva, The Anti-Group took shape at the end of the seventies, produced a dynamic model of society that structures our lives and profiles our culture in such a way as to allow impetuous development, facilitating some material sides of our way of life, but complicating other aspects. Can you talk about your approach to technology and technological objects in particular? And above all, how has technology changed your prospects for the future, and your approach to art and sound?
The relationship between science and art is something that has always existed, and the computer is the tool that has given us the opportunity to further develop the creativity of the mind and imagination. As an answer to your question about my approach to sound technology, we could turn to recording and recording with ambiguous techniques, a future form of sound reproduction, as well as a technique related to the total sound field and its studio replication. Since I recorded the TAGC album, Digitaria with ambiguous techniques33 years ago, these acoustic and psychoacoustic sciences have developed further, and technology and information have become even more accessible, both in terms of hardware and software. I am currently holding seminars and lectures on theory and practice at the State University of New York, New Paltz. The lessons concern not only ambiguous technology, but the creative use of the total sound field, which is in any case a practice already present in itself, as well as creative applications based on a more conceptual approach. There is, therefore, a relationship between the development of technology, creativity and imagination.
How many times, every day, do we pick up our mobile phones to check messages, to use social media, or take photographs, etc.? The number of applications that mobile technology offers is expanding more and more. It can not be denied that the cell phone has so far saved countless lives, and that it continues to do so; the development of medical technologies related to mobile technologies is only a small example, and yet very positive. Certainly there is also the invasive aspect, linked to control, of technology; the dystopian features we see appear more and more often have been written and predicted many times in science fiction.
With my colleague and good friend TeZ ( Maurizio Martinucci ) we are working on a new album by Clock DVA which will be titled Analog Soundtracks , a sort of sequel to the previous Clock DVA album Digital Soundtracks ; this new album, however, will be strongly inspired by the ideas of the dystopian future described in works such as We by Evgenij Zamjatin, or Synthajoy of DG Compton, or in the work of JG Ballard. But next to the negative ones there are also different technologies and positive scientific achievements, positive advances on which to work and on which you can concentrate according to your needs. In every system the negative aspects are always the easiest to find, becoming the dominant and determining aspects of that system.
There is no doubt about the degree of integration of digital technology in contemporary society: in fact, some aspects are omnipresent and are part of the very fabric of the system we currently take for granted. Control over electricity, water, food, shelter, education and health by computerized systems linked to individual credit has already been fully integrated. There is no Future, only a continuation of the Now that determines it. Technology should be liberated to provide for different modes of elevation of individual consciousness and, eventually, for the possibility that all of society is raised to a level that would allow us to build an empathized and civilized culture. This would be ideal. I hope that my work with TAG / Clock DVA can help to ensure that computers and technologies encourage the human mind to focus on a more positive use of technologies, in all their different and multiple uses. But, as always, the inverse must also be considered.
I believe this extracted from Rumors. Essay on the political economy of music, Jacques Attali's book, is really relevant, also with regard to the question you ask: «Music is more than an object of study: it is a way of perceiving the world. A tool aimed at understanding. Nowadays, no theory obtained through language or mathematics can be considered sufficient; it would be unable to account for what remains essential over time - the qualitative and fluid aspect, threats and violence. In the face of the growing ambiguity of the signs that are used and exchanged, even the most solid concepts are crumbling and every theory wobbles. The current representation of the economy, trapped within the structures erected in the seventeenth century or, at most, around 1850, is not able to predict, describe or even express what awaits us. To speak to new realities it is necessary to imagine radically new theoretical forms. Music, the organization of noises, is one of these forms. It rejects the fabrication of society, since it constitutes the same audible wavelength of those vibrations and those signs that make up society. As an intelligent instrument, music drives us to decipher a sound form of knowledge "(Jacques Attali, 1978).
Clock Dva, Man-Amplified , 1992
We now enter deep into the heart of The Anti Group. Is it right to divide your artistic work on sound into two distinct areas? According to our perspective, the first would be the art of listening, that is, not only the aspects of "affection" of a sound with respect to the environment it traverses and the subject that perceives it, but also the physical and molecular production of the wave sound (its frequency diagrams, infrasound, heights, etc.); the second would be how sound becomes "Revolutionary Machine", that is how sound becomes a heterogeneous machine that allies itself with other abstract lines of thought (philosophy, alchemical theories, non-epistemic knowledge) or with artistic expressive lines (theater, painting, cinema, video-art) forming not just "music" but something else that does not yet have a name ...
As the German theorist and jazz producer Joachim-Ernst Berendt wrote , scientists have only recently learned that the particles of an oxygen atom vibrate on a larger scale and that the blades of grass "sing". Moreover, different cultures only reaffirm what our ancestors have always known - the world is sound, rhythm and vibration.
Recent physics, tantra, cybernetics, Sufism and the works of Herman Hesse reveal the importance of sound in the formation of cultural and spiritual life throughout the world. Hans Kayser, Jean Gebser, Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan, musicians like John Coltrane and Ravi Shankar, Terry Riley and La Monte Young, suggest that feeling, rather than seeing, is one of the keys to experience consciousness and sound more spiritual, in relation to mathematics, logic, sacred geometry, myth, sexuality, in a practical as well as a theoretical sense, in order to develop the ear as an organ of spiritual perception. It follows that sound is something more than a mere auditory event, that is, something more similar to a psychoacoustic event, since it enters into relationship with psychological and physiological states.
The Anti-Group, «Sonochemistry», 1987
In the recent book by Pedro Domingos The Master Algorithm(2015), the author defines "alchemy" the whole experimental research, under Orthodox canons of science, which would lead to the formulation ell'Algoritmo-it-all-knows, the final mathematical string that would have created and made prosper Life and the Universe. What impresses in the lexical choice of Domingos is that even the AI boundaries of theism algorithmic, and the most advanced mathematics, the dial plan in which theoretical speculation and scientific research heterodox are articulated and inter-penetrate, feel the need to refer to the "obsolete and unqualified knowledge" of alchemy. What do you think of this contemporary teleology that refers to a new "algorithmic alchemy"? Your project Anti Group we like digital art and artistic quintessence today's techno-alchemist, but it moves in a direction opposite to that of Domingos and other scientistscomputer science ...
The origins of alchemy are arcane and perhaps beyond our reach, that is, located outside of time as we know it. All we believe we know is measured through our own designed tools; we can measure and observe only thanks to the power of the devices we have invented and devised, and which are based on our knowledge and our senses. The Macrocosm and the Microcosm are, at the same time, infinitely larger and smaller. The philosopher's stone, the quintessence, the hermetic table, etc., are ideas that have been preserved over time and which are still the object of research in various forms. The origins of alchemy can be traced back to earlier Arabic sources; the term alchemy (whose etymology is still uncertain, ndt) comes from the Arabic Al Khemi, "The black earth" or "the earth-burning" (perhaps resulting from a corruption of the name of ancient Egypt, k ē me , ndt) .
Western culture has reoriented and adapted many of its original ideas from external materials: both chemistry and mathematics originate from Asian cultures, and have existed longer than in the West. This is information that has been removed from Western culture, and is a real imbalance within a system where knowledge is really available at all levels, and the true source of all information is recognized. The idea that mathematics would be an instrument of explanation, or a modality of knowledge, can be found in Kabbalah, in numerology, in magic, and in tantric science, etc. And the idea that we are on the edge of knowledge is progressing: we are still looking for answers through the use of computers, or other equipment - again, our limits are represented by the machines we build. Real progress must take place through the development of consciousness, a process parallel to the evolution of humanity.Cosmic Consciousness: A Study on the Evolution of Mind (1901), by Richard Maurice Bucke, contains within it a table of the stages of Consciousness and, according to Bucke, before us there are still several centuries before a full realization is reached of consciousness. I focus a lot on the means of expanding consciousness, trying to establish new connections, testing the knowledge acquired and opening the way to new possibilities - which will then be fixed within a well-defined paradigm. In this sense, my alchemy consists of a system of opposites that allows the paradox, rather than deny it.
The Anti-Group, «Test Tones», 1988
Your next project, the long awaited Meontological Research Recording 3 (Meon 3), is the last chapter of a trilogy based on Michael Bertiaux's concept of "meon" . Meon 3 is a work dedicated to the teratology and psychoacoustics you've been working on for about 10 years: it promises to be the decisive threshold of your artistic and intellectual journey. The release is scheduled for 2019. What can you tell us about this ambitious project?
The project name is TAGC - Transmission from the Trans-Yoggothian Broadcast Station - Meontological Research Recording 3. Meontological 3 covers a wide area of research including the science outsiderand the pataphysical ideas of Alfred Jarry, and explores some of the main themes and concepts expressed in Michael Bertiaux's La Couleuvre Noire , in Kenneth Grant's Cult of Lam , as well as in the works of Jack Parsons (whose real name is John Whiteside Parsons , ndt) and Marjorie Cameron. The work investigates the new developments of the Gnostic Voodoo, as well as the scientific aspects implicit in esotericism. To each track corresponds a film and an essay that explore the connections and concepts related to each specific idea, providing further references. Each piece of music is an invocation designed to recall a channel of transmission of knowledge inherent to the song itself.
For example, «Meontological Cartography», created together with Michael Bertiaux, is an audiovisual work based on original paintings and drawings from his old works and his work, Vudu Cartography , published by Fulgur Limited (2010). Another example of effective collaboration concerns the piece created together with Barry William Hale, directly inspired by his book Legion 49, as well as other ideas borrowed from teratological and pataphysical concepts. Legion 49 explores the traditional methods of evocation and the myths concerning Beelzebub, offering an iconographic and sealed reinterpretation of his hordes of forty-nine servants through the symmetry-protective of the ancient Mexican art of papel picado. Each audio track of Meontological 3 is synchronized with a visual invocation. The recordings use samples of biological radio transmission, terrestrial and information ELF (Extremely Low Frequency, ndt). Films use multiple editing techniques and image manipulations aimed at synchronization.
Obsolete Capitalism is a collective that deals with Image :: Sound :: Thought .
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