Networked_Music_Review

Jorinde Voigt – Matrix & Lemniscate [de Kőln]

voigt1.jpgJorinde Voigt – Matrix [Notations] with Patric Catani & Chris Imler (Composition) and Lemniscate / ∞ [Acoustic Cluster] ::until December 20, 2008 :: Galerie Christian Lethert, Antwerpener Strasse 4, 50672 Kőln, Germany.

Matrix & Lemniscate is a unique collaboration between the artist Jorinde Voigt, and composers Patric Catani and Chris Imler. The lemniscate is, fundamentally a mechanism for the infinite (∞). A lemniscus or ‘ribbon’ that chases itself in a figure of eight describes the repeated and unending journey of the unbounded. Early Indian thinkers were quick to assert the abstract powers of infinities by recognising that when adding or removing parts to infinity, infinity would always remain. Jorinde Voigt draws structures energised by real and imagined possibilities to investigate finite boundaries of systems. She frames and moderates these investigations with spatiotemporal data, information on speed, volume, and an overlaying of sequences. Her notations embrace the concept that elements of equal value co-exist in a logic and proportion of their own.

It is interesting to note then, that the lemniscate’s form derives itself from an ellipse, a figure wherein the sum of its distances to two fixed points is a constant. The French philosopher Descartes, turned these spatial observations into the grounding principles of his Cartesian system of thinking which saw the merging of algebra and geometry. For Voigt, whose earlier drawn notations were reminiscent of equations, her current work has developed to propose a highly inventive form of ‘situational geometry’, where patterns of cultural behaviour are put into relative position to geographical properties of space. As Cartesian thinking influenced not only mathematics but also the science of map drawing, Voigt’s drawings or ‘scores,’ have left the paper for the Lemniscate project and begun to take place in space and time.

Following Voigt’s concepts, composers Patric Catani and Chris Imler, have laid the ‘lazy 8’ of the infinity motif into the gallery space in the form of an acoustic ‘cluster’. The looped composition formed of 16 chapters, snakes around 7 points realised using a multi-channel arrangement of 5 loudspeakers and thus describes the shape of a lemnsicate through pure sound. With their insight into musical forms, Catani and Imler made both field recordings that included the surrounding cityscape of Berlin and also initiated their own sources of sound. These tones and frequencies have then been layered at varying speeds and rhythms to construct a shifting musical ‘swarm’ (evocative maybe of the flocks of multiple elements in Voigt’s drawings). Standing in the centre of this work, the effect is of an architected, geometric form – sensed but not seen, and entirely physical in its scale (the cluster of sound existing between the ground and head height). At the core of the Lemniscate composition is Catani and Imler’s structural break up of a tonal construction as the various layers shift and chase themselves around a physical space.

Within this physical space, Voigt’s works on paper: Schwarm and Matrix also co-exist alongside the Lemniscate installation. Existing in their own right, the drawings serve to have initiated discussions about principles of collective movement, challenging Catani and Imler with a creative platform through which to develop Lemniscate. The large scale Schwarm series concerns itself with many features of Voigt’s previous notations: kisses, detonations, wind speeds, the flight of eagles, but examines how these singular events may take place in a larger course of action. These works deal with the duplication of forms within plural forces such as energy, wind force and collective direction. Dynamic processes are inherent in these notations. Totalling 40 works on paper, Matrix proposes an extended system of the Schwarm series, whereby clustered elements of this large series are isolated and matrixed. It is in these drawings that Voigt gives an intimate treatment to these actions and the notion of the point of view is prevalent.

In answering the classic paradox ‘what happens if an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?’ Isaac Asimov hints at both forces transferring their infinite energies into one another. Voigt, Catani and Imler may offer up the alternate question ‘what happens if the mortal individual is confronted by unending flux?’. Matrix & Lemniscate speaks both of our material and animal existence in the face of an ever advancing immaterial world and of the micro and finite condition of the human, in relation to an overall and infinite passing of time. Lemniscate was created 2008 (in part) at Watermill – Center, NY, a laboratory for performance.


Nov 18, 2008
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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