As of today 22.6.2020, my kinetic sound sculpture Multiplexing belongs to the permanent collection of MOMus Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki, Greece. I feel thrilled! I am taking this opportunity to share a few thoughts about the way a composer might feel when expressing himself in a quite different medium than pure sound (visuals, sculpture, etc).
Generally, I believe that apart from the technical differences between various forms of art, there is common ground in the process of expressing oneself in artistic means. Same agonies, efforts, failures, etc. Nevertheless, there were two very special aspects I experienced with this work and I would like to share. The first is the way I interacted with the audience-spectators and the second is the way I had to treat the work after its first exhibition was over.
The interaction with the spectators was very interesting. A composer usually shares the experience of a performance of his work with his audience. At the actual performance time, he is usually attending carefully the execution of music and he is focused mostly on his own work, concentrated on the activity taking place on the stage. The actual realization of a musical work is usually a very short experience, there is no time to observe the audience. In the case of installation art on the other hand one has the chance to stand near his work and hear, see and feel the audience’s reactions directly. Pretending that I was a visitor, I was looking directly at the facial expression of people who were visiting the museum. It was a very intense and direct experience, much more truthful than the polite and often fake commentaries following -usually- a musical performance. Though with music I feel one can establish a very deep link with the audience in media arts one can establish a very direct one.
The second aspect was a very challenging one. Whilst a composer usually stores his scores, which are symbolic representations of a work to come in life, in bookshelves or places where he has access to read them and reconstruct the music in his mind, in visual arts once an exhibition is over you are left with a “corpse”, the actual work, on your hands. You have to store the final work physically, not knowing when and if the light will come upon it again. There is a sense of a funeral. Especially when handing the work in a museum for permanent storage -which means you might not see the work for very long periods of time- one has to take care of the work surviving any possible problems over time. It’s a special funeral where the burial aims to maintain and preserve the life of the work instead of terminating it. Life, like the future, is completely unpredictable and so is the art and also the artwork itself: dead or alive or in between.