OPTICAL IMAGE OF MUSIC
FINE ARTS PRACTICE
It is difficult to explain, let alone assert with certainty what actually happens with the physical impulse of sound – listening to music, as time-defined psychoactive substance, affecting our senses. No doubt, such confrontations with the abstract, rhythmic and harmonic contents are strictly subjective, but owing to their comparability and insight they are also extremely interesting.
Initially it shall be emphasised that each assertion related to sensual impressions as the consequence of reaction to music is – questionable. Mainly owing to the fact that sound – music does not by itself bring any natural – tangible contents of auditory imprint, as well as due to objectively inadequate semantic or symbolic meanings and comparisons with their explanation.
For this reason the scope of sensual impressions may be defined as intermediate, subjective, connecting area between physics and psychology. At the same time, one shall try to find objectivity in physical phenomena, while psychology still remains in secret and inaccessible electro-chemical processes inside our bodies, reflected through explicit subjectivity.
The drawback of such research in art, as well as in other areas, through the framework of objectivity – science is in my opinion in acceptable inaccuracy, hidden in superficiality of daily communication, demands of expectations and adopted habits.
The question is: how to define and logically consolidate logic-free automatism? Dynamic »contents« of real response, i.e. the fact of sensual reflection when listening to music. Especially that caused by increased rhythm?
Is experience of a motive – if known acceptably with majority contents of nature, which is also the prevailing contents of consciousness and subconscious – associative? Perhaps in some suggestive, consensual, semantic or comparable meaning. Objectively, however, these two categories are by no means comparable or compatible!
The search for an answer to this question in the sense of the experiment – to make invisible visible and at the same time to come closer to logical reality, i.e. objectivity, was in practice focused on a special form of »transcription«. In its form it is similar to neumatic transcription, for the first time recorded in the Greek/Roman literature and later on in music expression of this kind: following the tone lines; up down, bigger smaller – »actus-gravis«. In our case, listening to a music work.
Although such »writing« in its final shape contained in some way consolidated elements of music, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, metrics, etc., by itself it did not mean anything stimulative in the sense of auditory impression. This is more tangible and to a certain extent »uncouth« contents of the subconscious. Nevertheless, in the background there was an interesting process going on, mainly of repeatable transformation of the tone line with all its inherent contents and characteristics into optic image through the act of movement.
A curiosity of such, free »transcription«, the whole music work, formed by tone line – without colour, only with a line, is in the fact that despite expected chaos a recognisable and utmost repeatable structure/network was formed.
In practice this means that when listening, the ear leads the hand, which »transcribes« the heard contents into a »letter«. At the same time the eye with its vision has equal and unimpeded possibility to express reflection in any colour of the spectrum. Thus, the inventory of colour when listening to a music work is left to the momentary optic touch, i.e. to the momentarily achieved subconscious balance of individual tone or its part with individual colour from the present spectrum. Here, the optic contact with just one colour remains within the limits of objectivity of the reaction time for the selected colour, and it is at the same time a reflection which balances the initiated affect/provocation of individual tone or part of a tone.
Simultaneous with the colour input, in the practice of fine arts expression also the shape of »transcription« changes. It is no longer in the form of a »letter«, but it is formed freely, equally and transparently on the whole fine arts surface in the sense of decorative painting or arabesque.
These are tone lines – holders of heard contents, incorporating the beginning, the dynamics, the character and the »fading« (trajectors) of individual tones. Naturally, not the whole music work, since it comprises in its extent and contents almost indefinite number of sound effects – information. In fact, it is this fact that bestows to the music work with its each performance originality, i.e. material uniqueness.
At the same time it should be understood that tone by itself is not a single unambiguous colour, although it lasts just for a second, but it is part of the colour spectrum – reaction colours that can be sensed in a time segment shorter than a second. Owing to our meagre response time – reflection, the contents of music work in the actual performance time cannot be either captured or expressed in fine arts terms, although we sense it by hearing and by vision. It can only be expressed by several successively similar movements – explicit gestures combined into oneness as distinguishable part of the pattern, or character of the structure as part of the entirety.
At this point there appears the question of objectivity. In other words, the »repeatability« of such »transcription«, mainly because of slow reaction or limited »inclusion« of balanced tones with colour from the heard music work. Practice shows that senses are in this respect rather poorly developed and that with practice they can be improved considerably. At the same time I believe that there are realistic possibilities and bases for a new, extremely sensible, reproductive fine arts practice as well as new comprehension of fine arts, captured in the time spatiality of a music work.
>From this point forward music and fine arts expression can be connected, researched and observed: firstly – as fine arts expression itself, depicting its multilayered character and still remaining with its modes of expression within the limits of its fine arts origins. And secondly – as form of expression, active substance, objectively and materially considering and uniting time in itself.
In the second example the space of fine arts act is no longer the classical surface of artistic expression – canvas, paper or similar, but a new, two-dimensional, digital surface – computer monitor. It is a projection – format, allowing not only to relive the effect, but offering a space where »pure«, dynamic, sound-initiated emotions can be expressed and preserved in time.
In such formations depicting colour »transcription« of the whole music work or only the extreme state of emotions – expressed auditory perception, the phenomenon of association, i.e. »double vision« could be noticed in the optic touch of the resulting painting – arabesque. This means that with observation the contents of structure loses its meaning by itself, it is reflected and connected to different contents. To images of the subconscious.
The phenomenon has been known through the history for a long time; in Arab coloured works, in astronomy and elsewhere.
When listening to the music, in the moment when the transition into its atmosphere, rhythm, melody, harmony, etc., happens, when duality becomes singularity, when music »takes us over«, it also »touches« our subconscious and its vast – as well as sleeping – contents. Subconsciously aroused contents are in a sense also formed unconsciously and unclearly, only that this time due to conscious decision to observe the dynamic strokes, lines/tones – which last, in the foreground of the double vision they form explicit unexpected, dynamic contents from the »unorganised« subconscious. Such associative connection, or rather »sprouting« by observing the emerging bipolar structure, opens a spontaneous – original instinctive fantasy, similar to that of children in the mythological period of fairy-tales. In its beginnings it is expressed in uncertain formative connections: unclear, foggy, abstract, but still in a way defined by nature, objects – figuralics.
A conclusion is formed that when surrendering to the flow of music – instinctive impulse, comfort without the conscious, balanced observation or participation – especially to music with more rhythm, the state of consciousness gets foggy and the real image of the surroundings is »erased«.
With sharpened view to the emerging structure, especially when the rhythm is increased, this structure is being replaced, through the duality of the visible, with the unexpected images from the deeper layers of the subconscious. Less consciously controlled – less interconnected, and vice versa.
At this point and in this way listening to music allows us to artistically »glean« individual coincidental and vague, in fact »mythological primitive sequences«, idiographic contents of one’s infinite, uncontrollable and »disorderly« subconscious.
This changed state of consciousness – “travel” or better said associative, formative connection of imaginative surpluses in the sense of nature, is in a sense stimulated by music with its sound contents – consciously or unconsciously as well as misleadingly, and is expected from the listeners.
With images, provoked in this way, associatively coincidental – before sensible shaping, from different layers of subconscious, especially of their contents, there were quite many open questions from the beginning.
They were logically unrelated, unbalanced and incomprehensible. They indicated aimlessness, some form of insecurity or the state of being lost. This brings about an interesting cognition that the resulting images are undoubtedly a form of connection between the subconscious state of mind and the music-induced movement.
The awkward feeling with the emerging and confusing unreal contents that escape conscious control, that cannot be grouped or organised, has been hiding in the uncontrolled subconscious surrendering to increased rhythm. To unlimited freedom, nonresistance that causes uncontrolled movement and »ascend« or better said risky »falling« into lower layers of subconscious.
No doubt that rhythm as phenomenon is part of all living – it is natural and known since the beginning of time. It is regarded from several aspects, and in different cultures it is mainly considered in the sense of eternal return – cycles. Its essence is in the fact that it has strong subconscious effect on us. It is the link between reality and the subconscious – as mentioned above. In extreme cases, in resonance, it takes us into the state of unlimited freedom, into the infinity of time and space.
Thus, rhythm is a need. It brings »cleansing« or better said temporary benevolent »emptiness«. In some sense it also heals, relaxes, frees our minds, brings back childlike playfulness. It brings about pleasant feeling, similar to that experienced with good food or sex, and then fills us again with clearer senses and contents.
Considering the distance covered and the perseverance in this direction, it can be concluded that the resulting fine arts contents are rather primitive images of the fine arts practice. They let us conclude that they are similar to the discoveries of the cave paintings of our ancient ancestors. This points to the authentic, genetically original state. Return or »journey« to the subconscious – beyond consciousness. Unpredictable, mainly in motion emerging contents, separate from their natural relation and prevailing dionesy.
The contents of the emerging images have no limits, no horizon, gravity or perspective in the sense of closed space. Images are in a sense with no attributes to reflect a balanced clear picture of nature without illusions of »accustomed« rules in the aesthetic sense. They are merely fragmented – momentary reflection of the disorderly and inaccessible, visually unclear subconscious.
Way out from the »dead-end street« in the sense of understanding and conscious imaging, in the surrendering to music, its rhythm, melody, harmony, …, is to dive into one’s own »safekeeping of the memory treasure« in a programmed, conscious manner. »Abduct« the random – fairy-tale contents. To »bring« it to higher spheres of consciousness and finish its shape in the sense of inherent and desired order – rationality, contents and message – artistic image.
In such »reproductive portrayal« with careful listening to music the exceptional fact of incessant presence of different levels of reflection is confirmed. It is shaped in affect of the remaining instinct, as the consequence of the resulting emptiness, intended to inherent instinctive characteristic of expectation, which is the expected, pleasantly and safely acting contents in the act of listening. Practice also brings the cognition that this emptiness – instinct for security is with listening subconsciously »filled up« with optic touch. With adequate colour, that is with the surface of a familiar object, it is at the same time the carrier of colour and is present in the space of listening. Unfortunately, it is inadequate for the reason of »silent« colour, the dominating signifying contents of the form – object. We are withdrawn from the music because of inadequate and unbalanced association.
In the absence of these surfaces of different colours, as well as »adequate« forms/arabesques that allow harmony of double vision – form in the space, the perception of music is often subconscious. It is with no proper concentration and with numerous collisions focused on the prevailing movement in the space. During concert performance – in the presence of performers or with closed eyes, by surrendering to the unforeseen contents of one’s own subconscious.
After several years of research in fine arts expressions and with the opus of such paintings and arabesques it may be concluded that especially arabesques sometimes took over fascinating spectrum of colours from music. However, in reality only seemingly, since it is a form of music »portrayal«. The painting of its image with all the characteristics of a portrait is not unknown in the fine arts language. Thus, the transformation brings the cognition that in the limit area, between hearing and seeing, there is a concrete form of interaction – resonance. Between music and optic-sensual balance, the arabesques and colour. It is comfort offered by such contact and the effort of following the emerging contents.
Thus, in the fine arts act, surrounded by music, the instinctive inborn expectation and intention of designing – ordering is reshaped into impulses. Inside them reflection as direct reality is balanced and with finished image. The first time with just heard contents and the second time with shaping expressed by simultaneous and conscious imitation – »copying« in the sense of colour reproduction. In its descriptive form it fills up the above mentioned space of expectation and shaping.
It shall be understood that impulses are no longer directed towards image presentation and search for »adequate« contents, with the edge of limited dualities of nature images, preserved in memory, in unclear subconscious or in direct surroundings. They are surpassed and are expressed in conscious following of two types of real and different changing contents: sound and colour – inside a single open time/space. In its inside – in music, now clear and visually wide open structural entirety.
In the artistic expression it is, as mentioned above, an emerging image of a colourful »portrait« of the heard music.
One no longer sees a picture in the natural and contextual meaning of representation – imitation of matter and notions, which is the majority, incessantly misleading expectation of music and its participants, but a projection/screen – music enlightened from within, in its static and dynamic structural form. Its individuality in the optic continuity that can be compared and described only the starry sky and endless universe observed from the edge.
In the time extension of music observed in this way there dominates, or one could say, always wins safe comfort of the unknown and the extremely attractive, as well as the feelings of the arising optic touch of the music sphere beyond the surroundings and subconsciously – image contents of duality expected in the continuation, of known nature or story.
Through the projection »cave« the image of music literally opens up to the listener and invites them to its inner world. Attractive, moving contents of tones, expressed in colour with dynamic radiation, in extended field of aesthetics, unburden now also active spectator of the unimportant present presence and gravity of the material world. It relocates them in its unexpected structural world revealing in front of them in its fascination.
Finally, such approach of extra-musical, conscious following and discovering of structural – tone contents, their interrelations in movement as well as the unification of these contents into entirety, is enabled by surrendering the stiff independence – limited self and detachment of minds, carried inside us. Thus, the integral and open action of music now allows us to make a synthesis, simultaneous identification of diversity into oneness and thus separation from the present with the transition into the part and dimension of its cyclic time, its essence that we are facing when listening and looking.
With sequences limited in time-space, super-abstract colour, its magic effect and dynamic relations, the emerging – new aesthetic spheres are in this way in the wide openness taken from music, its emerging – new aesthetic sphere, and installed in not yet researched and defined space, formed and accessible today only in projection. And this is no longer illusion, it is reality, it is I believe; prediction for the coming differentness in the world of music. In it, in the concurrence of two different contents, the asserted and extremely »enchained« linear and guided following to music is transcended. Literary model, imitated materialism and entanglement in the familiar unambiguousness – present also in the practice of the fine arts expression.
Ljubljana, May 2006