Space as an instrument

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Space as an instrument

Space as a sound-musical entity is the point of departure. Space becomes a musical instrument that is predominately played with percussive playing techniques. The individual area of the spacial location become, quasi, their own autonomous sub-instruments, such as various areas of the floor, window panes, walls, the air and also stools or podiums. Through the act of playing these various individual ‘instruments’, I also travel in space bringing the choreographic/dancerly space into play.

I only need minimal resources, such as a “Floor Rubber” or “Whipping-Sticks”. Otherwise only the hands, feet and the whole body are the instruments of sonic production that bring the space to sound. The movement in space becomes, through this, a central element that cannot be separated from the acoustic experience. Body and space melt in the process of producing sound, into an interdependent resonating body.

Through the trans-disciplinary cooperative practice with contemporary dancers I develop a method of playing space that also incorporates the choreographic/dancerly space. In this way, movement can also be a point of departure for sound in which the sound interacts with movement in a way that predetermines movement. In 2012, the connection was established between musical and choreographic/dancerly movement in the performance concept “moved music” and shortly thereafter a performance with the dancer Nina Hänel in which on the stage space a giant imaginary percussion-set was played. My movement served as the point of departure for dance material for the other dancers.

Space as Resource

One and the same space can take on so many different spheres. It is this redefinition or multi-definition of space that I find fascinating. The everyday floor can transform at any moment into a demanding music instrument with musical-artistic elements, such as pitch, timbre, and their rhythmic ordering- and then suddenly the floor can return its “original” function. This shifting of focus and attention are decisions that we consciously, but mostly un consciously, reach.
At the same time as it is a musical instrument, the space is also a stage, a surface for ordered movement, a space/place of sounding and happening.
It is solely the inner decision that allows the moment to become a musical-artistic moment.

For me, the questions are: to what extent do we need instruments, and the related question when and how can an object become an instrument? From theses questions, over the course of the last years, my concept has developed of playing that which already is already there and around me and what already has a sound quality.
This is, for me, a social statement: I engage with the resources that are immediately around me. I am not dependant on extra material commodities. Through this, I become a “musical self-supporter”. The concept for a sustainable, minimalist and conscious life is comparable here with the potential for social transformation.

Realisation possibles: Performances/Happenings/Interventions and Labor phase/Workshops

© 2020 Holger Maik Mertin. All rights reserved.