I Ching

This week I decided to ask the I Ching:” Will I succeed in finishing all of my work? ” The results it gave me after I asked it online was particularly apt. The answer is below:

Mêng / Inexperience
A fresh Spring at the foot of the Mountain:
The Superior Person refines his character by being thorough in every activity.
The Sage does not recruit students; the students seek him.
He asks nothing but a sincere desire to learn.
If the student doubts or challenges his authority, the Sage regretfully cuts his losses.

SITUATION ANALYSIS:

This is a time of interchange between a mentor and pupil.
Whether you are the teacher or the student, it is a time of companionship along a mutual path.
This hexagram also emphasizes the eternal, cyclical nature of the mentor/student relationship — a mentor is merely a more seasoned pupil, further along on the journey.
A pupil holds within himself the seed of a future Master.

 

 

Development on Projects

I have been working on both projects simultaneously for a while now and have made several observations on each of them, in the context of what I should add and also how I should go about executing them.

Hall of Mirrors

Versailles gallery

 

My latest version of my Hall of Mirrors project manifested itself into a seven minute film clip of my dance teacher dancing in a mirror. It was black and white and completely silent.

Since the film is based on Cage’s 4’33” I decided to shorten it to 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Furthermore, on consultation with my tutor I was told that it would be a good idea to add sound, despite the fact that 4’33” is a silent piece.Thus I embarked on creating a track for this clip. To start with I went on youtube and found ballet videos. I selected one which observes a dance teacher instructing her ballet students in time to music. I extracted the dance teacher’s voice and cut it up using the scissors tool on Logic. I then distorted her voice so that in the end the words were no longer cohesive and sounded simply like a selection of sounds melded together. The result of this was an arty sounding, abstract track which I was very pleased with.

I still need to add more elements to this track such as backing instruments and other sounds which I can layer over the vocals so that it is fuller.

Music and Health

Specific-music-notes-

I have now done a lot of research and experimentation with my second major project. I feel I am now at the crux of it and it is time that I put my research into practise. It is clear to me that music affects the mind and body in a substantial way, and from my research I have realised that music is soothing mentally and physically. I am now focusing my attention on how I can present this research in a creative way. I desire to create a soundtrack for this project which imbibes concepts of health which I have explored. Therefore, I turned my attention to the styles of music which are inherent in meditation and wellbeing. I found (as explicated in a previous blog post) that music is extremely related to wellbeing when its tempo is at 432Hz. I also looked at yoga music in order to find out what the typical instruments were which were used for people’s wellbeing and came up with the following list: glockenspiels, natural sounds such as water, breathing and animal sounds (I selected some sounds of dolphins and crickets. At first I thought about using wolf sounds yet on listening to them decided that they were not relaxing),  gongs, bells and chimes.  After this I sampled several of these sounds from the internet to use in my own music. Furthermore, after listening online to several yoga tracks I found that the styles were all similar and excited a sense of relief in the listener.

After collecting all the necessary sounds I created a background track utilising these sounds, set at an extremely low tempo. I wanted the track to seem as ambient and dreamy as possible. Now that I have done this I am going to further my creative output by employing a flute player, Rehana Brown, to play a melody over the music which I have now made for the project. The entire track will be 30 minutes at maximum.

 

 

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Alice in Wonderland

alice_looking_glass.jpg

 

On a visit to the British Library several weeks ago, I saw a small exhibition about Alice in Wonderland. This exhibition had several pictures on display from the classic child’s story, and also several mirrors. I was drawn to these mirrors as mirrors are the locus for my first major project, “Mirror Mirror.”  I pondered over the way Alice entered another realm when she walked through mirrors, in the same way that the protagonist in Cocteau’s film “Orphee” did in order to enter the underworld. Seeing these mirrors made me reflect on the extraordinary quality that mirrors have to pull us into another plane of consciousness: put simply they have the power to “suck us in”, making us completely aware of our physicality and employing a mental pull on the onlooker.  Mirrors and photos are the only outlet for us to see our whole body. Without these two outlets we  live in the mental realm, unaware of what we appear like externally. However once we are made aware of our physique, made possible through a mirror, we become conscious of our flaws and negative thoughts enter the fray about our faces and or bodies. We thus become subject to our own ideals of perfection. In some sense, mirrors contextualise our beings, and without them we exist as ghosts in a shell, unaware of our bodies and existing only mentally on another plane. Mirrors make us aware of our physical existence, yet also have an emotional power over us.

In the beloved film, “Alice in Wonderland”, the power of mirrors is portrayed as Alice goes through it to enter another world. Despite entering a mirror, she still has the same body yet the reality she faces is a different one to the one she lived in before. This idea is interesting: mirrors reflect our reality since they show us our bodies and what surrounds them, yet when one looks into the mirror despite being made aware of their physical existence and the physical existence of objects around them, they enter a different mental realm. In Alice in Wonderland this idea is charmingly portrayed by the strange characters whom she meets in the other world she enters, such as the White Queen and the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puja

This week I decided to do some field recordings for my second major project, related to music and health. I hired out a Zoom H4 to record the chanting of a Buddhist meditation session in Bethnal Green, believing that this would aid me with my music and health project since meditation is linked to mental alleviation. In addition to this, it also finds ties with my dissertation as Buddhism was a key theme which I explored in it, charting Cage’s relationship with it.  The Buddhist session I wanted to record is called “Puja” and is held every month on a full moon night.  Unfortunately I could not execute the task in mind since one of the people in the meditation session stated that it was inappropriate to take recordings, describing the session as “spiritual” and thus rebuked my desire to record it. Despite this, I have found another outlet to record the same type of chanting in a Buddhist centre in North London. I will be taking my kit to do some recordings in the London Buddhist Centre in Holloway Road later this month.

432 Hz

432 hzIn continuation with my investigation into music and its affect on health, I thought that I should explore how relaxed music impacts on the physiological state. I came across an article online entitled  “What is 432 Hz tuning?” and found it very interesting in conjunction with my major project on music and health.

The article discusses how  when music is programmed at 432 Hz, the listener of the music feels soothed both bodily and in mind. It resonates with the heart chakra, a type of energy, coined in Indian philosophy. Furthermore because the wavelength is larger when music is played at 432 Hz compared to the more common amount, that being 440 Hz, listeners feel that the music is warmer and can release their energy. Thus listening to music at 432 Hz can lead to a path of physical bliss and a more fulfilling life connecting you with a “higher consciousness.”

After reading this I began to think about my second major project.  I will essay to create a piece which is at 432 Hz since doing so is proven to have beneficial results on the listener’s body and mind. I found it interesting how the notion of music of 432 Hz was connected to nature. This inspired me to use nature like sounds in my composition for major project such as the sound of rain and crickets.

 

 

 

 

Electronic Superhighway

Because of my research for my dissertation into how Cage was influenced by the East I came across a historical movement, “The Fluxus Movement” which encompassed several artists, one of them being Nam June Paik, an artist whom I have already discussed in my blog. In White Chapel they held an exhibition entitled “Electronic Superhighway” which showcased several artists’ work, many of them being installations, all of which were related to the rise of technology, spanning from the 60s to the present day.

Nam June Paik’s work was exhibited in this exhibition: His piece  “Internet Dream” was present. This involved 52 monitors which looked like TVs displaying electronic images. The work revolves around Paik’s awareness of information saturation in society.

Another piece of his at this exhibition was “Good Morning, Mr Orwell” which was an art-piece that was inspired from Orwell’s society written about in his novel, “1984.” It was a linkage of satellites from New York, West Germany, South Korea and Paris.

Other artists whose work were showcased in this exhibition included: Cory Arcangel, Jeremy Bailey, James Bridle, Constant Dullaart, Oliver Laric, Roy Ascott, Judith Barry, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Ulla Wiggen.

I particularly enjoyed looking at the video installations, one of them being a critique in of the rise of modernity, exploring themes such as evolution and the human condition. Other interesting works I came across included a series of images charting an internet conversation between two strangers.  I also found an installation called “Lorna” (1979-1982) extremely compelling : It involved a room with a chair, a television and a pair of shoes on the floor. It was supposed to be the room of a fictional character named Lorna  who is  agoraphobic and  her only outlet to the outer world is a television.  The viewer of the room is invited to step into it and select different channels with the remote control to control the television, thereby becoming a part of the protagonist’s world.  This piece reminded me of the film, “The Dreamers”, in which two twins alienate themselves from the world around the and their only portal to life is through films which they are obsessed with watching.

The artist who conducted “Lorna”  is Hershman Leeson. She has done a lot of work detailing human’s relationship with machines and has often used alter egos in her work. She has explored themes such as identity,  the notions of privacy during a time of surveillance and the relationship between real  and virtual worlds.

Another interesting work of art I saw was created by Celia Hampton. She explored how the internet engages with sex and desire. Her message was expressed by paintings, portraying nude women. These women were either her friends or found online through an anonymous website.

All in all this exhibition was extremely enjoyable as it provoked questions about how technology such as the internet is used today and how it has developed since the sixties.