1. Subheading: Peter Ablinger’s “Empty Chairs”
The installations of Peter Ablinger encourage the participants to be more observant aurally to the space around them. In the same vein, my idea is to create a living room “entertainment” set up in various environments. The setup would feature inviting chair(s) and/or couch(es) and a stand with a box resembling a large television. The television would be empty so that the scene it displays is the actual scene that is occurring in front of the participant – the scene that would be happening regardless of the setup being present. The participant would be viewing the scene with a new light, however – intentionally listening and watching, displacing the focus from self to surrounding.
2. “In everything said there is the latent horizon of the unsaid which situates the said.” Perhaps it is too obvious – but conducting is a type of “unsaid” communication in contrast to the “said” (audible music). It is sort of its own “language,” much like the technical terms and shorthand symbols mentioned in the article. Music is built upon and framed by silences. Without the unsaid, there is no structure or frame for the said (the music). This piece would take away the said and expose the unsaid. The sound art work would be for a conductor and no ensemble. The conductor would actually turn around and face the audience for his or her performance. The conductor would have a musical score that he or she has to convey without any musicians performing any sounds. Instead, the audience sits and experiences a passionate, silent performance of the conductor emoting the unsaid.
3. Experiment with silent communication.
Beforehand: I am going to watch a music rehearsal (that I am not participating in) and wear earplugs anytime that there is talking rather than playing. The only portions of the rehearsal that I will hear will be the playing. I will make inferences about what was said from how the playing changes during the rehearsal and from everyone’s body language. I expect that I will be able to inference what the conductor’s instructions are from the reaction of the players, if not also his initial body language.
Afterward: My experiences did not entirely match my expectations. I have experienced many deliberate “silent” rehearsals in which the director makes a point to not say anything so that the ensemble actually pays attention to the nonverbal communications the conductor is conveying. However, it appears that most times the habit of the ensemble members is to only respond to spoken word, if that. The conductor also did not change his gestures very much each time he stopped, so I did not know without the verbal instructions what he wanted the orchestra to change. The rehearsal felt remarkably unproductive compared to how it would normally feel with spoken instruction.