A CRACK IN A COSMIC EGG
It seems that every creative move stems from a differential, it is founded in divergence. Blending on the one hand, and absence on the other. In order for something to move, there needs to exist a kind of membrane between both of these two parts. For if there is no membrane, no border, it all melts into one. From a psychological point of view, such evening-out, such equilibrium occurs after a job well done, a wish that has been fulfilled, or after a certain understanding has been reached. And from the point of view of the physical reality, this simply means a thermodynamic collapse and death. Both of these things happen to the main protagonist of Death in Venice. Once he has seen the absolute Beauty, the meaning of his spiritual strives is fulfilled, once he has observed Death, the purpose of his physical life completes itself. Yet, this experience is not absolute and definitive. It remains burdened with an unknown remaining bit: the meaning and the purpose have not been entirelyrevealed, hence another repetition follows.
Matej Filipčič’s theatrical event A Melancholic Croquis (https://www.matejfilipcic.com/si/gledalisce/melanholicni-croquis-1), based on the motifs of the novella and film Death in Venice, premiered in November 2015.The fine arts event – theatrical object, as he calls it, is his trademark happening that follows every theatrical event.
A theatrical object is Filipčič’s unique memory capsule technique. A memory capsule is a quantum image that closes and awakens memories, relationships, beauty and the passing of life. This is a three-dimensional image and within it, the props from the stage become visual, fine arts elements of the exhibition. Being carefully selected, re-considered and re-exhibited in the gallery space, they create a new external space that can, now freed from theatrical acts and narration, silently speak to the viewer’s own memory strategies. The logic of repetition (performance/exhibition), says Derrida, is compulsive, as it is driven by a fear of death/a wish for longevity. We can only trick this fear and this desire with an artifact that veils loss with a body, a house, a living space and an open ground. Thus, the loss, at least momentarily, acquires its space and is withdrawn from temporality.
It is meaningful to note that the exhibition’s title is not the same as the title of the theater performance. Interieri, Osum, Sanset, Komine …, La la la …, Tosca, Marija Antoinetta were both theatrical acts as well as exhibitions. Crack in a Cosmic Egg is a croquis and, at the same time, it is not. It is not only a manifestation of time that has been given a certain space – a memory of the past – it is also something else. A logical question resides in Filipčič’s research of the creative process: What comes after having the experience of staring into beauty/death? What lies beyond the last scene in which Melancholy and the audience are faced with a sea of the (in)finite? A horizon beyond a horizon, a space beyond time: here, no familiar, painful internal aspects of one’s psyche can be found, we are given an insight into an individual structure, into the process of (personal, authorial, artistic) creation. And what, in the scope of human understanding of creation, is more perfect than a cosmic egg?
An egg is a universal symbol and is intelligible by itself, for it holds a seed from which every act of existence arises. An idea that the universe was born from an egg is shared among all civilizations and cultures. A cosmic egg, born from the ur-seas, is split in two parts. Only now, within the crack, the world becomes visible. With the crack, the sky and the earth are created, the above and the below, night and day, movement and stillness, before and after – and thus ad infinitum, all the way to matter and antimatter. At the movement of polarization, a wave breaks into a particle. The “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” speaks of a similar thing. Be it the creation of galaxies, of performances, or the process of cooking lunch. All these tasks –where (wo)man is the measure – follow the same practice, the same repetition. From non-existence into existence: the vibrations of creation are sensed by our heart, interpreted by our brain and action needs to be taken: grab an oar and start paddling! The undulation of the sine curves is the only written trace, but even this trace keeps disappearing, simultaneously with its creation: motionless, but not invisible, is our awareness of the framework, the devices, the archetype of the creation itself.
Sonja Dular, September 2017
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5, 4th Movement, Adagietto
Music of the Spheres is an old and much-discussed concept, still, no one has probably used planets as actual instruments before. The electromechanical organs work in such way that small metallic wheels turn really fast (for example 440 times per second) in front of an electromagnet, thus producing an electric sine curve whose magnified sound we can hear over the speaker. Planets rotate around the Sun – e.g., the Earth completes its round once a year. In order for us to hear that sound, the Earth would need to rotate around the Sun at least twenty times per second. For each second of the sound, the calculations made with the help of the NASA database offered almost 50,000 daily astrology charts and positions of the planets. Using the sine trigonometric function, this data can be transformed into digital curves. As the route of the planets deviates considerably from an ideal circle, the digital curves aren’t proper sine curves. Each of the planets has its own, somewhat eccentric circumference, and therefore also a unique sound. These sine curves are then played at different speeds so that we can get – from a musical point of view – an appropriate pitch of the sound wave (approximately 100,000 faster than real time).
Stepping in for the double basses, three frequency modulated oscillators played the Earth (the heliocentric curve of the Earth is a mirror image of the geocentric curve of the Sun), for the cellos, we used Venus and for violas, a combination of the Sun and Venus was utilized. Only the first violin combined the Sun and Venus with the geocentric Moon, and the second violin also used Mercury. All of this perfectly “destabilizes” the system and gives it a “softer”, more organic sound.
All the sounds are additionally modulated with a 42-minute recording of signals from six EEG electrodes. The recording was made two years ago while measuring an emotional response of a member of the audience watching the theater performance A Melancholic Croquis. The oscillation in the conductivity of human skin co-creates a sound landscape of the environment where a digital simulation of the outer space chimes in sound palpitations.
Text: Janez Križaj