Artist and musician Stanislav Abrahám’s live performance will consist of the presentation of his last record Shapescapes, which combines synthetic sounds and ambient recordings, and the audiovisual project Spectral Scenery, based on a system of oscillating sound loops programmed by the artist and accompanied by images.
MM You have been focusing on the relationship between image and sound for a long time, when collaborating on theatre, film and diverse audio-visual projects and also in your own original works. You will perform two pieces at PAF, one of which uses both sound and image. When do you decide on the synaesthetic interconnection of these forms?
SA The project Spectral Scenery, which has a visual component, creates an imaginary sound landscape through improvisation using a loop software that I have programmed for this purpose. The sound output is rather minimalist and abstract and in such a case, it seemed to me that it would benefit from a visual component, which is, naturally, also minimalist and deliberately monotonous in order to avoid multi-layered illustration of the sound. In fact, image is only a tool to facilitate the perception of the fundamental story line of the set represented by imaginary horizontal movement through the sound landscape. Thus it does not offer any complicated meaning structure. Its role is rather to assure the listener that the minimalist character of the sound output is deliberate. Even when working just with stereo, I always try hard to create an imaginary world between the left and the right speaker. A world that has its breadth, depth and contour lines. Accompanying the less minimalist sound output with an image would, in my view, diminish the imaginative potential of such a world. I sometimes have the feeling that image is too authoritarian a medium. It offers too much to the listener. I would like to aid the listener in entering the realm of their own fantasies rather than lead them to a labyrinth of additional layers of personal interpretation.
MM Your last record Shapescapes is also based on ambient recordings. Were they chosen randomly?
SA I choose ambient recordings for my sound compositions according to the same criteria that apply to the classic (rhythmic and tonal) music material. I do not listen to these recordings as I would listen to a record/imprint of the original environment or situation; I do not work primarily with their original relationship to the moment when they were captured and I do not wish to mediate the feeling coming from the original emotion or the significance of the recording. I am interested in the spectral composition and above all, the dynamics of and the movement in the recordings because the latter two are qualities more difficult to handle when working with synthetic sound, where one might not even want to take them into account. So the choice of recordings is not accidental; I make it based on the purely aesthetic requirements of a particular composition.
Stanislav Abrahám interviewed by Martin Mazanec
5 Dec | 10:30 pm | T | Stanislav Abrahám: Shapescapes & Spectral | AV performance | Animation beyond Animation
Part of the Festivals of Live Cinema project activities.