Mattin is a noise artist from Bilbao who is currently based in Berlin. He has released many records, including collaborations with sound artists, such as Claudio Rocchetti, and noise legends such as Junko. His personality is ungraspable and his work is multifaceted, though it revolves around one main matter, noise, and is rooted in one main interest: alienation and the subjectification of individuals within the structure of capitalist neoliberalism.
I encountered Mattin’s work on the occasion of the exhibition We are time machines: time and tools for communing at Casco, Utrecht. In this context, Mattin’s installation, A Score for Sharing Negativity, allowed individuals visiting the exhibition to liberate themselves from themselves. In a little room, accessible through a glass door screened at the height of the visitor’s head (hence covering their identities), a microphone was installed into which people could voice their insecurities, doubts, complaints, and other negative thoughts. These were broadcasted live in the exhibition space, and recorded in order to be archived on Casco’s website, where they could later be consulted. A few months after this exhibition, I had an opportunity to travel to London and meet Mattin during his three-day residency at Café OTO, in April 2016. The title of the residency he curated was Noise & Reality: the Malevolence of our Time, and it took noise as a starting point – sonically, performatively, theoretically, practically, and ideally – for engaging with issues related to our social and economic condition.
Mattin curated a series of lectures, performances, screenings, and workshops, trying to articulate a basic vocabulary emanating from the notion of Noise that might connect it to other, seemingly unrelated fields of reality, which could then be investigated, and acted upon, through the lens of this thorny issue. A very difficult task, I must say. Noise is a notion which escapes crystallized and universal meaning; it is culturally defined, context-based, specific, ever changing and, most of the time, ungraspable, and yet it is also tightly tied to the cliché that it carries along, in its constant association with annoyance and nuisance, and in its opposition to music.
The richness of Noise & Reality lay in the fact that the artist managed to put together elements which stood for specific ideas of noise, sometimes in contradiction each other, antagonistically, but which could enter into contact with and relate to each other in order to generate discussions around the topic. Later, I met Mattin again in Berlin, where we started a conversation which is still on-going, and of which this unusual interview is part. This conversation entered a very intense phase during a two-day meeting in Amsterdam which lasted ten hours in total, and which culminated in the drafting of a manifesto about noise. In this we sketched some ideas about how to frame a new conception about noise without falling again into a necessarily sonic categorization, or a definition which tries to close the very idea of Noise and in doing so forecloses further interpretations and obstructs hitherto unforeseen access points.
Our conversations wouldn’t have been possible without a common interest in and a shared obsession, perhaps even a frustration, with what concerns noise as a theoretical topic. The dialogue was greatly assisted by the experiences which we shared in London and Amsterdam, and the issues that the last work by Mattin and Miguel Prado, Evacuation of the Voice, brings up. The Evacuation of the Voice was released and presented during the OTO residency. When I contacted Mattin for this interview, the idea of a Q&A format seemed too restrictive, and this is why we decided together to structure the conversation according to specific events, to ground the conversation in fragments of reality that we have shared together, in order to give an account of them, but also to rethink them according to the conversations which first developed within them.
I – What the fuck is Noise? Precisely because of its indeterminacy, noise is the most sensuous human activity / practice. To try to fix it or to make it a genre is as fucked up as believing in democracy.
Event: The people in the audience sat in the casual space of Café OTO, occupying their seats with their own bodies, or with their coats as surrogates while their fleshy selves drank beers outside, entertaining themselves with conversations far from those carried on inside. They sat with discipline, listening to the conversation between Cecile Malaspina and Inigo Wilkins that inaugurated the three-day residency and briefed the audience on the topics at stake. Arguments were sustained between the two – who sometimes agreed, sometimes disagreed – over whether noise might or might not be a suitable theoretical metaphor or material with which to analyse and dissect complex structures such as society or the realm of cultural production, and whether or not noise remains a valuable or useful notion when displaced from the context in which it appears and operates.
Among their comments a question also arose about which specific idea of noise we are actually referring to when we say “noise”. Interactions between Inigo, Cecile and the audience led to the introduction of a new topic: pop music as a tool for torture. And a new question emerged as to whether music used in torture could be defined as noise, and it was here that Britney Spears – having been featured as one of the Top 10 artists on the Guantanamo Bay torture playlist – magically made her appearance in the discussion, ear-worming into some of our brains. We didn’t know we would meet her again in our discussions later on, but we could see how noise manages to exceed, always, the very field in which it is produced. Noise always overcomes its very own forms, historicizing itself very quickly, and rendering obsolete specific extreme practices, whether musical, political, or countercultural.
Inigo Wilkins and Cecile Malaspina in Conversation at Café OTO, London, during Noise&Reality.
Mattin: Café OTO is a space where a specific mode of listening is activated around what could be called the “authority of taste”. What I mean by this is that it helps generate specific interest in a very particular form of cultural production, from which a specific form of taste follows. There is a connection between the way in which different music scenes have been fragmenting and becoming more concrete, and the way in which the internet generates very specific niches. Within these niches, people are able to create forms of sociability, gathering around a specific interest.
Mark Fisher pointed out that though countercultural production was once opposed to the mainstream, now many different forms of cultural production exist, and they no longer relate antagonistically to one big mainstream but rather refer to each other in a molecularized way. It’s impossible to generate an alternative independent scene in order to subvert or challenge the values of the so-called mainstream, and in any case, these alternative activities would end up reproducing very specific forms of taste that then, in particular contexts, generate what we referred to as the authority of taste. This is no longer a counter-form of sociability, but a much more individualized way of developing one’s own persona in relation to a specific taste. As what one likes or dislikes is often on display through social media, there’s the constant need of curating one’s own taste.
Martina Raponi: Could we say then that sonic production in this example is mostly concerned about the style of the sound which is produced, helping to individualize a specific person who will then stay disconnected from what could have been previously defined as a counterculture.
Mattin: Yes, exactly. There is basically a difference in the emphasis put on different forms of opposition. Noise – tried to shake certain established values both musical and moral, but after a while these disruptions became more accepted and the music establishment managed to integrate some of them. When there’s a form of transgression, something that we can define as the normative act occurs. The moment of transgression, the way noise might be able of disturbing different registers, has become more specialized. Transgression and disturbance can now happen according to more concrete and more specific terms. This is why we have talked about sugar-candy noise: a specific mode of producing noise that no longer refers to a will to disturb the relationship between oneself and the environment, but which has become a way for people in a specific niche to fulfill the expectations they already have. It is very difficult to find examples of noise disturbing its own environment, at least in music and sonic production.
When it does, it probably happens when it transcends its own field and is no longer just about the sonic realm. Not that it was always only about the sonic realm, because many other elements are always involved. Let’s take for example John Cage’s 4:33 as a prime example of noise: a sound environment can be perceived as music, and in a specific social situation silence is impossible. The problem is that Cage, by emphasizing the “sounds in themselves”, addresses the listener as an individual and the context as if it suddenly was a white canvas painting (it is not surprising that he cites Robert Rosenberg’s white paintings as an influence) without showing interest in the social and contextual implications of this. This produces an aestheticization of sound, which can be very problematic because it considers the context as if it was a white cube or a black box. I am interested in reverting this, in shifting the emphasis from the sonic to the social, that is: a space where you can get way with more dissonance.
I want to explore what this social dissonance is. It has to do with the discrepancy that exists between a system that produces individual narcissism, and our social capacity. This social capacity is determined within very specific technological templates, which expose the difficulties inherent in relating to each other. The dissonance emerges between the image that we have of ourselves – as free individuals with agency – and the way that we really are socially determined both by capitalist relations and technology (think of bots used in the elections, or the algorithms in Facebook and Google shaping your choices). But we are also determined by sub-personal mechanisms that we are just finding out about them. This is to say that the notion of the individual is being radically questioned today and is showing some its deficiencies in democracy and rights. Because of this, it is not surprising that we find ourselves within a political landscape where our agency is deeply undermined. However in arts and music the notion of the individual is constantly reinforced (through taste for example but also through interviews like this one), even if it might be from a critical perspective. If we take some distance from the sonic realm and consider noise in relation to other fields – think for example of what it means to be involved in a concert – then it is not anymore about the status of sound in music, but about the function of music in society.
VIII – The identity process that occurs as people are making Noise must be constantly rejected. Being a “Noisician” is even more pathetic than being a “musician”.
Martina Raponi: If we think about the roles of noise and music in society, and consider the individualized nature of consumption, together with the new modes of production and dissemination of sound practices (be it music or noise), we could say that there is no noise, and no music anymore. I guess this is where our interest necessarily has to shift from the sonic to the social, or to some other neighbouring field, because otherwise it would mean investigating a realm that is only trying to fulfil its own expectations.
Mattin: Exactly. I see the exploration of social dissonance as a way to counter the authority of taste – shifting the emphasis from forms of cultural production, and the consumption of a specific form of noise, to attempts to understand the function of these processes of production and consumption, the ways in which they relate to more general structures, and most importantly how they address and construct us as subjects.
Event: The two-day social realist score workshop with Mattin culminated in a performance that took place as the last act on the last day of the residency at OTO. During the two days prior, participants, together with the artist, investigated forms of dismay, discomfort, negativity and alienation within society at large. Britney Spears came back into the conversation, exemplifying a notion of noise that cannot come to terms with itself in sonic terms alone. She managed to find her place within the context of OTO, however, and came back as the main character of a performative, disruptive and ear-worming mini-saga that managed to enrage OTO’s audience.
The outcome of the workshop was a series of undercover performative interventions on a micro scale that were meant to put the audience in a position of discomfort. Subverting the social and cultural codes maintained by the authority of taste – which had been discussed at length during the workshop – the participants engaged in acts of deconstruction which went from the removal of the chairs in the café to making bodily contact, subtly singing pop music in the ears of the audience throughout the entire night, and even the reading backwards of an important text written by Mattin himself. The audience was clearly expecting loud and classical noise at the final stage of the three-day event. What they got instead, as a climax at the end of all the undercover interventions, was an annoying staging of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’, with a poisonous final loop that went on for fifteen (long) minutes: DON’T YOU KNOW THAT YOU’RE TOXIC?
Clip Social Realist Score live Twitter feed, Noise&Reality, Café OTO, London.
Mattin: I would love to think together with you about whether the performance in London managed to actually do something. For me it was very important. It managed to make it difficult for people to say: “Oh, it is like this. I get it” and therefore fulfill a certain sense of aesthetics. There were so many ideas that came from the workshop’s discussions, and there were so many different ways of relating to the performance itself, which featured not only sounds, but also movements, creating a sense of danger at some points, a feeling that anything could happen, an edgy feeling which resembles exactly what noise should be, something that makes you ask yourself: “Where are we?”
The general logic of what is supposed to be happing at a concert was destroyed, making it impossible to create consensus around the events taking place. Some people danced without music as live tweets about the situation were all the while being projected into the room. Other people hugged strangers for several minutes. Glasses were shattered on the floor and chairs were thrown. The complex situation that was created allowed us to navigate and explore briefly what we can define as social dissonance. After the concert, a member of the audience, a self-declared hassler, even approached the performers and demanded to be paid because of her active participation into the Social Realist Score. She did get paid, eventually.
Social Realist Score performance audio recording, Noise&Reality, Café OTO, London.
Martina Raponi: It was a shift in terms of ways of enduring a specific situation. Endurance is a major part of the experience of noise. In this case the situation was about codes that people could not recognize anymore, and which therefore put them in positions of discomfort. To what extent is noise also allowed to open up beyond its sonic qualities, and extend to situations which could resemble, or could be an enhanced version of, what happened in London? A metaphor of something that prompts experience of discomfort?
Mattin: When I was trying to describe social dissonance with my friend Yan Jun, he compared a concert to the act of climbing a mountain. If you go to climb a mountain you usually wear good shoes in order to achieve your goal, so you are not really aware of how hard the terrain is. When you go to a concert, the authority of taste functions as those shoes: it makes you feel more secure, it reinforces your mastery of the specific knowledge of the field in which you are in, and then again you’re not aware of how hard the terrain is. However, reality is hard. As you put on good shoes when you want to feel safe, you fetishize the sounds that occur in specific situations, and in doing so you also generate, through specific codes, a cosy comfort zone for yourself. We can also consider social class, where people come from, in relation to the authority of taste.
Some people commented on how uncomfortable usually the atmosphere was for the other people who were visiting OTO and were not familiar with this environment. We were playing with this tension during the performance, using the codes of the people who usually feel comfortable in that space. I think this is very valuable, because it exposes the contradictions of reality, and pushes people to deal with them. That’s the moment when you get real dissonance. I am interested in the playful interaction between the different expectations of people going to a concert where there’s supposed to be noise, because, again: What is noise? Is it actually wanted? The core question is not about what it is, however, but what it is supposed to do, how it is supposed to disturb established values or forms of social relations. In the end, this is what we attempted to do with the performance.
III – The capacity to make Noise is available to all, but its revolutionary potential comes from those who want to disturb the commodification of Noise.
Event: Billy Bao’s performance. Loudness was the key element of this performance, which consisted of noisy rock music alternating with silences broken only with thoughts spoken aloud and Nigerian pop music. The audience reacted in varied fashions: some could not stand it and stayed safely outside of Café OTO; some committed religiously and sat still to experience the disturbing event while sipping their fancy beers; others, instead, sat for a while before standing up and walking outside, only to then come back to their seats and repeat the process, somehow replicating the cycle of sounds and noises and words and sounds and noises and words and sounds and noises and words and..
Clip of Billy Bao’s performance at Café OTO, London, during Noise&Reality.
Martina Raponi: Is Billy Bao’s performance comparable to the performance on the last night involving Britney Spears?
Mattin: We did something quite similar at the Counterflows festival in Glasgow, when that we were opening for Sensational, and I think that we have all since agreed that the performance worked better at the festival than at OTO. We agreed on this because on the first occasion we managed to disturb the notion of the concert in itself.
However this recording at Oto probably is more interesting to the one at Counterflows because we had Xabier Erkizia playing with us and then directly after Vomir, if not together (listen to the nigerian pop played under Vomir!) The idea was to bring in and present to a certain extent a record that we had just released, the Lagos Sessions. A couple of friends who collaborated and recorded together with us in Nigeria – Emeka Ogboh, based in Berlin, and Mark Ido, based in Bilbao – could not come to Glasgow because it was extremely difficult for them to get visas to come to the UK. We wanted Lagos to be present, and Emeka Ogboh sent us a playlist of Nigerian hip-hop and pop which Mark Harwood mixed with our playing both in Glasgow and in London.
This element managed to let us combine certain ideas: the drummers, the silence broken by acts of thinking-out-loud, and the Nigerian pop. Each of these components follows a different logic. We tried to show how rock instruments might really represent this period in time, and how we can sometimes be very connected and close together – one to one, through technological and social media – while at other times we are totally isolated, very lonely. That’s the connectedness style we deployed by this on/off type of playing. We then incorporated the reproduction of Lagos’ music and the thinking-out-loud, commenting on the situation we were in, as if the critical thinking could be a form of verbal and conceptual improvisation that related to the concert situation itself. In this way the context was brought into the musical performance, was fed back into it. The situation in Glasgow was very dense, and compressed, the venue – small and rectangular – generated a pressure cooker-like situation.
By contrast, at OTO, where the space is wide, and keeping in mind all the things we have discussed so far, the situation was broken from the very beginning. We also need to consider the conversation with Cecile and Inigo that opened up the night, which put many concepts into the minds of the audience, who were perhaps also tired. The situation was in itself already dispersed, and then “ “ [sic] Goldie’s amazing performance, destroyed many conventions of what a concert is. It was almost impossible to follow him and his unannounced collaborators Stewart Home and Mark Aerial Waller. And then Vomir! That first night was a weird night, giving uncanny feelings; it was awkward.
Billy Bao and Vomir’s performances’ at Café OTO, London, during Noise&Reality.
Event: “Today I don’t have any bag”, Vomir told me when I met him in front of Cafe OTO on the first night of Noise and Reality. He warned me me to the fact that – apparently – for the first time he was going to perform without wearing a black plastic bag on his head. And that’s what happened. He leaned on a wall, face against it, while his noise filled up the space. He tried to nullify as much as possible his bodily presence, and the lights were dimmed, bringing to the fore the sonic plenitude of his noise wall. Somebody tried to talk to me, more than once, then gave up. We ended up just sitting in silence, staring at – and hearing and touching – the full and redundant void we were experiencing.
Mattin: I had never seen Vomir live. I was inspired by his work, and this is why I invited him. His very minimal method of production brings many issues up, issues I’m interested in. I realized though that we come from very different angles, we come conceptually from very different forms of noise. He somehow embodies the way noise is represented in this specific area in which the most sonic experiences are delivered, and the redundant minimalism that is necessary for this to happen opens up many conceptual questions. He was one example among the others presented during the residency, one example of how practitioners and thinkers deal with noise. Putting them together, in relation with each other, was the idea behind the residency in itself.
IV – To say “this is good Noise” or “that is bad Noise” is to miss the point.
Clips: Vomir’s performance at Café OTO, London, during Noise&Reality.
Martina Raponi: If we go back to the notions of niche, individualization, social dissonance – we can see how the situation, the discussions, can prepare or not prepare people for certain experiences. So we have Vomir as an idea of taste, OTO as a place where taste represented and reproduced, the Billy Bao performance as a contrast to Becoming BriTO, the affect of the context – in the same way it works when we’re rethinking Cage’s 4’33” – and how the context shapes the entirety of the experiences. Lastly, but not least: there was the workshop and the way it developed, which implied another kind of process, and culminated in a performative act which could have existed only in relation with a specific context and a specific public.
I can imagine that for the people who paid a ticket for the full three days it could have been disappointing to attend, at the very end, a performance like Becoming BriTO, especially since the series of events had started with a conversation like the one between Inigo and Cecile, which might have been difficult to approach for an average listener. And so the question becomes: why Becoming BriTO? Which is to ask: why are we talking about this? How can we redefine noise as a possible access point to many other fields? And the very idea of the authority of taste, which developed during the workshop, anchors us back to concrete situations that eventually we could understand.
VII – It is more important to fuck the minds of the audience than to fuck your ears – and vice versa.
Event: two men sitting in the dark. Lights pointing to their mouths and throats. We are witnessing a dialogue of a broken speech. Voices evacuate words and concepts and lexicons and words and ideas. They seem to be making sense of something, but that something escapes the rules and the codes we are familiar with. We stare at them, listen more carefully, pay attention to any minor noise or rustle heard around the place, because any little disturbance could let us lose the meaning we thought we’d been understanding so far. Voices break, they hiss and expose dysphasic sounds which tend towards an idea of language without reaching it, cutting the air and leaving the wounds open, bleeding out silences of rumination and puzzling thoughts. And while we lock our eyes on those enlightened, babbling mouths, we don’t see around us the collapse into ruins of centuries of codification that can no longer, in our contemporaneity, help us make sense of our desperate condition.
Martina Raponi: I cannot help thinking about the transition of noise from something disruptive to something normalized, which was the starting point of many of our conversations. At the OTO you performed the evacuation of the voice, on a night, the second, which was dedicated to spoken word, alongside Anguish Language, Laboria Cubonicks/Yoneda Lemma, the screening of Xabier Erkizia’s movies, and then you and Miguel Prado. Why is voice in a noise event?
VI – This is not to say that Noise under capitalism can be an autonomous activity. But if neither language nor bombs help you to destroy our reality, Noise helps us to get rid of our anxiety.
Mattin: It would be good to start talking about how we got there: the relation between improvisation and the instrument. If from the improvisational equation you remove the instrument, you are, yourself, the instrument. If we are the instruments then how are we instrumentalized? This brings us back to the issue of the authority of taste: if through the authority of taste, one reinforces oneself, then through something like the evacuation of the voice, in a crude and rudimentary way, we try not to reinforce but to question ourselves. We do this by ventriloquizing ourselves, not taking ourselves as natural. When people play improvised music, they use the instrument, they play it differently than they usually would, they rethink it.
Similarly, in the evacuation we talk weirdly to take some distance from ourselves, from us as we usually are. We generate a synthetic situation, like a concert, but we don’t put anything between us: we use whatever ability we have to talk, to conceptualize, as the material to be dealt with. We don’t do this to fetishize immediacy; in fact the opposite is true, by doing this we exposed how mediated we were. So is there a noise in there? For sure, there is noise, a lot of it! However, it is not something similar to the aestheticization of sound, like in concrete poetry, where a specific emphasis on expression and abstraction can be found. There is a lot of abstraction already in the very concrete world in which we live, and this abstraction comes not only from the complex ability to conceptualize, because there is another level of complexity, which relates to how we form ourselves, how we conceive ourselves, and a further level of abstraction is about how capital generates value from us. So you see, there are many levels of abstraction.
So we sonically deal with it in an abstract way. If in reality we have already a level of abstraction that is so complex and so difficult to understand, then it is already worth dealing with it. This concert situation, with its reductionism, minimalism, and improvisation, allows a form of amplified perception, giving space to think through these issues and to engage with these levels of abstraction.
A very crucial influence for this work was Metal Machine Theory, especially number 4, in which Brassier discussed how we can see ourselves from an objective perspective, analyzing the notion of de-subjectification: How can we do this? How can we see ourselves from a third point perspective? How can we objectify ourselves?
X – Economic exploitation still occurs, even if now the production of Noise does not produce an object. The process of Noise making has in itself become the object of financial and symbolic market value.
Martina Raponi: We are talking in the context of Digicult. And we are discussing something that apparently deals with no technology. In these performative actions and research, is voice taken somehow as a technology?
Mattin: Of the realization that there is no technology: in the issues that we are dealing with, certainly technology plays a major role. It’s in the background. As a form of improvisation in itself, it is shaped by technology because our thinking bodies are. The way we use things, the way we think, the way we are, all are determined very much by technology. This is something Robin Mackay deals in his text of the booklet of the Evacuation of the Voice and we also talk about it here
Ray Brassier’s intervention on alienation at Café OTO, London, during Noise&Reality.
A starting point of the Evacuation of the Voice was the Object of Thought, which I released through Presto! Records. I used a lot of concrete music techniques for editing in that process: I went to a studio for a week and recorded my own thoughts, editing them afterwards, I was thinking aloud, then cut the thoughts into different pieces, played around with them but in doing this I was also falling into the authority of taste. One review in particular of the Object of Thought was also crucial for the origins of the Evacuation of the Voice [available here: http://www.mattin.org/reviews/Object_of_Thought.html]. Miguel was also thinking about these issues in his text, “The Geotraumatic Evacuation of the Voice” [available here]
Evacuation of the Voice, performance by Mattin and Miguel Prado at Café OTO, London, during Noise&Reality.
Martina Raponi: There seem to be two sides to the box set. On the one hand, the fragmentation of voice and speech, and on the other a very theoretical and complex booklet, in which texts like the one written by Negarestani are so layered and deep that they become somehow noisy. Despite having this quality, they somehow still do not explain what happens on the CDs. Instead, they add something to the content of the CDs. They are not explanatory. What I found important in following the development of the CDs were the discs’ titles. It helped me to figure out somehow a line of thinking that you and Miguel could have had followed in the process. Did the titles come before or after the performances? Or to ask a slightly different question: did you know that at a certain moment you were specifically performing, for example, the evacuation of self-representation?
Mattin: The titles came first; they were the starting point for the work. They dictated a certain strategy, creating entry points. We would do some research on the issue we decided to put in the title and then perform it. The development of the box set’s content is a movement from ourselves, passing through language, and then the voice distancing far away until the digital process of becoming numbers, to the machines that produce digital voice, and the conversion from analog to digital. However, at the beginning we had no idea of what we were doing, we started understanding only during the second half of the work. During the whole process though we felt this practice was relating tightly to many of the issues we discussed, and at a certain moment we even started judging our performances, comparing them to music genres and music concerts. Some elements were thought of afterwards in musical terms.
Even if it seems like pretentious bullshit, we know we used this process to deal with important issues. The theoretical origin of this work was the geotraumatic evacuation of the voice, an important concept of Nick Land’s that was further developed by Robin MacKay and Reza Negarestani. We then dealt with another form of authority: the authority of the format. If we had just put this online, people wouldn’t have given it much importance; it could have easily ended up being nothing. So we gave it a format that would make it a statement, and the issues discussed inside of it are relevant issues. The people that contributed were the people we were in discussion with, the people whom we would ask to tell us if what we were doing was actually of any importance.
In the booklet Rayya Badran writes about the topic through the lens of art, sound and music, Robin in terms of subjectivity and technology, and the abstraction continues till it reaches Reza’s text, in which the voice discussed is no longer human, but just a voice made of processes. This progression resembles very closely the idea of the movement from concrete to abstract that we used for the content’s development.
Martina Raponi: Would you define this as “performative research”?
Mattin: Somebody defined our approach as scientific, and I don’t mind how this is defined. It could well be a collapse of the notion of the “experimental” in both scientific and musical terms. I guess it is inevitably performative research, because we are improvising, and therefore the production of this material is an on-going process, a long and difficult one.
Martina Raponi: Yes, if you write down a score and perform it, it is a performance with an emphasis on the aesthetic. But if it is more like an exercise or an investigation – although improvised – which you go back to, in order to rethink it and to discuss it to others, to shape the concepts around it, then it becomes closer to research even though we understand that we are also aesthetisising it. It’s a very important, and also humble, process.
Mattin: We didn’t manage totally.
Martina Raponi: But I think that’s also important. You’re humans, not super humans.
Mattin: *Laughs aloud.*
II – If you make noise it is likely that somebody else is going to hear you; this means Noise is a social activity.
Martina Raponi: Is it possible to make noise political again? And if so, what role do people like Inigo Wilkins play, putting noises back into their specific sectors? What kind of metaphor can we take out of a general notion of noise in order to make it politically useful again?
V – Noise without meaning or finality is revolutionary as long as it does not support anything or anybody.
Mattin: I think this can happen when you change the emphasis from the sonic to social relations. In my opinion, regarding what happened at OTO, through the workshop and with the final performance, it is up to other people to decide whether it was political or not, and to contest it. We dealt with the social relations at hand, and the problematics related to them. When the emphasis is put on the social then very quickly you will have to talk about the way we relate to each other, under specific conditions, like at OTO, and what these imply, and soon you will also get to questions that deal with politics, with economy, etc. It was a way of trying to acknowledge this and shorten the distance from these issues. It is important that people like Cecile and Inigo try to understand the misunderstanding and the misuses of noise, and we need to think how we can learn from this. If noise in sonic terms doesn’t really challenge us anymore, shouldn’t we try to understand it in the broadest way possible?
XI – The old conception of noise was to believe in freedom; the new conception of Noise is to achieve freedom.
Thanks to Emeka Ogboh, Rachel Baker, Danilo Mandic, Martina Raponi, Ami Clarke, Matt Earnshaw for performing the Social Realist Score, Fielding Hope, Cafe OTO, Alasdair Campbell, Mark Harwood and everybody who participated in the residency and the workshop.