b - guided
b - guided # 13
TRES by Silvia Micolau
Tres. Born: Barcelona, 3rd of the ninth, 1956. Defines himself 'Activist of silence'. Silence, according to the dictionary, in its second definition, is 'the lack of noise'. Tres doesn't agree he channels his commitment into cearting silence as an entity in itself and not as the absence of something. Silence is a necessary angel. Because words acquire a physical quality when they come into contact with it. Because it's the material upon which musical architecture is founded. It's not what's left. It's what exists before starting. Paradoxically, silence is a type of language: he who remains silent, consents. Kafka, a.k.a. 'klidas', the colossus of silence, knew this only too well. And Ludwig Wittgenstein, who ended his Tractatus with a conclusion that leaves no room for doubt 'What one can't speak about, better to remain silent'…, and without realising it, Rimbaud, essential reading, despite his premature silence.
Sotto voce. The one time that philosopher Theodor W. Adorno visited Freiburg University, home to his philosophical opponent Martin Heidegger, to give a talk, the students of the latter performed a string quartet concert for him. However, although they were performing, not a note was heard. They were alluding, ironically, to Adorno's aesthetic principal, which stated that the work of art should, under no circumstance, be popularised. The American John Cage must have had different intentions at Woodstock in 1972, when he first performed 4'33'', the first silent composition in history. Although he was following the score, he didn't play a single note, which meant that the piece was utterly connected with the world; it was, in itself, the world. Cage put the listeners in a situation of dialogue with nature, revealing its great acoustic dimension, and invited them to listen to the sounds of the environment, making the action relevant. Summarising Cage's message, a quote from Henry David Thoreau, the author of 'Walden', 'music is constant, only listening is intermittent'.
Premonition. The silence and the sirens. Saint Silvester's night 1983. The Montjuïc light house. A symphony of boat sirens welcoming in the New Year, the sound seems to emerge from the silence like a presence in the night. Between one stopping and another starting, the clamour of silence. That's how Tres sees it. Reckoning. Hypercubism. Discovery of the void and, by association, the silence. Some wire sculptures, that define the void allow Tres to relate to the inconceivable. First approximation. U.M.B.N Aleatoria. One step forward: experimentation with silence in a musical group. With Vidi Vidal and Gat, Tres gives two concerts in Barcelona's Metrònom. 'The book of silence'. Tres initiates a compendium of news and images concerning what will be the guiding principles of his entire work. Everyday cuttings and the archaeology of silence. Empiricism. The anechoic camera. A reinforced concrete room, pneumatically suspended, covered with fibreglass pyramids, where silence approaches the absolute. There's no reflection of the sonic waves and therefore, no echo. 'You clap and the sound can only be heard in your hands. You speak and the words finish as soon as they leave your lips.' The mute who hears everything. The kemar.. (Knowles Electronic Manikin for Acoustic Research). An electronic dummy, which inhabits the room, is the true listener to the maximum silence audible on earth, and to each deafening, undesirable decibel. 1993. The First Silent Cocktail Party.. Free time activity. Where the cocktail gathering, freed from the social imposition of the word, becomes a situation where seeing, hearing and being silent -and being- are activities that are rediscovered to everyone's general surprise and pleasure. 1997. Definition of posture. Silence should 'be heard', so one has to make noise with it so that it can be heard and appreciated. 'I consider silence to be a right and a legitimate conviction, and at the same time a field of artistic freedom that has hardly been explored. I'm interested in looking at it as a logical and necessary option in a society that is getting louder and more talkative all the time, where the noise of information, the bombardment of images and the absolute colonisation of the spaces of silence by noise and music take on a sense of apparent conspiracy, with a view to not allowing thought..' Let's hear the silence 'loud and clear'.. Muted. 1998, 'A factory of silences' 1999, 'A celebration of silence. The loudest sound there is. The hall of the CCCB becomes a dissident territory for three days, in a space dominated by musical, visual and verbal silences, where the music is conceived, not as an organisation of sounds, rather as organisation of silences. Muted can be thought of as a plural installation - involving a number of supports and artists -, a kind of happening. For those who catch it: 'I began to turn off projectors, sound equipment, and computers, in order to record the silence of the hall for 4'33", as a homage to John Cage. I did the same with the lights and a tube of red light fell upon a special microphone, connected to a DAT recorder, tied to the end of a pole used for filming, and I moved this over the heads of the participants, while a shower of petals rained from the floor above. The hall was bursting with silent people, not moving, listening in the densest silence to the almost inaudible fluttering of the petals'. Sónar 99. Silence Science. Tres found the first record label exclusively dedicated to silence. 'The Conceptual High Volume Silence CD' is his first release, including the participation of Surgeon, Funk D'Void, Ian Pooley, Ángel Molina and Hell, amongst others. 2000. Parkart. Silent concert for string quartet, tuba and two sonarised jaguars. In this type of concert, the point of the sound is purely to provide a framework for silence, underline its presence and continually draw attention to it. Concerts to switch off 1 to 8. The 9th would take place one year later as part of the Festival de Arte Sonoro Zeppelin. Tres turns off, piece by piece, the equipment that transmits sound, thus eliminating each layer of noise that doesn't allow the clear perception of the silence. 3 examples and another thrown in for good measure: Concert to Turn Off #1 Idea Bookstore-Café. (Barcelona, 21/2/00). 13 computers were turned off as well as 1 Internet server, 1 extractor, 1 air-conditioner, 1 photocopier and several florescent lights. #4. Hangar, audio-visual production centre. (Barcelona, 28/4/00). 4 industrial ventilators were turned off, 3 computers, 1 video projector, 1 slide projector, 1 fridge, several florescent lights and 1 radio. #7. Sidecar. (Barcelona, 31/10/00). 2 extractors, 1 ventilation system, 2 fridges, 1 beer tap, 1 slot machine, 1 mixing desk, 2 sound monitor, lights and the general power. #8. Festival Periferias (Huesca, 5/11/00). 1 computer was turned off, lights, and a host of multimedia and sound devices and finally the general power of the building. This concert closed the festival after twelve days of events. The press referred to it as 'a nice metaphor'.
The Day of Music 2002. Silent Concert Municipal Band of Barcelona. The musicians formally interpret a concert without a single note sounding. Tres takes the baton given him by conductor Josep Mut, and, standing barefoot on a felt circle -in deference to the musicians and to silence- directs silent versions of 'Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs' from Jean-Baptiste Lully, 'La sinfonía de las sirenas' and 'La Marsellesa' from Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle. In the streets, a series of panels with masked characters preaching the same message to passers-by, another achievement of in the investigative undertakings of Tres: the mask hides identity. Silence is sexy, but your silence is not sexy at all. I bring out a record of silences (G3G Records) in November. It will contain Muted Cocktail Silence 99 recorded at the CCCB and the Silent Concert of 21-06-'02. The launch, on the 22nd of October in G's Club (Sidecar), will be accompanied by an experiment based on sonic silence -a silence that isn't at odds with the transmission of and listening to sounds, but which actually serves to extend their reach, giving the listener an insight into silence that goes beyond auditory consciousness- with films, muted of course, of rehearsals and concerts by 16 important conductors (edited by Josep M. Jordana), different sonic items and some household equipment.