BENDING THE AIR, AGAIN.
BENDING THE AIR, AGAIN.
I switch on the light of the storage room, and wait for a few seconds before the jerking light of the neon stops blinding me, and before the buzzing of its ballast settles. Knowing precisely what I was aiming at, I pull the drawer of the white metallic structure where different types of equipments -cables, microphones, old electronic parts -were sitting. I take out a few boxes, and find what I was after: a few 3.5 inches and 2.5 inches hard disks, all covered with a thin layer of small particles of dust. I become anxious, first to know that they are all functioning properly, and also to know what sort of things I would discover. In a world where pretty much all memories are left to clusters on hard drives, and where it is thought that they are safe with us at anytime, just a click away. How many phone numbers do I remember by heart? Well, I still remember my Hong Kong number for sure, but please don’t ask me the number I use when I am in France, or any other numbers that I should remember. I think to myself: “How do I actually make use of these memory blocks left unused?” I leave these words lingering in the air, and bouncing off the walls of my Sheung Wan studio, while I am successfully managing to prevent to getting hit by them again, leaving the question unsolved.
What am I after with these old hard disk in hands? The only thing I know is that I am aiming for sounds. For some years, I go to places, far away or simply around the corner to place microphones and listen. I would use these recordings in compositions, installations or videos. In fact many of these recordings would remain unused, unheard. Yet, I would keep recording these sounds from the environment.
I reach Pierre Schaeffer’s Treatise of Musical Sound Objects (1), as I remember he tries to describe different sound units, his “sound objects”, into different types. Yes, that’s it, starting from page 434, where Schaeffer opposes objects that are “well balanced” to objects that are not. He labels sound objects as suitable for the musical composer and others as “too predictable” or “too original”, hence making them unsuitable for composition.This very normative view on types of sound object is obviously very arguable for a man who was searching for a way to invent a solfège that would deal with any kind of sounds. He suddenly seems to reject possibly quite a large portion of the sound spectrum. This particular point of his classification is certainly not suitable for me. There are probably other reasons behind the fact that I did not use the sounds that are waiting in these hard disks for any particular works so far.
Don’t they deserve a second chance? I always think that sound is somehow a better vehicle than photography to carry memories; probably a sign of my own bias. Yet, what will I remember when I listen to old sound recordings? What is there to be listened to? What stories do they unfold? What does this collection of sound means? With these questions in mind, I take one of these hard disks, talking to myself out loud, with an amused thought for Beckett’s Krapp (2) , and start to look for recordings, as I am decided to make them bend the air, again.
1: Pierre Schaeffer, 1966. Traité des Objets Musicaux, Editions du Seuil, Paris
2: Samuel Beckett, 1998 Krapp’s Last Tape and Ember’s, Faber & Faber (first published 1958)
我打開儲物室的燈光，等待抽搐的霓虹燈光，那令我致盲的幾秒鐘，以及鎮流器的嗡嗡聲平靜下來。我知道我想要的東西就在那兒，我拉開放了不同器材的白色金屬架抽屜 – 電纜、麥克風、舊電子零件。我拿出幾個箱子，找到要找的東西–幾隻3.5寸及2.5寸的硬盤，所有硬盤都覆蓋著一層薄薄的塵粒。我越來越焦慮，首先要確定他們是否功能正常，而我又會發現什麼樣的東西?在幾乎把所有的回憶都儲存在硬盤上的世界中，並認為他們何時都是安全、只需點擊即可，有多少個電話號碼我是用心記住？嗯，我肯定記得我在香港的號碼，但請不要問我在法國時的號碼，或者是其他我應該記住的號碼。我對自己說：「實際上，我怎麼利用這些未被使用過的記憶體呢？」我讓這些話在空氣中縈繞，讓它們在我於上環工作室的牆壁反響，而我成功防止被它們再次擊中，留下未曾解決的問題。
我翻開皮爾‧舍費爾（Pierre Schaeffer）的《音樂物件論文》(Treatise of Musical Sound Objects) ，並記得他嘗試把他的「聲音體」(objet sonore, sound objects；或譯聲音物件)和不同的聲音單位描述為不同的類型。是的，就是這樣，由四百三十四頁開始，舍費爾便反對「高度平衡」的聲音體以至其他非平衡的聲音體。他標籤聲音體適合於音樂作曲家，而其他「太能預料」或「太原創」的聲音體則不適合於編曲。對於一個在尋找可以對應各種聲音唱名的人而言，這對聲音體非常規範的觀點顯然是值得商榷的。他似乎否定了聲譜絕大部分的可能，這個別的分類，顯然不適合我。相信，我沒有使用硬盤裡的聲音創作是有其他原因的。
 薩繆爾‧貝克特，《1998最後的錄音帶》。初版，faber & faber，1958。
Cédric Maridet is an artist, theorist and researcher. He received his Doctorate degree in Media Art in 2009 at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. His solo and collaborative works have been presented internationally including New York (Art in General and Ramiken Crucible), Paris (Théatre de la Villette), Vienna (IG Bildende Kunst), Cambridge (Kettle’s Yard), London (Turbine Hall, Tate Modern), Hong Kong (2P contemporary ArtGallery, Para/Site, Osage Gallery, Museum of Art). He was awarded Prize of Excellence in the Hong Kong Art Biennial 2005. He has participated in several residencies (like in Asia Art Archive and Mamori ArtLab) and public talks on listening theories and the aesthetics of sound (RijekaContemporaryArt Museum, EMF-EMS 2011 conference in New YorkUniversity). His writings have been published in two books on sound (Around, soundpocket 2011) and on curating (Who Cares? 16 essays on curating in Asia, Para/Site, 2010). He also contributes to French-based research lab in audio art Locus Sonus and he is also advisor for soundpocket, a non-profit organisation promoting sound art and culture in Hong Kong. Some of his works has been published on his platform monème and released on CD and books.