Memories of Sound

Remember Me 2_Credit Bevis Evans Teusch

This week, Claudia Molitor will be bringing her much talked about Remember Me: A Desk Opera to Rivington Place in Shoreditch. See below for an insightful article Claudia wrote about her piece earlier this year.

If you’re seeing her Desk Opera on Monday or Tuesday, ask yourself ‘How will your viewing affect future performances of the piece? How will the piece continue to exist in your memory?’

Originally published on The Sampler blog by Sound and Music.

“Whilst performing Remember Me 28 times over the past year, I noticed that each audience left a trace on the piece, effecting all subsequent performances of it. I was struck how the interaction between creator(s), performer(s) and listener-viewer(s), often theorised, was so tangibly apparent in this small-scale, intimate setting of the deskOpera. In the piece, the writing surface of a büro-desk opens to reveal the stage on which the dramatic extravagances of the large-scale operatic production are re-imagined. A utopian space, in which the un-heard, un-noticed and un-considered is given room to resonate.

“U-topia, no-place, (…) not (…) the unreal or the imaginary, but the indetermination of place, the neutral space of difference (…). Place which is neither here nor there, utopia presents an absence in the here and now of space.” (Louis Marin, quoted in Migone/2012, p.179). But utopia also has the potential to collapse the experience of past, present and future, allowing for a sense of ‘non-time’ and an opening up to memory. To me, composing and performing is, in part, a delving into a complex web of memories. My own, of which I have some understanding, and each listener’s memories, of which I have little if any understanding, but yet rely on and seek to engage with.

Is this ‘becoming part’ of the memory of others through sound an important part of creative practice? Conventionally we might imagine that, as composers and artists, we are focussed on what it sounds like in space… what it is like in the moment of performance. But are we possibly more invested in what it will ‘sound’ like once it no longer vibrates in that space – once it has become part of a listener’s memories? In a place where it mingles with other un-sounds, as Christof Migone calls them, ones I cannot know of. What will happen to “my sounds” in that unknowable web of memory?”

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