Programme notes for “Variations”, my new work

Variations is a series of investigations of the common ground between therapy and art. The work aims to remain open, an origin for further and continued exploration and interpretations, by its creator and others, in ways perhaps unforeseen by its author.

At its core is a collection of event scores consisting of therapy exercises culled –with as little alteration as possible – from various forms of therapy and self-help literature. Presented here are some of the ways in which the artist has chosen to explore this material.

Not only do event scores and therapy exercises, upon reading, present similarities in appearance, but their aims also intersect: both event scores and therapy exercises seek to, through their reading or execution, elicit thought and create awareness, to invite both the spectator (and the interpreter) to consider and experience things differently. Event scores have an effect on the performer and audience just as therapy exercises do, and therapy exercises can be as theatrical, contemplative or poetic as event scores are. The greatest difference between the exercises collected for Variations and event scores like those of George Brecht or Yoko Ono is in fact context.  And as shown by Duchamp’s urinal, the way it is presented (its context) is what renders an object a work of art.

The therapy exercises thus become scores by being presented as such: they are collected in a handmade workbook and as cards in a box inspired by Brecht’s Water Yam. They are presented as literature and as an art object, imitating in both cases traditional ways to display event scores.

Some of the scores thus created were then chosen by the artist for their particular sound-eliciting potential and properties and were interpreted as sound recordings. For these sonic performances, the artist has chosen to execute the exercises in as precise and literal a way as possible, as would a therapy patient, attempting to feel their benefits as a patient would. Though executed in real time as much as possible as therapeutic exercises, they are also presented as sound art, and selected for their sonic potential. The artist feels the benefit, and the listener experiences sonic performance art.

[see previous post for pictures]

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