Goldsmiths Curatorial Critique

A live performance – Diegetic Sound Design 5 (2010) by Nicolás Vass

Posted in Reviews by mingjiuntsai on February 1, 2010

There are six of them, in a hall. Either they are too small or the hall is too huge which makes the space seems a little bit empty. Maybe it’s both of the two causes. They are quiet, no sounds but the noise of operation. They are close to the walls of the hall and facing different directions, where are no specific objects in front of them.

Walking towards one of them, you are shown a pair of hands filling pastries, pastries on a table. The filling was creamy and white, and messy ingredients all over the table made those pies look not tasty at all. You look at the one next to it, which faces the same direction yet a little further. A man was putting the creamy and white filling into pastries, making pies in front of that table, which was against the wall. There is no table and pies. They are watching only the space and the wall.

On the same side of the space, far away from the previous two, there is one facing the centre of the space. Another one in the opposite corner of the hall is also facing the centre. There is nothing but people walking or standing in the middle of the hall. They two don’t show you these people. They were looking at emptiness and the space itself, and the empty space is the only image they show.

They are camcorders, six of them, in the hall.

The camcorders seem on, because each of the screens is showing the space where they are shooting. But they are not recording. There is not table with pies or the man filling pastries next to the wall where the camcorders are facing. People all around are not in those screens. There are also two more of the camcorders, facing a stage, at the end of the hall. On the stage, in front of a clean wall, there are few things and a table, with a frying pan and bacons, no pies though. In these two screens, some pies had been thrown onto the wall on the stage, and left the white creamy filling and pastries in pieces on the floor.

The camcorders bring you a live performance in the space where was a live performance. When you are wandering in the space, the relationship between you and them, the six camcorders, creates a physical and mental activity. With your imagination, you will envision the past performances taking places lively at the vacancy in front of you, and those different events might be connected linearly in a certain way in your mind. The fragments of the performance that happened in the past, showing on those screens, are displayed with the fragments of the huge space, where the camcorders and you are facing. The seemingly empty space becomes the perfect playground for your activity and imagination. The narrative of the performance comes from your narrating with the camcorders. The six of them and their screens become the elements of the montage for the ‘diegetic sound design’ of this work. If performance deals with time, space and the interaction with participants, Diegetic Sound Design 5 in ‘Testing Ground: Live at 176’ can be seen as the most lively performance in the most private way.

Nicolás Vass, Diegetic Sound Design 5 (2010) curated by Stef Hirsch in ‘Testing Ground: Live at 176’

The 23rd – 24th January, 2010 at 176/ Zabludowicz Collection

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