First of all, a few general questions: Where do you get your inspiration? A lot of musicians confess to have a favorite instrument, do you have one? Or it doesn’t matter and anything might be an instrument for you?
I have a general fascination for sound, and I do have a favorite instrument that I feel has always had an impact in my compositional work and musical imagination. But indeed, I tend to believe that anything that produces sound has the potential to become a musical instrument, as long as there is a refined performance technique in place and a musical discourse behind it.
Could you briefly describe your work for the future Festival?
‘Sustainable Music’ (or ‘0 watt show’ as it was called for this first performance as part of the Festival) is a piece for 4 energy-generating stationary bicycles and 4 musicians. I was invited to create an electronic work without using electricity; this for me was as much of a challenge as it is was an inspiration. In my music I work a lot with electricity in a variety of ways, electricity find its different manifestations through sound, light, movement, and ultimately music. Naturally our daily lives are also very much determined by the use of electrical power, so to generate electricity by making music was an interesting way to invert the paradigm and a fascinating compositional strategy that initiated this project. The final results of this process will be better described in the concert.
In this installation for the DeLight Festival cyclists will take part in performance. In that case, do you think that the person controls the mechanism or he/she is just a part of it?
The performer starts by controlling the mechanism (almost in the same way a musician would play an instrument) but progressively fusing into a single entity; a gear within a complex network of mechanical and electromagnetic components. Physical work becomes electrical power through precision, speed and high endurance in an hour-long piece of electro-mechanical driven impulses, strobe lights and air turbines.
In your installations you use engineering along the musical theory. Do you fill the gap between science and art or is it united for you?
I suppose that sometimes my approach to instrumental music can be regarded as installation due to an emphasis on creating instrumental tools out of simple daily life materials. I like to get my hands dirty with sound and its production mechanisms, to design from scratch how the sound will be created and what are the musical, visual and performative aspects encompassing its morphology before starting to define higher level structures. Having said that, at the end of the day my main interest is on finding out ways to create music on a large-scale level, how time unfolds within a certain global structure. Maybe the only difference is that I have some resistance to the exclusive use of traditional European instruments for the creation of new music, I think that to do so it’s not only a contradiction but also trap into a rather narrow sonic perspective. In any case, the ways I choose to work are highly personal and I believe any good composer is as much an engineer, a scientist and an artist; regardless of the aesthetics and instrumental vocabularies they choose to work with. What perhaps varies is the level of relevance these diverse fields of knowledge occupy within a given work.
In Berlin contemporary art helps to improve urban spaces and people’s relations to it. Do you think that this is a global tendency or it is more site-specific?
Although I have never lived in Berlin I find myself coming back regularly and spending longer periods of time working here. I think it is a unique place where performance art happens in many different socio-economical levels and hence venues, which makes it a vibrant city and an epicenter for contemporary arts. Although big cities tend to have an environment that fosters creativity and art, unfortunately it is not always the case. I wish this would be a global growing tendency.
by Ekaterina Zykova and Maria Trunateva