Australian Sound Artist

Monday, March 21, 2011

Samadhi Mechanism

::'Samadhi Mechanism' Still 2011::

“Such a state is ineffable by definition, but those who have known it, and the traditions that have cultivated it, maintain that it is the ultimate reality.”

Robert Jahn and Brenda Dune, “Sensors, Filters, and the Source of Reality” 2004

I am Quite excited by my next major piece of work, 'Samadhi Mechanism' - a further exploration into the individual’s experience and sensory perceptions of ‘space’ - the results by which, they form their impressions of their own unique, reality. It will be my first venture into combining the mediums sound and vision and I am already feeling a shift in my everyday sensory perspectives. While I often listen to the sounds of my environment as though they are part of a grand composition, I have never allowed everyday scenery such attention. I actually find vision almost too strong as a sense, to allow myself the freedom of subjective viewing. Sound however, (for myself) is a beautiful sensory stimulation to lose yourself in via multi-dimentional realities. 

In research of these ideas, I am reading, 'Filters and Reflections. Perspectives On Reality', edited by Zachary Jones, Brenda Dune, Elissa Hoeger and Robert Jahn. I am only 1/3 in at the moment so cannot make any sweeping conclusions but will say that although it's incredibly dense and scientific text is at first... unexpected and undesired, it brings to light exceptional information re: differing possible and cultural perceptions of our reality. This is how I was made aware of the state referred to by Zen masters as, 'Samadhi' - a state of pure experience,

"It is the visceral feeling that shifts the filters of consciousness from those of passive, objective observation to ones of proactive, subjective participation, and this participatory immersion in the experience modifies it's perceived reality."  pg 22

At the risk of sounding self-important I would tentatively suggest that through documentation of a space my work attempts to act as a catalyst for this state within the observer. The process of documenting a selected space, at a certain time through the eyes and ears of another individual (myself) allows it's (the space) existence to be born anew, in the reality of the observer (their perception of!). This process and experience enables them to participate in the creation of an alternate reality. Overtime I hope to become more skilled and/or successful at stimulating this reaction within each individual. 

For the piece, "Samadhi Mechanism', I have chosen to indulge my inner Futurist (omitting the war glorifying/feminism despising aspects) and document a space that is filled with the body of a machine. It’s giant pumping arms and rotating spindles remind me of what I imagine futurist and pioneer of noise music, Luigi Russolo’s ‘Intonarumori’ to look like. (I have to imagine as the machines were destroyed with only limited photo documentation)

Like Russolo’s machines, this device also emits what would traditionally be considered non-musical sounds. These sounds include clunking of gears, grinding of spinning axis and the abrasive humm of energy as generated by the main motor as it powers each movement the machine makes.

As an inorganic object, I perceive it as exhibiting strikingly human behaviour. It is this subjective ‘identity’ existing within its surrounding environment that I wish to translate via sight and sound.

The moving image in my work will be used minimally meaning, that I do not want to use post-editing effects to dramatically manipulate what I have successfully captured but more so, crop, cull and arrange, The unique aesthetic of the machine and the habitat in which it resides will provide me with enough inspiration and source material to work with. The setting is capable of provoking an ‘other world’ feeling from it’s observer on it’s own. My meddling with this connection between space (place) and person would only sabotage the identity I wish to portray.

Sound will be treated with less purist ideals in comparison to the visuals. Not only will I be recording audio from the space with no concern as to matching it to it’s original visual event, but I will also be collecting other sounds I feel fit the nature of the machine. These sounds will be recorded from anywhere and everywhere that I hear what I imagine the sound of this machine to be. The working mechanisms of a printer, rumbles of a train from beneath the bridge it is travelling over, the clicks and clangs of latches, locks or pots and pans – it will all be considered. Post editing of the sounds will create a surround composition that completes the piece, working with the visuals in bringing to life the reality of the machine in each individual observer.

to be cont'd.........