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Clare Strand: Residency@Thinking Tools / Morpho

From October until December 2021,
Clare Strand was resident at
Residency@Thinking Tools / Morpho

"Music creates a cybernetic circularity as it nourishes the body with vibrations while awaking the mind. Music illuminates the inner darkness of our black boxes. When listening to music, we feel that the separation between man and world disappears; we transcend our skin and our skin transcends us” (1)

The philosopher Vilém Flusser was one of the first to anticipate the advancement of the internet and networked culture dominated by the technical and electronic image. In the last chapter of Into the Universe of Technical Images, Flusser describes his vision of chamber music as the paradigmatic model for, "dialogic communication in general, and for telematic communication in particular”  

Clare Strand's residency with the Thinking Tools research group at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts builds on her engagement with the transmission and circulation of a photograph. Her recent work Discrete Channel with Noise used a coded system of numbers 1 to 10 as monochrome tonal values to transmit and duplicate an image from sender to receiver without the use of the internet. Strand has taken this photographic code and invited chamber musicians from the Royal Conservatoire to 'play a photograph.

Each musician individually interpreted the code, playing a notated sound for each number, each working autonomously but also as a group through gesture, intuition and feedback. Each time the photograph is performed new information is output. Without conductor and linearity, the musical sender and receivers operate in 'telematic dialogue’, guided by a set of musical rules only to be built upon and replaced with new musical scores and understandings.

The second phase of this project is to develop a machine programmed to play any photograph incorporating the analogue sounds of the chamber music musicians.

Image 1: Excerpt from Playing a Photograph in a Chamber Music Environment 16m3secs. Clare Strand. 2022
Image 2: Black and white photograph Broken Music with number code. 2022

(1) Quote: Die Geste de Musikorens (The Gesture of Music Listening) Vilém Flusser, 1991.