Tuesday, February 20, 2007

the sound of writing the sound of music...

zithering

zitherback

it's nice when world's collide, particularly on the same object. here's a nice RPPC of a man playing some kind of zither, with some serious visual music on the reverse. no idea if the guy on the front made the marks on the back, but they certainly seem like they were generated by placing pencils between strings in various points on the instrument, and then holding the card against the pencil points as the strings and pencils quiver together.

in one sense, the backside reminds me of william anastasi's subway drawings, and some of tom marioni's drawings, where a physical action generates a scratchy and elegant image. i've done similar drawings with my eyes closed, using sound as a source for determining the movements of my hands; and i think of gerhard ruhm's recordings of the sounds of pencils on paper... as if these marks are speaking.

in another sense, they seem almost mechanical, like the marks of a seismograph or brain wave monitor. they resemble mechanical iterations of sound activity; and perhaps if oscilloscopes could draw, this is what they would make... broken sound waves fallen to the surface of paper like dried leaves...

and since this is the place of writing on a postcard, i see these marks in a third sense... visual, yet related to writing. i think of the calligraphic and scrawl-like nature of the visual works of brion gysin, henri michaux, carlfreidrich claus, ana hatherly, and others who have used their own relationship to the physical process of writing to generate visual images.

and lastly, of course, the marks could simply be a form of writing that we just can't read... perhaps with a depth of focus and concentration, one could discover within these marks a long lost micro story written by the gentle hand of robert walser... a whisper is only a whisper until one places one's ear up against it...

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Kirston Clare said...

Yes, very reminiscent of Michaux and Walser! Nice to see the images referenced above in relation to the find… Almost looks like an extension of his own movements in the photograph…

12:10 PM  
Blogger the art of memory said...

Thanks, I had never heard of Carlfriedrich Claus and Ana Hatherly, very subtle work.

3:23 PM  
Blogger sroden said...

yes, his hands and particularly his fingers are so strangely articulated, that the marks do look connected to him... indeed i'm always trying to find pathways from certain things i like to things that seem from other worlds... of course, my interest in these old photos relates to my interest in sound and sound making, but they do connect to so many other things i'm interested in through these various intuitive connections... and yes, carlfriedrich claus is stellar. there's a huge book on him in german someone showed me last year and many of his beautiful etchings are made up of tiny writings; he also did some great sound poetry music concrete stuff, that's posted on ubuweb. unfortunately with ana hatherly, there are no good images on the web of her drawings that use writing that i could find... anyways thanks both for taking the time to comment....

6:17 PM  

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