NEW WRITINGS OF SOUND AND MUSIC// Lauren Redhead// lines that have been drawn on photographs of sculpture
Extraits des pages 4, 5 et 8 de la partition de Lauren Redhead, Lines that have been drawn on photographs of sculpture. Ils sont suivis de deux interprétation de la partition et de sa réponse au questionnaire L’Autre Musique sur les nouvelles formes d’écritures du sonore et du musical.
* Website: http://laurenredhead.eu
* Title of work: lines that have been drawn on photographs of sculpture
* Instrumentation and methods of interpretation: Open instrumentation score. Freely
interpretable, with the caveat that it must be interpreted by multiples of 1, 2 or 4
Turnatable interpretation using keyboard samples created by Lauren Redhead, performance by Will Baldry at the International Keyboard Symposium, London, November, 2012:
Instrumental performance by Midnight Llama (contemporary music group) at Slack Space, Colchester, December 2011:
1. How would you describe this form of writing sound and / or music?
The project lines that have been drawn on photographs of sculpture was initially borne out of discussions between myself and turntable performer Will Baldry about what a collaborative work between the two of us might look or sound like. In particular, discussions about the work led to a discussion of the importance of borrowing and distorting practices in both of our practices. I thought it interesting to create a situation in which both the score, and the audio material were ‘borrowed’. In the case of the score, some of the borrowed material comes from sculpture—my ‘borrowed’ sculpture is the work Across the Board by Michael Pennie, which in my score is finally revealed as this image on the final page—whilst the original audio material was ‘borrowed’ directly from another piece of mine, the enigma machine 2b: [no subtitle], although presented in a much distorted fashion.
The score is introduced with the following statement:
“The creation of this score is borne out of-my reflections on performative writing,
and on the relationship between writing and mark-making. It was also partly
inspired by Michael Pennie’s sculpture ‘Across the Board’. Pennie describes the
time spent making this work as ‘concerned less with the individual and more
with the populace, the suspension […] of a critical position that would inhibit a
period of exploration, a time to extend my formal language and allow for more
This describes well the situation I tried to place myself in in the creation of the score. I regard the score itself as semiautobiographical and although I do not consider such a link to be desirable or necessary in performance, the task of its creation has functioned as an ersatz stream of consciousness. Most often most positive links are made between the ability to write and the possibility for self-expression, rather than with the latter and the ability to speak. Important for this work is its lack of realisation in writing.” So, this work can be considered a graphic score, but the music can also be situated in the process of making. Any performance, therefore, is a re-creation of this process, although the work is re-made each time rather than being re-produced. The most simple way to describe this might be ‘open music’.
2. How do you think your proposal can be interpreted?
There are many ways to interpret the score and despite being its composer I would not like to label any as the right one. The notation is open so as to suggest elements of pitch and duration, but also the possibility of an holistic interpretation of the notation as suggesting ideas rather than musical parameters. The interpretations made by turntable artist Will Baldry have taken both of these approaches: some aspects of the notation have been interpreted as specific actions whilst others more holisitically, for example to suggest a change of samples or categories of playing technique. This interpretation in collaboration with a turntable performer also suggests that pitch and rhythm needn’t be the focus of any interpretation, necessarily. The work has also been performed by acoustic contemporary music group, ‘Midnight Llama’. Their performance took a more literal interpretation of the symbols, following them in terms of gestural shape. This interpretation is also possible and allowed for within the interpretation. From my point of view as a composer, the notation should not be considered as a platform for a general improvisation, but an interpretation should engage with the notation itself on some level, even if this is a very broad one.
3. What meanings or additional level provides this particular form of writing to the performance and / or to the interpretation of the work?
This type of notation implies a collaboration between the composer, performer(s) and the score. An unprepared or sight-read performance would likely miss out on the possible complexities
of the work. This type of approach and notation implies that the performers must bring something personal to the work, very much in the same way that is described in the composer’s note relating to the composition of the work. Such an approach also allows the work to be a point for discussion and a catalyst for future works. This is also implied by the borrowing practices used in the creation of the score and in Will Baldry’s performances. What interests me in the performance of this work by Will Baldry is that as well as my interventions in sculpture and my own work, Will Baldry intervenes further through his performance. The same is true of any performance.
I found a link with borrowing techniques in an artistic practice which involves intervention in sculpture – either art that is created on existing sculpture, the insertion of sculpture or images of sculpture into other artworks, or pictures of sculpture which then become artworks. In these cases, space becomes a central consideration. Jon Wood describes various ways in which this functions,1 writing that ‘such graphic interventions into the works of others create imaginary new third works, poised layer-like not only between curves and histories,
but also media and materials.’2 Furthermore, Wood makes the link between structure and material, writing, ‘Barthes has written about photographs as “laminated objects” in which image and referent, photography and sculpture, are hermetically sealed. Over-drawing clearly ruptures this lamination, disturbing this indexical coalition.’3 In this case, Wood notes that space must not necessarily be considered as a geometry of musical or other works, and it is in fact the interaction of ‘the space’ of an artwork with extra-spatial elements that meaning is created. Similarly, each performance of this score creates a new, third, work which is the collaboration between all its elements. This is made explicit through the use of notation.
1 Jon Wood, ‘Drawing on Sculpture: Graphic Interventions on the Photographic
Surface’ Henry Moore Institute Essays on Sculpture, no. 55 (Leeds: Henry Moore Institute,
2007) pp. 3-4.
2 ibid. p. 6.
3 ibid. p. 10. cf. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (London: Vintage: 2000) pp. 5-6.