interiview for festival Ultima 2009

Festival magazine of ULTIMA (Oslo)

















Interview  with the contemporary music festival ULTIMA on the interinterinter show (Matthew Shlomowitz, Mark Knoop, Shila Anaraki, Tomma Wessel and the Henningham Family Press)


"Once the performative aspect of concert music is 'on the table' the compositional material is widely enlarged and it is impossible to go back. Even if you simply play notes, 'playing' shines in its own value and screams: take care of me!

InterInterInter shows two possible modes of taking care: the deconstructive and the constructive mode. Both can be fun like hell, if you don't stop before you go to far! Because that's where it gets hilarious."



This is an email interview from spring 2009 between Eirik from Ultima and David Helbich from the short lived new music & performance group interinterinter about their plans in Oslo the same year, but also about their general attitude and concepts:


What is InterInterInter planning to do at the Ultima Festival?

InterInterInter is of course doing its InterInterInter show, which consists of three parts: a piece by Matthew, one by David and the live bookbinding by David and Ping* (two davids here!). The two pieces are the same as in Bergen, but we always work out some parts differently. VORSPIEL will for example enlarge the last part with the flying recorder...

The bookbinding part always experiences a site-specific setting. Already the printing (which happens in between the pieces) needs to relate to the size of the tables, the amount of expected audience numbers, etc. Therefore we also change the specific prints: namely the audience interactive tasks and games. Not only for practical reasons, but we are still learning about the working and the fun of our requests. And fun it should be!


One thing more about the printing: since the venue and evening program offers a special kind of arrangement, namely different floors, no tables and more ensembles playing, the printing will use this opportunity to lead the audience through this complexity. Therefore our method is even predestined!


The audience will see the program, including program notes, times and spaces appearing on the blank paper throughout the night. The program book is finished in the last moment of the evening. Crystal clear, but still opposite to the normal tick-off program books, where you watch time passing more then looking forward!

At Borealis I started a project called Greetings from an audience/Just to say Hi, which will be integrated in Ultima and our show again. Let's see, but maybe it will appear in the most surprising moments...

Apart from the InterInterInter show, I might also do some other work for the festival.(check NEW MUSIC DEMONSTRATION for this.)

 

Before your performance, the audience will hear music by Finnissey, Laurence Crane and Helmut Oehring. In what way will you interact and/or comment the evening's musical program?


We wont 'react' on the single works, but we are very influenced by most of what they do and their social and artistic environment. We are their audience, colleagues, listeners and observers. Our works play, each in its very own way, with conditions and assumptions of classical contemporary music and the situation of classical contemporary music.

Once the performative aspect of concert music is 'on the table' the compositional material is widely enlarged and it is impossible to go back. Even if you simply play notes, 'playing' shines in its own value and screams: take care of me!

InterInterInter shows two possible modes of taking care: the deconstructive and the constructive mode. Both can be fun like hell, if you don't stop before you go to far! Because that's where it gets hilarious.



Could you explain the idea behind your book binding-project?


The binding is more or less the consequence of printing the pages of a book ...

When we first gave ourself the commission to plan and compose a composed music evening (for Rational Rec in London) with humor and a serious recognition of the audience as an active and creative member of performances, it was on one hand logical to also accentuate the written form of composed music and the act of reading scores on stages.

On the other hand we were looking for another live art form, which plays with its boarders, too. Book-printing came mainly up, because Matthew knew the performative work of the Henningham Family Press.

Perfect match of two good reasons.

 

You'll be performing at Oslo's House of Literature. Do you find it interesting to explore the borders between contemporary music and literature, and why?


That goes back to the question before: the act of reading live on stage. A kind of silent reading out loud. Weird and only existing in the circus of classical European music and its siblings.

A simpler answer is of course: we are a dancer, instrumentalist,  composers, performers, printers, visual artists ... Our perception of borders is already wide by all our own influences. So, the integration of genres is what we find interesting - fooling around with borders of expectations. Classical differentiation into genres is a container of the absurd.

But more. The Henningham Family Press is very happy with this venue, since we till now mainly performed in music venues and festivals. For most of the audience their work was perceived contextless in itself, an beautiful extra to what the pieces already stressed. But that is of course not true. There is a great scene of 'new printers' and very creative, experimental bookmakers. The moment, where everybody thought, the internet will let books die, bookmaking as an art form raised its head once more and its more defined use appeared as freedom.

The fetish of handcraft its part of the new analog lust! And this is something to share.

 

Do you have any thoughts on the relation between contemporary music and literature? Could maybe text and words work as a didactic bridge between an inexperienced audience and "difficult" contemporary music?

Literature is of course more then words and text. But voilĂ . I think, the development of new music would have been impossible without the simultaneous springing up of music science and its materialistic front: the program note! The relation of musical experiments with their explanations and their interpretations is a strong one. And not for nothing: the moment that music is composed in a completely open field - where the only boarders of composed pieces are the imagination of its inventors - a concert program of let's say three pieces is doomed to present three highly different concepts of music making and concepts of what should happen in this particular concert situation.

So, the pieces have to make it themselves: with the help of program notes or not, they have to establish their own rules during their appearance and 'teach' the listeners each time again, how to listen to music.

Quite a job. A bit like in a museum: you go around the corner and suddenly its again painting. Or is it the flickering lamp above the canvas? Is the guard real? What to do? Checking the title sign.

Titles. An underestimated subject in compositional studies. Titles belong the the closest environment of a piece, even though they don't say anything about the actual sounds. Every composer tries to give a hint. An opening. Maybe a didactic one.

I totally believe in two contradictory things: New, contemporary (classical, composed, art ...) music is understandable with pure concentration and interest. And, it desperately needs explanation.

My preferred method: the spoken word, the conversation.
My preferred technique: description.
 
My tip: listen two times.

 

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