The inaugural Music Space Architecture Festival was born out of a long-standing curiosity around the historical connections between the musical and the architectural. Dedicated to investigating these connections through a collection of things and phenomena — both spatial and sonic — the festival presented a series of events across 8 days in the freezing December of 2018. Engaging with different theories and topics, a persistent thematic direction arose: the attempt to synthesise the inaudibilities of architecture with the invisibilities of music.
The I Music Space Architecture Festival commissioned two musical performances, an installation and a short film, presenting these alongside a series of lectures, film screenings, and an interdisciplinary conference. The 2018 festival broadly explored the fundamental domains of time and space in musical and architectural discourses, the dependence on (or avoidance of) numeric systems, and the sensory experience of the listener when entering into immediate dialogue with space and sound.
Date: 01–09 December 2018
Location: ZIL Cultural Centre, Moscow, Russia
Curators: Sasha Elina, Yuri Palmin
Public programme coordinators: Olga Rubtsova, Aleksander Ostrogorsky
In partnership with the Moscow Architecture School MARCH and the ZIL Cultural Centre.
LARGO MA NON TANTO
“Largo ma non tanto” is a short film by Alexandra Karelina about a journey across an unfamiliar space, where architecture and music — static and moving — meet. The film was commissioned by Music Space Architecture and was first shown in December 2018.
A group of artists was invited to think about how both spatial and sonic experiences could be traced, mixed and subsequently represented in the frame of the film screen. The video was shot in Japan by the film’s director, Alexandra Karelina. The music was created collaboratively by the composer and improvisor Darya Zvezdina, and electronic/noise musician Alexey Borisov. The film is narrated in Italian, with fragments of the “Travel Diary of Luigi Pelli of Aranno from Saint Petersburg to Lugano in 1829”, prepared by the architectural photographer Yuri Palmin. In an illusionary space of unexpected resonances, knitted together by unrelated elements, “Largo ma non tanto” foregrounds the unstable object of the viewer’s personal reflection.
Direction, Camera, Editing: Alexandra Karelina
Music: Darya Zvezdina, Alexey Borisov
Sound: Alexandra Karelina, Darya Zvezdina
Text Editing: Yuri Palmin
Voice: Filippo Valoti-Alebardi
Sound Mastering: Alexandr Khokhlov
Producer: Sasha Elina
YOUR BODY IS A COLONY
“Your Body Is A Colony” is a work by the composer Cameron Graham (UK), commissioned by Music Space Architecture. It is a performance installation for performer Anastasia Tolchneva, infrasound, stethoscope microphones and controlled feedback. The idea of the work is to experiment with the ways that the human body might respond to, and perhaps even transform when engrossed in raw electronic frequencies. At the same time, it was almost impossible to know whether the performance was pre-composed or unfolding in real-time, scientific or entirely fictional. The body was reconceived as a different collection of sensitive acoustical zones, from the limbs, to the abdomen, to the heart and the internal organs. Anastasia was moving between different speaker arrangements, moving a stethoscope slowly around her body as sound was projected at her. This allowed the audience to hear the blood running through the veins, the stomach digesting, the heart beating, all whilst the body is immersed in loud, intense pure electronic tones.
For the artist, it was an invitation to the audience to open up to the ways that sound can change our perception of bodily function, and vice versa. Cameron asks: “Is your body a colony? If our heart beats at an incredibly low frequency (0.5–2Hz), what happens to the heart when the body is drowned in equally low frequencies? When the sound of blood in our veins is projected alongside the sound of feedback between our body and speakers, what does it sound like? And how does it make us think about our body as a sonic entity? If we tune our own internal sounds to external sounds, it creates a potentially limitless world of sonic activity. I think your body is a colony.”
A site-specific sound installation created by the artists Anton Kuryshev and Andrey Guryanov was installed in the atrium of the ZIL Cultural Centre. The main intention of the work was to reimagine and reveal the sonic memory of the glass. The title of the installation refers to the official Russian State Standard number of clear sheet glass — “GOST 111-35”. Along with concrete and steel, this material was very popular in the Soviet Union in the 1930’s when the Vesnin brothers’ Palace of Culture (ZIL) was designed.
The signal, sent to the glass sheets through speakers to vibrate, is a 17-minute soundtrack travelling from one piece of glass to another with a delay, keeping an almost living constant music cycle throughout the course of the works presentation. It is composed of highly obscured sounds taken from film scenes of the Moscow urban environment, along with Soviet songs of different years — all of these blending with more abstract noise material that shapes the piece. Doubling the windows, the six repeated constructions of metal frames and glass sheets create an additional architectural layer — a visual, poetic simulation as a canvas for representing the core idea.
The chattering sound of the six glass sheets blended with surrounding noises, the transparent constructions subtly expanded the architecture of the atrium. GOST 111-35 seemed to be naturally embedded within the space, inviting the audience to discover and engage with it live. Thus, the setting of the installation presented an ambient piece of art that is neither exposed, nor is it utterly invisible.
SPATIAL COMPOSITION #3.X
“Spatial Сomposition #3.X” is a musical performance created by the composer Vladimir Gorlinsky. It is written for two improvising ensembles — 7 soloists and 10 performers — in a form of a text score that defines the overall composition, and sets the sound fields and trajectories for the participants. Their movements, the sounds they produce and their interactions in space exist in an unusual play that gives different musical and sensual results. The performance took place inside the halls and corridors, outside and even on top of the ZIL Cultural Centre building.
Composer: Vladimir Gorlinsky
Instruments: megaphones, electronics, voice, string instruments, noise objects, accordion, flute, saw.
Duration of the performance: 110 minutes
01/12 “Spatial composition #3.X” by Vladimir Gorlinsky
01–09/12 “GOST 111-35” installation by Anton Kuryshev and Andrey Guryanov
02/12 Film screening of “Largo ma non tanto” by Aleksandra Karelina
03/12 Lecture by Sergei Sitar “Music of the Spheres and the Semiosphere”
04/12 Lecture-dialogue by Yuri Palmin and Vladimir Gorlinsky “Inhuman Architecture”
05/12 Lecture by Anton Gorlenko “Roughly 19 billion seconds remain”
06/12 Lecture by Cameron Graham “The Sonic Body”
07/12 Conference with 10 presentations selected in the open-call
08/12 “Your Body is a Colony” performance by Cameron Graham
08/12 Film screening of “Untitled” (1993) by Alexander Brodsky