© katya ev (ekaterina vasilyeva), 2017

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Augenmusik

performance (site-specific)

Paris

2016

curated by Azad Asifovich

 

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Following the Axis of Revolution performance in Moscow, Ekaterina Vasilyeva offers a new poetic response to the news, this time in Paris, questioning the urban body, the order of its topography and its residents’ experience, while the revolutionary spirit surges once again from the French Republic.

For Augenmusik twenty-four persons depart by foot, at the same time, from 24 city’s doors. They hold between their hands a blue emergency light with a siren which emits a discontinuous sound. They converge to the market downtown to bring the City Lights.

 

Once reunited, the sound from the sirens, hitherto fragmented and unrecognizable will turn out to be playing The Art of the Fugue, by Jean-Sebastien Bach. Walkers set the emergency lights and sirens on the ground and leave. This heap of bright emergency lights, sirens, and cables keep functioning until batteries are exhausted.

 

With Augenmusik , the poets, chased away from the ideal city by Platon, come back to it through six navigational axis leading to the marketplace. Center of the social life and gathering place where the direct democracy of the Greek polis is enacted, the market is also the heart of the economy and, therefore, of the «spectacle» (Guy Debord). Held in great pomp by some sort of pilgrims, the emergency light, diverted from its usual function, the state of emergency of a vehicle, and brought down to the pace of the procession, sheds light, through its royal blue color, on the vacuity of power. The synthetic sonorities of the siren disclose the original harmony. The centripetal impulse of the walkers, the physical union of their bodies, resurrects the common, until the finale recomposes the unity of the fragmented score.

Bach leads to the greatest heights in The Art of the Fugue, his «music for the eyes» : «To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit » (William Shakespeare, Sonnet XXIII). The equality between musical voices, at the foundation of polyphonic scores, concurs with democratic plurality. As Bach’s most controversial work, considered as his musical testament and, in the eye of many musicologists, left deliberately unfinished, it interrupts itself in its manuscript at bar No. 239 of the XIXth Counterpoint.

 

text by Jérémy André