Maps and Fragments 1995 - 1996
David Tudor and Sophia Ogielska
'Toneburst: Maps and Fragments 1995 - 1996', a visual / musical collaboration between Sophia Ogielska, artist, and David Tudor, composer, was first exhibited at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University from September 12 to October 23, 1996.
The idea of combining David Tudor's music with a visual language describing the process of his composition and the method of performing it has been a concern of his for a long time. Tudor himself speaks cryptically about about his electronic set--ups, and rarely explains how his compositions have been created. In a series of collaborative works, whose selection is shown in this exhibition, David Tudor and Sophia Ogielska have found a way of expressing it visually.
Tudor and Ogielska have joined his method of extracting music directly from interactions of electronic components with her technique of composing paintings from visual fragments, which she has been exploring in the past decade. To engage and expose multiple dimensions, energy, and spirit of the process of composing and performing Tudor's music they chose new techniques -- translucent paints and electronically cut film on multiple layers of clear acrylic panels, and exploited new computer technologies for processing and assembling complex images.
Their work has achieved its force and clarity by restricting the visual space to the language of Tudor's compositions, the electronic circuits, and by finding new techniques for showing the energy and dynamics of his performances as free traversals of circuit shapes, switching their brilliant translucent colors and casting color shadows from one plane to another, and to surrounding space. This leads the viewer directly to experience the freedom of many interpretations coded in Tudor's electronic compositions. David Tudor and Sophia Ogielska have described their project as follows:
"As a starting point we took David's diagrams for 'Untitled' (1972), and we analyzed the active components one by one, looking at the way they are played, and we saw that the performance can be described by 23 graphic shapes (ideograms) combined in a visual map that can be traversed in an infinity of ways. This is how we established our visual language space, which can be entered at any point, and traveled in any direction simultaneously.
The ideograms appear in various forms in the multi-layered, translucent panels (scores, or maps), which express the interactive assembly of sound, coming from a flow of operations on active circuit elements. There is no one way of performing the composition; in fact there is an infinity of performances encoded in the circuit, which are visualized in the panels. The performance begins with introduction of individual sounds, and so there will be clusters of ideograms in space which will introduce the visual components of the larger maps. The colors and shapes indicate different groups of operations on active circuit elments (frequency and phase, input/output switching, amplitude, source input). With this visual language we have been planning to work next on another David's composition, which was comissioned for Merce Cunningham's dance 'Enter'."
The collaborative works shown in this exhibition merge Tudor's method of creating music from electronic components with Ogielska's technique of composing paintings from visual fragments. Using new computer techniques for producing complex images they reveal the energy, freedom and mystery of Tudor's music.
In the exhibition the sounds of Toneburst interact with their visual representation as well as with the acoustic environment surrounding them. The sound installation was realized by John D.S. Adams from three recordings of Tudor's performances.
The works are executed in mixed media: electronically cuttable film and transparent paints on translucent acrylic panels. This is a complex project, in which they have been extensively assisted by their technical collaborator, Dr. Andy T. Ogielski. He has written an interactive computer program which Sophia Ogielska and David Tudor used in shaping the images of circuits expressed in their works, and helped with the use of new materials and the computer controlled film cutting technologies.
David Tudor's and Sophia Ogielska's works shown at the exhibition include
a large 'score map' (96''x96'') and three 30''x 89'' 'maps', installed
together with multiple clusters of ideograms (each 16''x96'' or 14"x96")
which are arranged in space in relation to them, about twenty smaller multilayer
translucent panels, whose dimensions range from 17.5''x13.5'' to 48''x32'',
and Tudor's original drawings from 1972--1975 with electronic designs for
"Toneburst" and "Untitled".
David Tudor & Sophia Ogielska, Toneburst Map 4 , 1995-1996
For more information on the collaboration between David Tudor and Sofia Ogielska, please take a look at Billy Kluver and Julie Martin's article entitled, Sound Into Image: The Collaboration between David Tudor and Sofia Ogielska
For more information on David Tudor composition Toneburst, please take a look at John D.S. Adams' essay entitled, Giant Oscillations in the Fall '97 issue of MUSICWORKS.
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This page was last updated on August 13, 2002.
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