Jan 6, 2012


reflective statement metadata

I want to put small things in high places in big rooms with tall ceilings.
These things make sound–as if they are building something up there…
What are they doing up there?
Little things in big rooms.
Big things in little containers–high–in big rooms

How quick is our “present” frame rate? (ie I’m aware of “now” “now” “now” “now”.) We have the potential to be present at a faster frame rate than we can speak, but once we begin to indicate it with words we stutter that slowly.

I stobe and flicker into the future.

Guides for tech informed by performance principles:
-Start with nothing
-Density – of sound and of material
-Natural gesture is more desirable than artificial gesture. Less intrusive to the intuitive process. Intuitive movement triggering non one to one actions = flow
-Shapes to dictate artificial gesture. They are only useful in so far as the movement they demand on the body. Shapes as potential sequences (motions). Useful only as the motion they embody (perhaps to be done with the left hand, requiring simplicity?)
-The repetition of figures. The figure recalls [an aspect] of the sound that was in play when the figure first appeared.
-Dropping off a curve. While creating/following a line and I change direction dramatically–when I do this I accelerate through the change. If I don’t accelerate I suggest that trigger the drop off of [an element]. A perceivable dropping out. The drop out happens at a certain rate as if it were effected by a force–like the acceleration/deceleration of a force such as gravity on an object–so it doesn’t happen instantly.

This object is placed in space. I know its is ‘hanging’. That means very little. There is this space and there are different things intersecting in it–supporting themselves perfectly. The shadow and the wall make me aware of this.

Construction: (as the opposite of de-construction) assumes that there is a cohesive whole once all the elements have been executed/put in place.

Improvisation: sometimes gives me access to greater understanding, intelligence, ability–something, maybe not even exclusively ‘mine’.

Improvised construction: surprises me and when I am able to recognize elements that I pulled out of that event/state that I may not have done otherwise–those glimpses are beautiful. It is what I find beautiful.

Aftifacts: elements that persist even after the construction has fallen away. The painting. In these artifacts there is space that those other elements once filled/fit into. There is sound in my paintings only because there is now no sound in the paintings. These holes are also places for my imagination to wander. The artifact came out of the cohesive singularity.

Joy: Constant amazement for serendipitous, spontaneous, singular moments. Things are beautiful and there is direct communication with that larger, surging, sublime under-current.

Compositions: Not in direct opposition of improvisation. The art is to leave room, with reason, for things to appear/happen. Set the parameters for singular moments to happen.

What is the painting?

-It is an artifact
technological connotation = glitch evidence
archeological connotation = from another time
There is a mystery to this, an unknowable or lost context

-It is the continuation of the work through time

-My emphasis on the performance makes you think of the painting as evidence of action in a very real way. Its a bridge to that event whether through memory or imagination, because it does not stand here self-contained in a bubble

-It stutters forward, incapable of changing. It is dead. The amputated limb from the dynamic body it came from. Through the performance event the dynamic body is set into motion. It is an organic machine made up of parts. These are forward moving present time, those things encapsulated in me, Rod, and Anton, and visual & audio information filtered through us in a feedback loop. And the other element –the unseen x. The binding body that allows interaction and understanding of unfamiliar abstract ideas–that which completes the singular moments for which we make room and attempt to contour. (The aggregate of our intelligence? Transformed and evolved in this context?)

I am in a playground. I build playgrounds.

Improvisation is a direct line
Audio and visual information is the medium
The body thinks through gesture
The mind produces ideas too, but can’t actuate as quickly (?)
All tools are necessary because time moves quickly and forward and doesn’t care if you’re left behind
Navigate dynamic landscapes with the dynamic body to try to be present and glimpse at synchronicity, beauty, or the sublime
Romantic language is deceptive and probably mostly ultimately wrong

Let’s speak plainly
and simply perform.

Bigger is better…and if it feels good do it (?)

-Internal conflict as follows:
From the gut. Awe felt at witnessing a great big physical work. how can this not be good or worth doing?
My ideological stance against the object fetish. Cerebral. What I need to train myself for and remain disciplined in–because it does not come as readily. Discipline is required to transcend materialism.

-It is possible endulging/being moved by/connecting with an object is not giving in to the fetish. There may be a middle ground
OR (but not both)
-It is possible they are one and the same; enjoying an object is enjoying an object, and you can’t hope to transcend by rationalizing there are exceptions.

-The parameters set by the rules of a system follow freedom. You can just act in accordance to the one rule set rather than assuming the default rule sets of the various social contracts that we live in/by — Which are many and inappropriate for creative work.
Example: It is difficult to find a situation where staring at someone for hours/days isn’t uncomfortable, but it is more comfortable if the pretext is portraiture.

-Allow enough room within a system for improvisation. Personal preference. improvisation is powerful.

-Otherwise: Less is less – draw a line using a ruler in the usual way. There are no “glitches” or “artifcats” (the unexpected), no tensions. The exciting thing about systems are the surprising unexpected outputs.

-An efficient, concise, eloquent system does this. ex Stockhausen, From the Seven Days

Put something into words that you’ve already put in paint and sound.

An economy of gesture and material can be achieved by putting yourself in an uncomfortable position — so no motion is made without necessity. you will do the most efficient thing if you put yourself in an effective system. You can construct the system. This will make you more efficient than just consciously trying to be efficient.

One uncomfortable position is to work in time that moves, where things change constantly and you’re only as good as your ability to recognize the shifts and decisions–and then you can go further and try to act appropriately. In the process causing ripples–causing the system to change–again and again and again–in minute ways. Recognize micro and macro shifts so you might anticipate the future. So you’re not caught un-aware.

No interest in slavishly transcribing sound. Visuals not subserviant to the sound if I’m creating visual information. Transcriptions may be ok if in the context of trying to communicate them–just a means–to get someone else to reproduce them. Purely utilitarian purpose. Or as an exercise. Personally, boring.

It is not that the end product is worth nothing, but you must be willing to sacrifice your notion of the end product during the process of making it.

Make friends with destruction.

Liberating. Accept that its ok that its final form may not have been the most appealing compared to other moments in its making. This is infinitely better than 0ver-working it.

Over-working it ruins all of it. Muddy. Uninspired. The worst thing. Worse than having a pile of little bits (because no chances were taken–less opportunity to learn/gain something.)

There is always a next time.

Lighten up, knowing when to stop and call a work finished is difficult. This philosphy helps with that timing — as well as liberating you to explore threads (benign and destructive alike), so you can grow.

failure, arc of beauty

Trust: This is what it feels like to trust. Everything is right — the plan for what to do is in the work itself. The drawing sound and the drawn mark are not the same thing but work in concert to give me access to a place where every thing works. Things I am not aware of and discover later. The plan for how to interact with the work is in the work.

I trust sound–and it builds with me
What a benevolent thing giving me this access.
Its playing with me–and I am playing.

-Write everything that comes through as words near where you think it
Don’t finish sentences if they are unfinished
-Explore the sounds with joy
-Draw and think on the sound–the marks are wonderful
-I tried editing the interference–like contradictions or alliteration that are self-serving/closed/selfish/shallow
-What was left told me how to navigate it.
It was more and more physical–until it wasn’t.

I don’t want to show you anything that I think I may know. When I paint, I just want to experience that thought [method]. As if there are many ways to think. Thought through that method. Visual. Kinaesthetic. Physical. Can I make sounds there? Yes. Aural. All of it together there. An I am thinking some way else.

More than anything else–sound is ours. Its the complicated codes of our own psyches manifesting themselves outwards–as beautiful music/language. its as present as a touch on the shoulder and grabs your whole mind–entering at your ears/eyes. Sound is ours. We can create it and eminate it so easily we just pulse.

I don’t know anything.
I am confronted by the amazing thing that I am conscious from a singular point (I) every single moment that passes.
I am a human like you are.
I need to work beyond the bashfulness/theatricality(?)
I will share with you what it is to be human
I confront the present and I confront myself
That is all there is.

pg 69 – 70
Reflective Statement
3 Section Composition

1. No light, hear breathing, sounds not manipulated
2. Light associated with breathing cannot hear breathing, sounds manipulated/evolved
3. Room mic picks up volume. Once reached a certain threshold lights associated (white/viewing light). Breath/voice not heard amplified. Just seen via light intensity.

Say what you think to those that will listen. be completely honest no matter how it sounds. Don’t be embarrassed by the way it makes you feel–and don’t stop even if you are.

I don’t know what to think about time. I looked into myself, trying to look into the place where thoughts come from and I couldn’t see anything. I opened my eyes and I couldn’t know anything out there either. I’m just where the two meet–so thin its impossibly thin. Is that who I am? I’m aware (as much as I’m aware) only there. How do I live now?

I recognize something so much a part of me that I know it is a part of me.  That thing emerged into a human at some point in time and it is fundamental now. It is the same now. Not just a perfect copy into me but the same.

A part of me is painting on cave walls now.

It has always been the present for everyone. I wonder if people looking at me are also me or a part of me…just over there.

An impossible 30,000 years.
I don’t know anything.
I’m glad I know this–overwelmed before I died.
Something fundamental.
Its important.
How to live now [knowing this]?
I don’t want to do anything that will distance me from that. I don’t want to “honor” it or be afraid of changing it.

I am here now.
How to live if everything is now
It makes me cry.



Dec 26, 2011

TSC at Seeing Sound

On October 29, 2011 Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern performed at the second annual Seeing Sound Symposium, held at Bath Spa University (organized by Dr. Joseph Hyde). Here’s a video of our performance.

seeing sound

Nov 25, 2011

TSC in Liverpool

On November 24, 2011. We played an event hosted by the Liverpool-based improv group, Frakture.
They’ve written an excellent post about the whole night but here’s what they said about us:

“We are introduced Combine as a first of a new platform combining music, sound and art which will consist of three acts. The first act is Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern who have set up in the corner of the room, Angela Guyton beckons the audience nearer or they’ll miss out. She and the audience are gathered around a blank canvas and she begins to mark the canvas. This action is accompanied by a roaring crushing sound it’s apparent that the canvas and Angelas herself has been transformed into an instrument. Of course associations with action painting spring to mind and Harold Rosenberg’s ascertain that art lies within its creation rather than with the final product.

What also comes to mind is the almost synesthetic nature of creating art, how the sound of pen scrapping across paper, brush across canvas even your own breathing become somehow part of the process. Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern have created a piece which amplifies these private moments into the public realm providing us the audience the opportunity to consider the creative process and the production of art.”

Nov 5, 2011

Tubers Music

There were the faint sounds of fireworks exploding in the background, and walls hundreds of years old are great places to see shadows moving.

Dave Birchall invited us [Takahashi's Shellfish Concern] to perform at a Tubers Music event held on November 5th, 2011 at St. Margaret’s Church in Withington.

TSC, was just Rod and I for this performance. On these occasions, when he and I improvise one on one, we tend to invite more space and silence. It is a different dynamic. (Unfortunately, Anton wasn’t at this performance as he was recording an album with his big band, Beats & Pieces.)


TSC at Tubers Music



Takahashi's Shellfish Concern merges sonic and visual information into a single transmission during improvised performances. I think we're all exploring consciousness, and I want to realize with every thought and expression that I am that through which the universe speaks. TSC helps me in trying to do this. We are based in Manchester, England.

Angela Guyton
Rodrigo Constanzo
Anton Hunter