for electric violin, live-electronics and laser
composed in 2007
ALIAS I composed for Barbara Lüneburg. It leans on various techniques that are used by film. I was specifically interested in the so called “temporal aliasing” effect. “Temporal aliasing” means that when the eyes are exposed to an image for a fraction of a second, the brain holds the image for longer than it is actually visible. As film is based on a fast succession of images, that (at least in analogue techniques) are separated by a moment of blackness, caused by the “shutter” (The shutter in a film projector closes the lens during the moment when one image of a film is pulled through to the next one), the “temporal aliasing” bridges the black gaps and enables us to see the succession of images as a continuous motion.
What interest me in this context is that stroboscobic effects, namely the fast succession of visual information, which the brain still recognises as single images, is very closely related to the film technique. It is however perceived as very stressful information. It is a thin threshold of speed difference, that separates the strenuous sensation of stroboscopic visuals, from the smooth and continuous reception of film.
While we perceive film as a continuous motion, the sound of a projector still reveals the mechanisms at work. The rattling of the shutter is clearly recognisable and its inquietness links closer to that of a strobe.
In “Alias”, I am using sound excerpts from Japanese Mangas as sound material. Although cut up and processed, these materials are easily recognised as sounds that are originating from comic films, which gives film, as a technical medium, a presence throughout the piece.Acoustically present, but visually absent, the piece regains a substituting visual quality by a composition of lighting and graphic laser projections.
The laser that is used in this piece utilizes only geometric shapes. All shapes are made of horizontal and vertical lines, neither curved or round shapes are used nor rotations of lines. I confined myself to these shapes, as I find them characteristic of the framing of film, and the grid-based digital quantisations of visual material. With the laser I am reintroducing a graphic element back into the piece, with a much higher degree of abstraction than film ever has. After the filmic elements have been deprived of their visual content in this piece and only left their trace as acoustic material, the visual is reintroduced by abstract laser projections.
Depending on the quality of the laser projector, and especially on the size and the complexity of the image, more elaborate graphics tend to flicker. This happens when the laser point does not manage to pass all curves and lines of the image fast enough, so that the image starts to disintegrate to the eye. In more extreme instances this flickering can turn into a strenuous sensation which is analogous to that of stroboscopes.
I consciously used this flickering quality of the laser as yet another visual representation of the stroboscopic principles that were transferred into the music.
Furthermore, the laser fits the eccentric, extroverted and glaring quality of the Manga, which hovers over this piece.
Considering that this is a piece for a solo performer, the laser appears as a visual counterpart to the soloist.
Back to Audiovisual Works