“Ethics, culture, humanism, good, evil, beginning, end, which are only covers for all-too-rational people”, announces Chooc Ly Tan in ‘New Materials in the Reading of the World‘ (2011). The pronouncement from the artist’s ‘Oubilist manifesto’ comes ten minutes into Denature’s half-hour mix, ‘out-scale‘ (2015). It’s a piece that is bathed in blackness and low frequencies as it carries through a soundscape of a sort of cosmic horror – an expression of the Lithuanian artist’s interest in speculative realism, acceleration, Manuel de Landa’s “flat ontology”, Florian Hecker’s perception-as-hallucination… “Culture as being another emergent property of matter, matter being self-organising and inhuman,” Denature writes about his influences via online doc, “Humans and non-humans existing in the same space”.
First performed as part of transmediale’s Vorspiel programme on January 17 for the Survival Guide exhibition opening at Berlin’s Panke and now available to view online (or below), ‘out-scale’ carries through a fractured and fragmented stream of transmissions that you can almost see; auditory objects that exist as a part but also independently of their mode of presentation. There’s a field recording of background noise from a protest march that lunges in and out of focus as the crowd chants over footsteps, airhorns and nearby people chatting. There’s a fading phone interference, the zip of a bag and an ever-present sense of excitement and anxiety. Glass shatters, tones peak and human voices rush forward in a flood of words removed of their meaning and reduced to simply syllables.
But as dense as ‘out-scale’ is with auditory information, it’s even richer with its reference points. There’s something that sounds like rain but turns out to be the nightly symphonies of decapod shrimp underwater recorded with a hydrophone by Jane Winderden for her ‘The Noisiest Guys on the Planet‘ (2009). Mark Leckey’s black Freezer fridge is vocalising its inanimate thoughts in ‘GreenScreenRefrigerator‘ (2010): “you can call any vegetable, you can call it by name. Call any vegetable and the chances are good that the vegetable will respond to you”. Trevor Wishart’s ‘Globalalia’ of speech condensed to the core elements of universal human sounds are transmitted from 134 voices in 26 different languages.
Perhaps the most disturbing is -end-‘s ‘Making Sense March‘ – already described, and part of an 18-minute soundscape reduced down from three-and-a-half hours of raw recordings of a G-20 Summit March – as well as an added cinematic element to the ‘out-scale’ audiovisual presentation that needs to be seen to be appreciated. All of this adds to a multi-sensory mix you can play through the website embed above but we recommended you watch in full screen, with total focus, in a dark, dark room. **