Based on my explorations of sound possibilities and thorough research of extended techniques on the piano during five years, the idea of my project “Universo” was born. It focuses on a series of free improvisation performances for prepared piano, which have taken place since 2018 under different forms and contexts.
Performance 1: ¿Fluye el Tiempo?
Immersive audio-visual installation
At first, ¿Fluye el Tiempo? (which can be translated as “Does Time Flow?”) is a piano free improvisation that took place and was recorded at the Austral University of Valdivia, Chile, in 2018, and was the starting point for the “Universo” project. Then, I wanted to enhance this work by mixing music and visual arts, mainly because the acoustic effect and concept of the performance and the project itself can very well evoke images. I had the idea of creating a sound installation with video, and when I discovered the originality, sensibility and eclecticism of Mexican artist Carlos Gamboa’s work, specialist on visual arts and multimedia, I realised that by collaborating with him, one of my project’s main goals would be able to materialize. In fact, the purpose isn’t to “animate” music or to “add sound” to an image, but to free each artist’s creative imagination in his or her own discipline (music and video), so as to finally converge, and complement, thanks to the project’s concept.
In this free improvisation performance, as the word “improvisation” suggests, its form is created continually and spontaneously, but is first driven by an idea, one of the fundamental questions of the laws of classical physics and of philosophical thought: “the now”. Is each moment “born” or is it “always there”? As several scientists declare, including Albert Einstein, our perception often differs from the laws of physics that reveal that the past, the present and the future, aren’t really anything more than an illusion of the human experience. So, if everything is happening at the same time, what is this mysterious human quality that decides to focus on one particular “now” and simultaneously giving us the illusion of moving forward in time? Maybe we might find the answer once we get to the last sequence of all our “nows”?… In the same way, this sound installation goes round and round, and regardless of when the spectator starts watching and listening, he/she will be immersed in a “current” of events which, even if they have a sense of direction by going forward in space and time, there is neither a true beginning nor a true end, one becoming the other.
From a cosmological and philosophical point of view, ¿Fluye el Tiempo? invites us to get lost in an acoustic and visual immenseness with multiple transformations which, maybe, will give us a glimpse of the immutability of constant movement…
Performance 2 : Entropía
The answer may be hidden in that little spark that we think it is the beginning of a so perfect order, which by nature tends to chaos…
The first time I heard this word (Entropy), it was in a science fiction story by Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question”, I think I was about 12 years old and I was shocked by the end of the story. Ever since, it has been a word that stayed in my spirit, and now it has resurfaced with my Universo project, giving rise to the Universo’s performance 2.
The ways I carry out this idea in this performance are diverse:
-Technically speaking, the concept is handled as a parameter that, as indicated by the second law of thermodynamics, will inexorably lead me to disorder. Thereby, I gradually create a superposition of elements that are accumulated proportionally in speed and density.
-Musically speaking, I seek precisely to allow this chaotic tendency to emerge and increase in an expressive and intuitive way.
For this project as for others that I have carried out, it has been necessary for me to complement my preparation by inquiring into the scientific literature -with my humble claim of a musician-, to understand certain things, for example that for classical physics there in no difference between the past and the future, so entropy can be backwards or forwards. But still there is a direction in time, just like cracked eggs cannot be put back together, we all grow old and die… this is because of the incredible state of order in which the universe began. It is like an inheritance. An ordered system creates another ordered system that will become disordered, and so on. So, going to extreme, even if the universe began to go backwards, our reality would always have an arrow of time that would tend towards disorder.