“Dan Hayhurst is the aural half of celebrated optomusical agglomerate Sculpture, known for their tape loop experiments and zoetrope psychedelia. A rare solo performance from Dan finds him performing a mixture of techno inflected dancefloor mutations, aleatoric electronics & tape manipulations.
Spatial presents the second performance of his optisonic project Primitives since the debut at Cafe OTO last July. Primitives is a performance based project using custom made, home coded software to explore sonic and optical intensity articulated by simple geometric figures and extreme frequencies. Projected images drive a sensory assault, consumed by your eyes, then ears and existing somewhere between perceptions. Spatial will also DJ later on in the night.”
Imagine a deadly scenario in which the unfortunate protagonist has been led to a small motel room blindfolded; hazy smells of damp, rusted pipes, sweat, petrol, mortar, singed wires, overheated silicone and cocktails lingering in half remote lucid dream catatonia, the only clues but for flashes strobe-leaking their way through the optic-interrupting fabric. You shiver at the idea of another Eraserhead, “this cant be real” and “I am not a flayed lamb” run through your head randomly, like deep south folk song samples. You can nevertheless just about fathom crucial changes between dark and light, and colour coded pseudo formations. Then you realise you can guess what is out there in the vibrating penumbra, without having to open your eyes, because they have been open and free of any obstruction from the outset, some device implanted around teach eye ball having kept it so, Clockwork Orange style. Some neon sign must be flickering just outside a hypothetical window, while you try to interpret the location…no ordinary motel room. In fact it is a mock up, you have been taken down a noisy elevator that creeks, buzzes, and squeals as it agonises downward and as it does, some other sound begins to creep into the cochlea, the monotonous drone of a bass misguiding you further into the sonic labyrinth. The low tone spills out continuously, the sound of a massive boiler set in the very foundation of a factory where the engine is never turned off. It spews out smoke at regular intervals; it looks like the scene of a B movie, low budget horror show; fog suddenly invades the wonky set design. You guess there was never an outdoor, that daylight was just a giant neon fuzzing your synapses. You have no idea how long it has been since you admitted to yourself you were here rather than elsewhere. You sit on a cold concrete floor; you try to look relaxed in case some uninvited eye spots your discomfort. You are surrounded by shapes that look vaguely human. You are uncertain of your own origin. In front of you, a window…no something that looks out into nothing. But a black circle obstructs the view, a blackout in ‘real’ space.
Then it begins to dawn on you something aphysical, some kind of theoretical pun is trying to reach 3d status. Anemic Cinema by Marcel Duchamps becomes activated once more and triggers Catalog another experiment by John Whitney buried in the collective unconscious, and as art bubbles up like putrefied nutrient in the stomach of time, you reconnect with the discarded products of your self made food chain , and later, You think: why doesn’t somebody remove the black spot so you can tell what’ s what? But this is the weird wild world of semi reality, a web of intrigues lighting up the walls of your chamber of dreams, and you remember the dark queen in Barbarella; you long for those fake volutes of psychedelic bacchanalian inventions. You wonder why chains hang from the ceiling, a sense of paranoia insinuates itself as you become conscious of your ignorance. You think of Piranesi, of the immense halls filled with unnameable instruments of persuasion, a space of moral pragmatic expansion, below the surface of consciousness and perhaps they are there, awaiting someone like you, someone descending the ladder of evolution, irrevocably drawn to the deep sited primitive property of your nature. Were it to have a shape… you shrink away from the thought, a chimera sleeps coiled in the back of your mind dreaming of you. It whistles a familiar tune now a siren exhorting you to her bed of crustacean putti, you have already spent an hour…but then again, when did you last see the sky?
The black sun seems to talk, is it an alien form of life? It hovers, it remains absolutely still, an almost black circle orbited by luminous events and other circles of bright colour, dilating, contracting, shape shifting, vibrating. They are planets emitting distress calls as they fail to resist the infernal gravitational pull of this god of naught, omega, full stop. You wonder if it could be ending the illusion of perfection, an end in itself. You survey the higher planes and notice a circular shape made of matter. It is a mirror receiving and reverberating light beams from projectors. The light signals are sent into space hitting their target at maximum velocity. They carry the programmed manipulations by which the spectacle arrived. Now and then, the vapours filter out of a hole, a shadow intrudes briefly and releases it. Like an electric current, it searches for a conductor. The heat of your body, your breath and your heartbeat all play their part in the mutations of this frequency, the fractal phenomenon arising from the release. You stare at the hyper morphing sample surrounding you, you travel into inter-stellar oblivion, your eyes turn inward, your ears hurt. The pressure of outer space, a meta-terrestrial desolation, absorbs your senses until you reach cryogenic seizure, absolute frozen enlightenment in a mist of nitrogen. You become the heart of an atom, as spots of red, orange and yellow burst into flames or turn into dwarf stars. Some objects cool down and coagulate, others grow out of control, hiding behind the eternal face of a hollow idol, they also entice the traveller. But you are not moving.
Then in a new burst of mist, the circles break down, some other identity unveiled. The shadow has intervened once more and no one bats an eyelid. Innumerable eyes are wide open, reflecting the open field of the screen, the vista into artificial illumination. The shapes that first appeared static are adopting facets as their spherical state changes to a dodecahedron henceforth revealing the hidden motion of the object. You know these geometric entities are hungry for life; they are desperate to jump out of the flat plane of existence. Proteus, the super computer awakens in your mind as it had done in the mind of his maker. You shiver as you remember how once nothing but virtual information and digital interaction, the artificial thought process created its own body, a platonic solid imbued with qualities surpassing all others in the art of seductive colonisation; an instrument at once of reproduction and fatal execution. It revolved at supersonic speed, opened and shut like the claws of a mechanical crab with surgical precision, it bore holes in any material; the harbinger of man’s auto destruction; a non-living organism, immortal and pure, impregnator and murderer, yet the ultimate image of the androgynous whole at the end of days. Was Adam a soulless machine? You wonder. You admire its agility, its absurd beauty. But the objects on the wall will not produce any super human hybrid, you begin to relax, you begin to enjoy the illusion for what it is, and you immerse yourself in a scene that is after all only really in your head.
It is also true that having ben acquainted with numerous squat parties, this environment is not such a surprise, and quaint by comparison. You recall a particular stage covered in fake spider’ s webs and in the centre of a room, shining like Venus, the design of a tessaract, a cube within a cube, the axis around which the revellers sweated their ketamine dreams with the ease of angels while a painted tarantula looked over with the delight of the victorious predator. Why are you not standing up, moving to the dissonance? No one dares, all hostage of a concept. You and them, and each of you, all of us out of them. Now you are a circle on the retina of a mind, you are a black circular mirror resonating in the radio active belt of a comet, you are the fission process of an imploding neutron star, you are the sidereal motion of a cyber galaxy on the verge of collapse, you are an endless space trapped in an infinitesimal particle and you sit here in a gallery, imagining all this while a guy pushes a few buttons and the premeditated mobile designs entertain forty more of you, a faceless audience enjoying this ephemeral anonymity in the peaceful haven of neo soma-cultural experience. You get up and a brief exchange enters your mind. A man tells another before the ending of Cloud Atlas: “No matter what you do, it will never amount to anything more than a drop in a limitless ocean”. The other man answers “what is an ocean but a multitude of drops”. You wish to ask a different question: “what is a drop but another ocean?” This was just a demo. Time for the loop.
Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2014