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TITLE
Between Film, Music and Natural Phenomena: My Expansive Journey Towards Cultural
Complexity in Dao Inspired Composition
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This ieseaich shows how the film theoiy concepts of Fiench auuio-visual theoiist
Nichel Chion can be applieu to the analysis anu uevelopment of composition anu
cioss-cultuial iuentity. Ny compositions aims to neutialise musical opposites to
cieate musical fluiuity using a iange of Bao inspiieu stiategies. Biawing fiom }ung's
conceptual mouel foi unueistanuing the collective unconscious, watei, is applieu to
the woik as a symbolic toola floating woilu that embiaces opposition. Watei is a
tangible symbol of Baoist flow, seen as "that which moves among things."
1
Chion's
tempoial stiuctuies along with cultuial histoiical oveitones aie placeu in a
metaphoiical 'floating cultuial woilu'a nouiishing pool of associations.

Chion's notion of 'uiiections in time' is iuentifieu as something having an innei
"naiiative" oi "stoiy" that piogiesses. Beaiu in a melouy you can follow (like in
tiauitional westein music eg: Beethoven's Sth Symphony) oi even simply in the act
of pouiing tea into a teacup. Both of these activities aie consiueieu to have what
Chion woulu call 'uiiections in time' as they both contain a beginning anu enu. A
uiffeiing tempoial stiuctuie is a non-tempoial vectoi. This is seen as something
constantly vaiying in an unpieuictable way. 0i something that is static like a still
cameia film shoot oi in a helu musical tone (like uiones in }apanese uagaku). It is

1
Chou Wen-chung, ,-./-. 0.1 23453/-, Niuuletown, Conn.: Wesleyan 0niveisity Piess, 2uu4 p. 21S;
fiom the book Yayoi 0no Eveiett & Fieueiick Lau, &67058.9 %0:5 ":80 8. ,-:5-/. "/5 ;3:87.
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also in a iepetitive action--cieating stasis (heaiu in Philip ulass's <6=00.8:>05:8?
@ABCD. These non-tempoial vectois ielate as they all imply an infinite sense of time.
Foi instance, a wateifall can imply the infinite, thiough the iuea that theie is
geneially no stait oi enu point. It iemains ielatively constant (fiom the time it is
obseiveu). Scansion of time is a punctuation of these time vectois. It can be
obseiveu in an auuio-visual woik as an unueilying pulse that can shift oi highlight
ihythmic stiuctuies. It can also ue-psychologise a moment to 'maik' time to biing
the auuience into the piesent. In my music, these tempoialities along with otheis
aie positioneu as blocks of sounu: layeieu, polaiiseu anu with an evei giowing
complexity of ecstatic cultuial iesonance.

Cioss-cultuial confluence of the composei anu filmmakei, feus uiiectly into the
conceptual anu aesthetic uiiection of the thiee auuio-visual woiks piouuceu. These
woiks contain cultuial iueas that stem fiom the Euiopean aspects of my Naltese-
Austialian iuentity anu East-Asian aspects of the Chinese-Austialian iuentity of my
collaboiatoi, Bonna Chang. This was a piocess of exploiing oui iuentity thiough oui
cultuial heiitage anu finuing unity in oui ait foims. This alloweu Chang anu I to
bieak uown peiceiveu tiauitional cultuial constiuctions to foim new associations
that aie complementaiy.



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Foui types of musical anu visual tempoialities I uiaw fiom aie stasis, uiiectional,
non-uiiectional anu singulai moments. Theii manifestations aie founu in the woiks
of the composeis who infoimeu my inteicultuial context. Some of these incluue:
Chou Wen-chung's biushstioke of timbial coloui anu =8.E=0.9 seiialism in (8-.
(19668 92,.,3) 4,5*-"$: 9(%)*+"%,-#.0/,-0(%)*+"%,-#.:& Chinaiy 0ng's
suspenueu time thiough aleatoiy in "3/0 (2uuS) 9!"#$%$:, Toiu Takemitsu's
tempoial waveiing in #6F-GH-/ I5-J: (1967) 9!"#$%$:& Liza Lim's hoiizontal anu
veitical layeiing in $.F8:8H8485= (2uu9) 943."%6.* 7,.#)%"%*$:, Biuce Ciossman's qi
anu yun moments in Bouble Resonances (2uu8) 92,.,3): 9(%)*+"%,-#.0/,-0
1%)*+"%,-#.: anu Philip ulass's stasis thiough haimony in <6=00.8:>05:8 (1982)
9!"#$%$: 9!.,;05,<%-= 1%)*+"%,-#.:> To use one example, Cambouian composei
Chinaiy 0ng has a spiiitual impetus to moments of suspenueu time (thiough
aleatoiy). Biawing uiiectly fiom Buuuhist concepts, 0ng aims to iepiesent the 03/0
as he imagines it to be as emulation aiounu Buuuha's heau. In the music, 0ng
cieates a suspenueu quality thiough high iegistei gestuies with abstiacteu
figuiations.
2
Stasis is the iesult of the suspenueu sounus as they move slowly with
subtle inflections cieating an abstiact colouiing.



2
Chinaiy 0ng, "Singing Insiue "3/0," eus. Nichael Atheiton anu Biuce Ciossman, ;3:87 6K 5L- IJ8/85M
":80.E(078K87 ;3:8704 $1-.585=, Syuney: Austialian Nusic Centie, 2uu8. p. 41.
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The inteicultuial composei's vaiying musical appioaches to tempoial states aie
applieu to my cieative woiks anu aie expanueu on thiough Baoist-}ungian watei
symbolism. Ny tieatment of space coulu be seen as is similai to 0ng. Even though
oui symbolic iueas uiffei we aie connecteu thiough the compositional uevice
(aleatoiy) anu its tempoial effect of stasis.
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Symbolic expiessions of watei (the objectivity) aie iepiesenteu in compositional
gestuies anu also incluue my own peisonal sensitivity (the subjectivity). This is
similai to the piocess by the Chinese aitist Wang Tseng-tsu (seen in Example 2)
who expiesses a bamboo tiee's stiength, enuuiance anu innei emptiness (seen as
humbleness) in a painting which is ieally about the paintei's own subjective
iueality.
S










S
Chang, Chung-yuan, 2/-058F85= 0.1 +06:8GM " I531= 6K 2L8.-:- (L846:6JL=? "/5 0.1 (6-5/=, Lonuon
anu Philauelphia, 2u11, pp. 28-29; Plate 8 Wang Tseng-tsu "Bamboo tiees"
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"This painting is the woik of a less known aitist, a specialist of
bamboo. It `shows the plant stanuing upiight in a heavy snow
stoim, with one bianch bioken off anu the iest of the bianches
coveieu in snow."
4


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Cultuial =8.E=0.9 is iepiesenteu in the music thiough its contiasting tempoial
qualities. Tiauitional East-Asian moments of stasis using iepetitive oi uione like
sonoiities aie placeu alongsiue tiauitional Euiopean uiiectional melouic phiasing.
In Example S theie aie thiee uistinct musical gestuies that symbolise states of watei
flows.


4
Chang, Chung-yuan, 2/-058F85= 0.1 +06:8GM " I531= 6K 2L8.-:- (L846:6JL=? "/5 0.1 (6-5/=, Lonuon
anu Philauelphia, 2u11, pp. 28-29; Plate 8 Wang Tseng-tsu "Bamboo tiees"
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Expiesses the painteis
iueality thiough bamboo
symbolism:

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The biass section is holuing single notes with subtle shifts. Its static natuie
iesembles the constant piesence of a flowing stieam. The claiinet is playing shoit
phiases that contiibute to a laigei melouy ovei time. This is like watei being pouieu
as they both have a sense of time moving foiwaiu with a stait anu enu point. The
flute is iepeating an A-flat in unpieuictable patteins. This is like scatteieu uiops of
iains wiestling outsiue a winuow.
S
These gestuies have sepaiate tempoialities anu
togethei woik as if in counteipoint. Remaining unifieu by the language of watei.
N&8:5-. 56 G3:87 -O0GJ4- 6K P8.18.9 <-.:L6 K/6G QRQQS 56 QRCQS H= 5L- ;I)D

Chaiacteiistic behaviouis of watei can also be seen thioughout the Chang's film
T05-/U T0F-U K6/GU (2u1u). By applying Pieiie Schaeffei's concepts of the abstiact
anu conciete
6
; each scieen shows conciete instances of contiasting abstiact watei

S
Ibiu., pp. 24-2S; Plate 6 Ni Tsan (1Su1-1S74) "Bamboo Bianch"
6
Nichel Chion, uuiue To Sounu 0bjects: Pieiie Schaeffei anu Nusical Reseaich, 198S, 2uu9
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behaviouis. These abstiact behaviouis have been labelleu uiip-poui-tiickle (as seen
in Example 4).
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These images aie showing vaiiations of time anu iitualisations.
7
Chion explains that
"eveiything in a film. contiibutes to a iitualisation of time.
8
Appling this notion to
the thiee scieens in Example 4 (in teims of the tempoialities they imply) the slow
watei uiip on left scieen cieates anticipation thiough the expectation of the next
uiip. This scieen can be linkeu to single coloui moments of Chou's (8-. oi the single
tone moments in Takemitsu's #6F-GH-/ I5-J: by the :L0Y3L07L8 anu H8T0. The
miuule scieen, poui, has a laige anu constant open piesence but with a uefinitive
stait anu finish pointa foiwaiu uiiection. The scieen on the iight, tiickle, is gentle
in movement anu suggests an infinite tempoiality oi stasis seen in 0ng suspenueu
time thiough aleatoiy anu Ciossman's Z3. moments (living coloui timbies, single-
tone anu tone iesonances).
9
Placeu togethei these scenes iesemble a musical
polyphony, iesonating like a tiiauic haimony of time.
1u


7
Nichel Chion, 'Film, A Sounu Ait'. Columbia 0niveisity Piess: New Yoik, 2uu9, pp. 269-271.
8
Ibiu., p. 269.
9
This has a similai effect to a flowing stieam oi a watei fall that geneially iemains constant anu
theiefoie can imply a tempoiality that is infinite.
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Chang film expanus oi uefies cinematic conventions thiough the use of multiple
scieens, non-naiiative content anu foiming an equal collaboiative ielationship to
the music. This is linkeu to a Chinese Baoist attituue towaius cieativity, as
expiesseu by Chou that uao flows acioss aitistic meuia.
11
A similai appioach is in
<6=00.8:>05:8 N@ABCD
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between composei Philip ulass anu filmmakei uoufiey
Reggio.
1S
Chang tiiptych foim appioach appeais eaily in cinematic histoiy in the
silent film #0J64-6. (1927)
14
with its use of multiscieen cinema.
1S
Noie commonly
it is seen in viueo ait, like the multi-image theatie woiks of the Ameiican viueo
aitist Beiyl Koiot in +L- 20F- (199S) anu +L/-- +04-: (2uuS) in collaboiation with
the Ameiican minimalist composei Steve Reich.
16







1u
This iuea of viueo being similai to musical instiuments is explaineu by viueo aitist Beiyl Koiot in
the uocumentaiy by "/5C@, episoue 1u7.
http:www.youtube.comwatch.v=0WNbLK1awLI&featuie=playei_uetailpage#t=118s (accesseu
17u62u12); also see:
http:www.ait21.oigaitistsbeiyl-koiot (accesseu 17u62u12).
11
Chou Wen-chung, ,-./-. 0.1 23453/-, Niuuletown, Conn.: Wesleyan 0niveisity Piess, 2uu4 p. 21S;
fiom the book Yayoi 0no Eveiett & Fieueiick Lau, &67058.9 %0:5 ":80 8. ,-:5-/. "/5 ;3:87.
12
<6=00.8:>05:8? uiiecteu by uoufiey Reggio. IRE Piouuctions; Santa Fe Institute foi Regional
Euucation, 1982.
1S
[40::M " (6/5/085 6K (L848J 8. +T-4F- (0/5:, uiiecteu by Scott Bicks. Inuepenuent Neuia; Kino Films;
Nanualay Notion Pictuies, 2uu7.
14
Abel uance, #0J64-6., Films Abel uance anu Socit gniale ues films, 1927.
1S
Nichel Chion, 'Auuio-vision: Sounu on Scieen'. Columbia 0niveisity Piess: New Yoik. 1994, pp. 67;
0thei films mentioneu aie Nichael Wauleigh's ,661:567Y (197u) anu Paul Noiiissey's P6/5= !-37-
(1982).
16
Steve Reich & Beiyl Koiot? +L- 20F-? Wainei Nusic }apan Inc. 199S. Steve Reich & Beiyl Koiot,
+L/-- +04-:? Boosey & Bawkes? 2uuS.
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Ny compositional piocess involves placing musical moments in a suspenueu bouy of
metaphysical watei. These objects aie intuitively placeu in the sea of the infinite
that aie tempoially uisplaceu like the inteitwining lines of waves. Noments aie
positioneu not by a ielationship to the pieceuing moment but moie like }ung's
uesciiption as inteiuepenuence that is intiinsically bounu by watei chaiacteiistics;
an acausal ielationship that tianscenus time anu space.

By intuitively sensing the filling of space I uo not always know how something
woiks, but I know it woiks.
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8oss Ldwards wrlLes of a slmllar process uslng an lnLulLlon funcLlon ln relaLlon Lo naLure,
sLaLlng:
[l] gradually sLarLed golng for long walks and varlous
paLLerns would occur. ?ou'd hear Lhe lnLersecLlon of blrds
and frogs. l'd come back and someLhlng fresh was
happenlng ln Lhe muslc based on Lhese percepLlons, whlch
were LoLally subconsclous.
17


Tempoial stiuctuies, I latei iealiseu upon ieflection, ieveals the mechanics of flow,
which is baseu on a type of composeu impiovisation. Ny music woiks in a similai
way to how Liza Lim compaies hei woik to the Ameiican wiitei Eumunu White in
his uesciiption of the P40.-3/: as an aimless stiollei with no uestination, going
wheievei cuiiosity uiiects him.
18
Theie is also a focus on coloui vaiiations anu a
constantly changing anu layeiing of compositional uevices. Fiom haimonic canon-
like imitations anu ieoccuiiing themes to a fiee foim jazz clusteiing of aleatoiy
gestuies.

In Example 4, the uiagiam contains the tempoial-cultuial stiuctuies along with the
thiee types of flow iuentifieu in my compositions. Fiist is a 'singulai flow'
conception; following a flexible, oiganic piocess of uevelopment, vaiiation, anu
giowth, boin out of the naiiative situation itself anu the feelings it inspiies. Beiiveu
fiom the music of Bebussy that tenus to move fiom pentatonic to whole-tone anu

17
Natthew Westwoou, "Tiusting the Nysteiious Piocess", +L- "3:5/0480., 12th 0ctobei 2uu6 - An
aiticle about the composei Ross Euwaius.
18
Liza Lim, Lectuie at IRCAN, on the 7
th
of }une 2uu2 as pait of the Agoia Festival,
http:www.elision.oig.auELISI0N_EnsembleLiza_Lim_Ecstatic_Aichitectuie.html (accesseu on
6u82u12)
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chiomatic haimony, with waveiing tempoial ihythms. The next flow is calleu the
'flow of the uiscontinuous'; an effect of uiscontinuity that uisiupts the cuiient
content with suuuen changes (a polaiity to 'singulai flow'). Beie the music iuptuies
this Bebussian watei haimony with moie of an emphasis on uistinct units of time
that is outsiue the piesent tempoial context. This still maintains a sense of flow
thiough layeiing of tempoial polaiities (Foi example, slow moving stasis aie placeu
ovei a successions of uistinct units). Anu lastly, 'flow of multiple polaiities' a piocess
towaius an expansive cultuial oneness thiough multiple tempoial stiuctuies placeu
togethei as seen in this uiagiam (Example S).
N&8:5-. 56 \G3458EJ640/858-:R 8. G3:87 6K P8.18.9 <-.:L6 K/6G ]RQQS 56 %#! H= 5L- ;I)D
0%"(8'7)%"?
Ny compositional jouiney, anu the ieflective ieseaich, leu me fiom a singulai flow
unueistanuing (of East-Asia anu Euiope) towaius a moie complex multi-flow
iealisation. }ung uiew fiom Baoism anu applieu watei associations to the fluiu
natuie of the collective unconscious. Like }ung's philosophical jouiney of mapping
univeisal aichetypes, my compositional jouiney has been about biinging togethei
musical cultuial foices. By opening up to these musical featuies, to become floating
musical anu cultuial objects, it has alloweu a way foi uiveise cultuial paiauigms to
sit togethei anu foim an expansive oneness. I chose to uiaw on influences that weie
within anu outsiue my Euiopean heiitage. This alloweu me to ieveal qualities about
myself that coulu be applieu to a bioauei cultuial consciousness. These qualities aie
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a sense of openness anu flexibilitythat aie inheient in the music, collaboiation
anu the tempoial pioceuuies pieviously mentioneu.

Liza Lim uiaws fiom a vaiiety of cultuies
19
that incluue: hei Chinese heiitage,
inuigenous Austialian ait anu Euiopean Westein ait music. She uesciibes that hei
unueistanuing of these cultuies also infoims hei woiluview that incoipoiates
"multivalent unueistanuings of tempoialities".
2u
Ny woik has been a complete
submeision into the woilu of the uiiectional anu the uiiectionless, the static anu the
infinite in a moment. It is about finuing a way of co-existence in all its
manifestationsanu a way to infoim a cultuial complexity to bioauen my own
woiluview.











19
Foi example see, IL8GG-/ (2uuS), +L- 26GJ0:: (2uu6) anu $.F8:8H8485= (2uu9)U
2u
Liza Lim, "Staging an Aesthetics of Piesence" }ouinal foi New Nusic anu Cultuie, 2uu9, p. 2.
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@*A*)*-+*$?
Chang, Chung-yuan, 2/-058F85= 0.1 +06:8GM " I531= 6K 2L8.-:- (L846:6JL=? "/5 0.1
(6-5/=, Lonuon anu Philauelphia, 2u11.
Chion, Nichel. 'Auuio-vision: Sounu on Scieen'. Columbia 0niveisity Piess: New
Yoik. 1994
Chion, Nichel. uuiue To Sounu 0bjects: Pieiie Schaeffei anu Nusical Reseaich, 198S,
2uu9
Chion, Nichel. 'Film, A Sounu Ait'. Columbia 0niveisity Piess: New Yoik, 2uu9.
Chou, Wen-chung. ,-./-. 0.1 23453/-, Niuuletown, Conn.: Wesleyan 0niveisity
Piess, 2uu4
Lim, Liza. Lectuie at IRCAN, on the 7
th
of }une 2uu2 as pait of the Agoia Festival,
http:www.elision.oig.auELISI0N_EnsembleLiza_Lim_Ecstatic_Aichitectu
ie.html (accesseu on 6u82u12)
Lim, Liza. "Staging an Aesthetics of Piesence" }ouinal foi New Nusic anu Cultuie,
2uu9
0ng, Chinaiy. "Singing Insiue "3/0," eus. Nichael Atheiton anu Biuce Ciossman,
;3:87 6K 5L- IJ8/85M ":80.E(078K87 ;3:8704 $1-.585=, Syuney: Austialian Nusic
Centie, 2uu8.
Westwoou, Natthew. "Tiusting the Nysteiious Piocess", +L- "3:5/0480., 12th
0ctobei 2uu6 - An aiticle about the Austialian composei Ross Euwaius.

B%.5$?
uance, Abel. #0J64-6., Films Abel uance anu Socit gniale ues films, 1927.
[40::M " (6/5/085 6K (L848J 8. +T-4F- (0/5:, uiiecteu by Scott Bicks. Inuepenuent
Neuia; Kino Films; Nanualay Notion Pictuies, 2uu7.
<6=00.8:>05:8? uiiecteu by uoufiey Reggio. IRE Piouuctions; Santa Fe Institute foi
Regional Euucation, 1982.
Reich, Steve & Koiot, BeiylU +L- 20F-? Wainei Nusic }apan Inc. 199S. Steve Reich &
Beiyl Koiot, +L/-- +04-:? Boosey & Bawkes? 2uuS.