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Aisthànomai, The tragedy of Consciousness.

 
 
 

Linea teorica

Theoretical line text

 

(written in february 2007, from the booklet)

 

Final audit of the translation by Sean Burke

[the bibliographical notes are referred to italian texts or italian versions]

 

 

 

 

 

Aisthànomai is the Greek term that means "to perceive, to understand". It is part of the etymology of the word "Aesthetic",  indicative of the branch of philosophy applied to art.

So, Aisthànomai, perception and understanding: sensation and cognition: art [1].

This can be expressed through the formula:

perception is to sensation as knowledge is to art.

The word “tragedy” (in italian "dramma", deriving by greek etymology drâma –atos: action) has more than one meaning:

   a.   Sad and painful occurrence or situation (the expression is well-known in a theatrical contest).

   b.   How an action unfolds - the etymological meaning.

So more precisely, "tragedy" means the sum total of tragic occurrences that follow from an action, in real life as in the theatre. 

In consideration of the above mentioned meaning of Aisthànomai, the tragic action to which we refer is that of man in relation to consciousness, of which he has a consciousness figured by the everyday, a false consciousness: the tragedy of consciousness, the theatre of human happenings [2].

 

I.

What I have produced so far can be seen in Diffrazioni Sonore, not just as a recording session, but also as a cd emblematic of the work I've done in creation and elaboration (post-production), of the way I work, of the meanings that the theory and practice of concepts like "system", "structure", "composition" and "art" have for me. It's clear that subjects of such fecundity can hardly be exhausted in one single project, one single recording session, one single session of digital mastering, or even a whole week of sessions. We are concerned, rather, with subjects that find themselves at the foundation of a life or a work, subjects to which many notable historical figures have made their contributions, subjects for whose in-depth analysis ten lifetimes in this world would barely suffice. So these are terms that recur in all of what I create, as they do in every creation, in their search for a form in which to settle and take root. For Diffrazioni, I spoke about "construction", "sensation", their being together [3], a subject far from exhausted.

In as far as improvisation is an empirical experience [4], as it ought always to be understood (I think Diffrazioni fairly shouts this), there follow other concepts and experiences; these are also to be found "in my working in an art that concerns not a record, but a life".

I wanted to put my voice beyond every known and unknown, musical and non-musical or system, in Diffrazioni Sonore. By doing so, I wanted to put art in a similar condition. What follows is this record.

There are two things here that stand out to the ear, to our senses and to the whole of perception: electronics and words. "Other" elements with regard to the solo voice, which in the past I wanted to free as much from music as from intelligibility. Am I a prawn? Am I going backwards? Where exactly are we to put the references to Stratos, Artaud and, more recently, Monk? [5]

There is another point to be made.

Without Diffrazioni Sonore, I couldn't apply today to my vocal creations, in the way I do, the digital elaborations of non-vocal sounds (or rather the use of electronics), or the text (mine, as it happens, and of a poetic nature [6]).

Let me explain.

I still break up, working on a clear rift, in one sense or another, as much in the field of electronics as in that of a text, musical or poetic: totally in line with the way I use my voice.

But I'm only able to do this after freeing the vocal (a synonym for ability to act [7]): freeing, in my work, the conceptions of music and of text applied to music.

As for my texts, it must be remembered that their nature, in the same nature as all my work (variously textual, vocal, musical, theatrical) does not want to be compartmentalised or linear, but rather net-like [8].

In this sense we see the return of the subject of diffraction: the post-structuralist idea of the "open-text", where, in Diffrazioni, I pointed to the philosophy of Deleuze [9]. Post-structuralism deals with French culture through the thought of a few key personalities; thought that has its origin in the central idea of productive human force as such. What I call acting, working in the sterile sores of a common language where concepts such as "centre", "structure", "field" hold sway; in favour of a "non-common" activism that tends instead to "decentering", "proliferation", "displacing".

Language and textuality have to undergo a reversal.

In this sense, the basis of what I put in motion is to be found in Derrida [10]: from this starting point, the text is not a definite system but an "open circularity continually redefinable and irreducible to a unity" [11]. It is a chain of postponements that presents itself through difference: denying any all-understanding rationality. [12]

Aisthànomai involves sound-diffraction and introduces textual diffraction (wherever the text, as it is commonly understood, is emblematic of an omniscience that I want to undermine.) [13]

To conclude on textuality, I quote Barthes:

«It's necessary to free the reader (and the listener) from his condition of minority, a condition brought about by a kind of rigid textuality that excludes the user from "the pleasure of the text" and condemns him with respect to a universe of predetermined meaning.» [14]

On consciousness, of which I announce the tragedy, I quote from my notes on the voice:

Consciousness: from the Latin "to be aware": in the sense of self-awareness and awareness of the external world in as far as both are psychic functions in which every conscious experience of the subject is summed up. Therefore: to be aware or rather to act and to know with regards to oneself and the world.

So etymologically, the word "consciousness" does not consist in, as in its common meaning, of an indiscriminate conformism (free of dialectic) to the prevailing value-system: this system does not coincide in itself with the realization of empirical and psychic consciousness, it does not unfold and declare it; it coincides rather with an indiscriminate a priori acceptance of age-old social mechanisms, even where these happen to be rotten. The awareness of a moral edifice that tends to undo itself (the values of western society) and to which it objects in order to stand against and refuse: consciousness.

It follows that: in the average consumer culture as it is, there is no working out of a purely ethical question: a pure moral process turned towards the consciousness of the possibility of relationships that man establishes with himself and with what lies outside himself [15]. On the contrary, as far as we can see, there is a sterile legality that fills moral discourse with artificial movement and acceptance of the already-given; and there is, complementarily, the work of psychologists and psychiatrists [16]. 

 

II.

 Voice-matter-nature. Electronics-sound-technique. Language-text-concept  [17].

Here are the three territories where Aisthànomai (a term emblematic of perception and knowledge) unfolds and is realised and on which and in which my law of cognitive non-conditioning is placed and situated: as an expressive goal deliberately pursued.

Music? A code. We are not interested here in how it has been named, variously altered, in the historical consideration of morphological logic, unless in relation to the signifying value of each sound or to the relation between sounds, in the voice as in music.

When we speak about signs, in aesthetics and semantics, in the light of historical consciousness, the categories of popular music are obviously laughable; in particular, the classification of genre appears to be a superfluous question (useful only for the purposes of filing and to give an idea of history to the uninformed) which one can face in order to arrive at genuine cognitive goals without differentiating between sub-codes and sub categories.

"Philosophical indifferentiation of grammars" [18].

I draw the meaning that is closest to me from the interpretation of this definition:

Indifferentiation of linguistic codes of a philosophical nature.

Indifferentiation of linguistic codes starting from ?cognitive? research.

Non-individuability of codes (linguistic grammar is the system, emblem of every system) within cognitive research.

I don't exclude a priori the prevailing codes, the categories, from my research into consciousness, of which my music is a part.

But by exploding the correspondence between characteristic and category, and so also the non-individuability which is followed by indifferentiation (in the Deleuzian sense as well as the Pasolinian), what comes out, in the research itself, is the sores and the differences; they gush from the emptiness of meaning that the categories as they are related to themselves, in the light of historical consciousness, determine.

The ciphers of the dominant language are counted with regards to credits. In this, the dominant language is sterile. To escape the moral and intellectual mortality that comes of this, we must work in the sores of language.

Within the morphological vocal discourse the prevailing codes are all the way of using the voice, from speech to the singing styles that belong to every academy (conservative or modern), from which we derive a conception of the voice that corresponds to the sophisms in this area, such as: music, theatre, speaking etcetera. A compartmentalised and closed conception: in which there is no consciousness of multiplicity or the web, and consequently not of the meaning of exploration and consciousness.

 

III.

   We have never wallowed in the false waters of anti-conformism as we have in this age. Where modernity is an object of research and, talking about the post-modern and the contemporary, The Refusal [19] has become a merely aesthetic question. 

And I who still believe that to refuse is an act! And that an act is a concrete action that imposes as it is posed and that creates a rift. To refuse: all that is not necessary. Or rather everything that looks more like a gob of spit than a lake.

 

 


[1]

A colon following a colon is not a syntactical error, but generally such a construction is not used because it is held to be unharmonious. Similarly, a blue note is a "mistake" within the classical tradition of Western music. [Blue notes: in blues and jazz, the notes corresponding to the III, V and VII steps of the diatonic scale; played or sung bent slightly down, lowered by less than a semitone. The meaning of the English adjective is connected to the association between the colour blue and a feeling of nostalgia and sadness typical of Afro-American music, as it is heard by European listener used to the major-minor dichotomy.] From a purely linguistic point of view, Pier Paolo Pasolini has given us substantial "poetic licences" based on a theory of the utmost integrity. (Cfr. P.P. Pasolini, Empirismo Eretico, Milano, Garzanti, 1972.)

[2]

The lack of awareness of what Consciousness and Art are is tied to the lack of awareness, which holds sway in the classic and classicist systemisation of thought, of the presuppositions and the substance of intersubjective aesthetic communication (Cfr. note 9, 13).

[3]

Cfr. R. Daniele, Diffrazioni Sonore, Preliminare Natura Mentale (inside cover), compact-disc, Milano, Autoproduzione, 2005.

[4]

Empirical experience, or rather pure and direct; antecedent to whichever compositional system or logical structure.  This is worth clarifying since improvisation might also be considered "non-empirical", where one improvises within a predefined compositional structure, for example within certain bars of a track, a section of which is given over to improvisation ( an approach typical of jazz) ; or when the tempo and tonality of the improvisational event are pre-established, or more generally, in improvisation, one keeps firmly in mind typical morphologic/musical layouts, of which the experience of improvisation appears as a compositional variant and not a real event, as far as the real event is a completely unexpected happening. Improvisation, from the Latin improvi_su(m), not predicted.

[5]

For a theoretical introduction to the work of Demetrio Stratos: J. El Haouli, Demetrio Stratos, alla ricerca della voce-musica, Milano, Auditorium, 1999; for the work of Artaud, the bibliography is vast, I suggest: D. Jacques, "Antonin Artaud. Disegni e ritratti" Abscondita, 2004 - D. Jacques "Antonin Artaud. Forsennare il soggettile" sE, 2005; for the current work of Monk: www.meredithmonk.org.

[6]

The difference between "text for a piece of music" and "poetry" is as follows: in the first case, the text depends on the piece of music, in the sense that it is not independent; in the second, viceversa, there is no relationship of dependence with musicality ( in as far as musicality belongs naturally to poetry) but rather one of dialectic and expressive compenetration, with reference to the content and discursive cross-referencing; supposing that the text carries out its function poetically, or rather that it is issued in an emblematically independent territory: the "poetic word" is the language of «otherness, difference, solitude, inability to be rooted in things» (A. Trione, L'ordine necessario, Recco, Il nuovo Melangolo, 2001, p. 32).

[7]

"The voice is conditioned, right from the birth of every man, by a kind of culturally imposed check tied to its being used intelligibly, by the circularity of repetition of the same product to which the filed and modelled subject belongs". At the foundation of indexing, classification and categorisation there is meaning and the application of rules. The rule, as far as it is a formula that prescribes what one is to do in a particular case or in a particular cultural activity, is connected to the most ancient meaning of constant order that is found in the unfolding of a certain series of facts. Order is: the positioning of all things in their appropriate place according to a determinate criteria. So the regular corresponds to the individuable according to a criterion; thus order, since it is established a priori so that this or that might work. The sterility of the voice, of human action and of consciousness are to be traced back to the cultural indexing and intellectual entrapment which dominates society. (Cfr. J. El Haouli, Demetrio Stratos, cit.) To have the voice act means to give it more importance than reason, than the desire to use it one way rather than another, than the desire to shape it, to tame it. What's more, I should make clear that: the most experimental voices today are still those which function as an instrument; but there is nothing experimental or avant-garde in this. There is still the sweat of doctrine about this, a service that surrenders “to a harmonious, and in no way anarchic, aesthetic.

[8]

The "net-like" substance of contemporary culture is based on the conception of the work of art as far as it is Text, paying particular attention to the connections and relations to do with textuality, the roles and positions of author and consumer. In this is realised "the last development of classical structuralism." (F. D'Agostini, Analitici e Continentali. Guida alla filosofia degli ultimi trent'anni, Milano, Raffaello Cortina Editore, 1997, p. 405) "This theoretical and methodological direction is traced back, with its subsequent spreading out, to the work of the Swiss linguist Ferdinand De Saussure, who considers language as  a structured whole made up of interacting and interdependent elements; later the definition was adopted to indicate the line of thought that extended the principle of linguistic structuralism into the human sciences, in which cultural phenomena are seen as organic wholes whose components are governed by constant and systematic relations: anthropology (with Levi-Strauss), literary criticism (with Roland Barthes), psychoanalysis (with Jacques Lacan), Marxist exegesis (with Louis Althusser), the philosophy of culture (with Michel Foucault) and neo-linguistics (with Ronald Jakobson)." [M.Pesare, Eziologia e genealogia del postmodernismo filosofico, 3. Il Post-strutturalismo e il Decostruzionismo, in Mondodomani, Rivista telematica di filosofia, http://mondodomani.org - Cfr. G. Fornero and F. Restaino, N. Abbagnano, Storia della filosofia (volume decimo), la filosofia contemporanea, tomo primo, pp 314 - 483.]  The work is no longer understood centristically, made to revolve around a narrative content (or a linear melody, in the case of music), but is to be understood multiplistically, related to the formal multiplicity that can constitute the Text in relationship with other Historical Texts, with reference to various stylistic ages. The principle of analytical "deconstruction" comes from the recognition of  "structural multiplicity" part of and cutting through language. (Cfr. G. Deleuze, Différence et Répétition, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1968; Tr. It: Differenza e ripetizione, Milano, Raffaello Cortina, 1997).

[9]

R. Daniele, Diffrazioni Sonore, Preliminare Natura Mentale, cit.

[10]

Cfr. J. Derrida, L'écriture e la différence, Le Seuil, Paris 1967, [tr. it.: di G.Pozzi, La scrittura e la differenza, Einaudi, Torino, 1971]; G. Deleuze, Logique du sens, Minuit, Paris 1969 [tr. it.: Logica del senso, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1975]; G. Deleuze, Différence et répétition, cit.

[11]

M. Pesare, Eziologia e genealogia del postmodernismo filosofico, cit.

[12]

The Textual value is the value of "linguistic research" rightly said, which since the second half of the 1800s has held sway over the merely representative meanings in the work of art. In fact, this allows us to distinguish aesthetically modern art from that which is only "chronologically" contemporary (Cfr. C. Baudelaire, Saggi sull'arte, Milano, Mondadori, 1999). What's more, the concept of Textuality is joined to that of "intersubjective aesthetic communication": aesthetic communication is the discourse between subject (author) and subject (consumer) which takes place through the work as Text, or rather a unity of statements, not necessarily coherent, with the intent to communicate. This holds given that: language is not a natural and transparent means through which the receiving subject gathers a "truth", a solid and unified "reality"; if it were otherwise the recipient would not be a "subject in the process": he who carries out an act, the end of the communicative process. (Cfr. R. Barthes, Le plaisir du texte, Paris, Seuil, 1972; tr. It: Il piacere del testo, Torino, Einaudi, 1973).

[13]

Today the meaning of technology is strongly tied to that of technique, from which the word derives. In the beginning, technology certainly was not computerised; tecnologia: tecno e logia, based on the Greek technologhìa 'treatise of an art'. To enter more deeply and grasp completely the meaning of the scientific elements of information and electronic processing, we must break free from the mundane and superficial conception according to which everything is given; and turn to the historical premises of the phenomenon of technology itself. It is in this sense that the concepts of technique and technology are twins. In common language technique, since it is tied to the deliberate non-understanding of and unwillingness to analyse technology, it appears, in all cultural fields, as a code to be answered to, a false necessity, a duty: obligation to which is necessary to satisfy a standard. Formal obedience and the interiorisation of duty are, in fact, typical aspects of submission to a code. All the same, it must be said that: only by working, only from the action in course, does technique emerge, which derives from the Greek term "techne" and from the later Latin word "ars", which means "technique", something that is concerned primarily with artisanship, working with the hands, therefore with a kind of "know-how", a being able to do. In this sense, technique "saves us from constriction", from the conditions that would fold our mind and our potential as agents into the facelessness of a general intellectual flattening. What one wants to hear but does not know how to bring about exists only because of indoctrination. Viceversa, production, the bringing into presence of something that was not there before, working, creating,  summoning up, demands disdain in the face of the onrush of provocation from an imposition disguised as technique. To conclude: "Technique is conscious, voluntary, changeable, personal and creative. It can be learned and improved. Man has become the creator of his life-tactics. This constitutes his greatness and his ill-luck. We call civilisation the internal shape of this creative life, we create a civilisation and we suffer a civilisation." (O. Spengler, L'uomo e la tecnica, Parma, 1932, p. 47; in A. Trione, L'ordine necessario, cit., pp. 32-33).

[14]

R. Barthes, S/Z, Seul, Paris, 1964 [tr. it.: S/Z, Torino, Einaudi, 1970].

[15]

Cfr. R. Daniele, Aisthànomai, il dramma della Coscienza, 15. All’esterno di Me, compact-disc, Milano, 2007.

[16]

Cfr. Ivi, 16. Vero (remake I).

[17]

We have spoken about electronics and the voice. To be precise about "voice-matter-nature". The doctrine of singing, being based on the counterfeit of a real concept: or rather that the voice is a genuine gift of nature, the voice is falsely natural: it is held up by a misleading rule, technique and aesthetic. This deviant concept is just an example of a constant deviation, present in all fields, that comes from a non-functioning and unconstructive economy of thought but leads to mental and practical imprisonment. The voice is certainly natural in the same way that the human organism is. What is not certain is that some have potentially greater gifts than others. What is called a gift is in fact a clear tendency towards what is called beauty and pleasure in the everyday sense. But the voice's being natural is something else entirely: first of all it is not based on the beautiful and pleasurable, which are moral questions of taste, but rather on its origin and materiality, the possibilities and the potential of and for its presence and existence. The misleading concept of the beautiful is tied to the rules of human production and not that of nature, whose substance adopts extreme disguises in all its "unpleasant" aspects (reflection on which would in fact undermine the superficial course of an average life).

[18]

Cfr. P. P. Pasolini, Empirismo Eretico, cit., pp. 9-28.

[19]

«In the phenomenology of refusals one finds the quality and the peculiarity of poetic doing» (A. Trione, L'ordine necessario, cit., pp. 117-118): "The will to refuse that which does not obey laws that are imposed on us (revealing the awareness of artistic work), ends up exerting such a constriction on the person that the work reviewed and corrected several times and realised without paying any attention to the labour and the time taken are rarer and rarer, and that regardless of the density he has acquired, the 'difficult' author is accused of sterility." (P. Valéry, Oeuvres I, p. 655; also in: A. Trione, L'ordine necessario, cit., p. 118; my italics). In this sense my musical and vocal work is based absolutely on my refusal in the face of the non-comprehension of those who despise it, ignorant of the cultural premises at the basis of that same work.

 

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