„Will the ability to evoke images in the absence of objects continue to develop in an environment where humanity is continuously subjected to a flood of prefabricated images?”
In 1984, the Italian writer Italo Calvino conceptualized the collection of essays “Six Memos for the Next Millenium”. In the five essays he completed, notions of Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility and Multiplicity are shaped into a poetics that, ideally, should be transferable to all art forms and, moreover, applicable to society and politics.
Lightness, for example, is interpreted by Calvino as a reaction to the burdens of life. Here, the author actually refers to a kind of narrative that is supposed to strip all heaviness off things. According to Calvino, Quickness equals ‘mental speed’, but it also describes the “most intense form of condensation of poetry and thought”. Exactitude is seen as an instrument that is employed against the “plague [that is] afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous and abstract formulas (…).”
Calvinos proposals for a new literary language are the basis of grace note. In this production, visual artist Günter Brus delivers a literary sketch for the unfinished sixth part of Calvino’s collection of essays. In terms of performance as well as music, the piece follows a line which is based on fractures and deviations, and strives to create new forms and meanings. grace note is built upon a ‘sonic script’. Everything that happens on stage is envisaged as ‘acoustic story’. The ensemble PHACE and dancers from the company Liquid Loft create and interpret music, which is continuously moving. At times, the soundscape gives the impression of being ‘harmonic rain’, which intermittently falls on the bodies on stage. Musical and visual scenarios are being created, in which the movement of a body may interfere with the rhythm of the music, and even change it. At other times, something as simple as a brushstroke can determine a series of entirely new events.
grace note is an interdisciplinary project, which was developed as a co-production with Tanzquartier Wien and Wien Modern, as well as in collaboration with ICST Zürich and Liquid Loft. Performance and installation, as well as acoustics and electronics, form a dynamic structure by means of interaction between sound and movement. To composer Arturo Fuentes, the human body when expressed through dance and theatre becomes a sonic map on which different rhythms and tempos follow their paths. Based loosely on Günter Brus’s ideas, he defines the visual and scenic context of his works as “deaf-music”, “unaccented silence”, “dark-room-music” or “eye-music”.