forms of forgetting
from the label press release:
Forms of Forgetting is a studio construction investigating memory/forgetting and attention/inattention as catalysts for formal development in long-duration sound work. An extension of Seth Cluett’s gallery-based practice and created out of a sequence of materials developed for performance, the piece is the culmination of two years of in-situ live experimentation. Part site-specific performance, part modular, mobile form, this work employs techniques that aim to explore the fallibility of sound memory as a component of saturated, immersive listening over substantial elapsed time.
“It is then no longer oblivion that materiality begets, forgetting by the effacement of traces, but forgetting in terms of a reserve or a resource. Forgetting then designates the unperceived character of the perseverance of memories, their removal from the vigilance of consciousness.”
— Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting
in memory of Lee Hyla (1952-2014)
thanks: Susanna Bolle, Michael Bullock, Kyle Bruckmann, Richard Garet, Jennifer Eberhardt, Lawrence Kumpf, Paul Lansky, Justin Luke, Phill Niblock
A slowly progressing, hour-long drone concerned with memory and attention. It fades in very slowly, with sharp, vibrating sine waves getting bigger and louder and slowly drifting from one frequency to another. I listened to this while falling asleep, and it ended up creating a sort of hallucinatory neon light show in my mind, as the sounds here bend in strange ways and take on different shapes and dimensions. There’s never too much going on at any given time, but what is happening is more than enough to focus your attention on, or trick your mind into seeing strange things when you’re being inattentive.
Would Forms Of Forgetting sound the same if I could, at any time, vividly recall its opening moments? Perhaps the act of forgetting is not an inadequacy of cognition, but a perceptual device; a subconscious mixing desk across time rather than audio space, nudging out those elements whose familiarity can afford them to depart my consciousness. As I write, I am 19:42 into this piece and I feel airborne. I am not beholden to the past for a point of reference – I feel as though Cluett uses the act of forgetting to situate the present in its own independent bubble. I sit amidst a momentary congealment of frequencies that hover and tilt toward and away, meeting eachother for the first time as if merely passing by, oblivious to mutual agenda.
At points, it feels like a precarious sculpture that shouldn’t be standing – a tonal yoga that puts temporary pressure upon a particular clump of frequency, before rolling the centre of gravity, ever so gently, to the other side of the space. Meanwhile, the past snakes out into a mist behind me. Where was I heading to end up here? Previous reference points cyclically deteriorate and regenerate upon the perimeter of recent memory, as an arrangement of low/mid frequency feedback pillows begin to levitate and move toward the ceiling, winched up until they hang like the hum of a computer server room, safe and stable for how they linger. Time moves slowly. But then again, the moment I forget the piece’s original point of origin, duration becomes a mutative becoming rather than a block that is built upon. Allegedly I’ve been listening for 42:08 by this point, but what does this actually signify if I can’t tell you what 00:00 sounded like?