"Music is everything that sounds inside"

Author of idea – Olga Bochichina
Curators: Irina Sevastyanova, Tatiana Yakovleva

The International Laboratory-Festival of New Music
"Gnesin Contemporary Music Week – 2020"

14.10.2020 – 16.10.2020

We defined the genre of this performance as ID because we wanted to identify the events that occur during the process of perceiving sounds and invite listeners to identify themselves through this perception.
INOUT reflects the structure of site-specific performance: entrance, exit and trajectories between and within the spaces. The participants and guests could observe their feelings, study the boundaries of the internal and the external, analyze the surrounding sound events and establish what they find interesting.

What is this performance about?

The idea for the performance came as a complementary reply to Elena Dubinetz' book title, dedicated to the American composers of Cage's generation «Music is everything that sounds around». So, the name emerged from the opposite – "Music is everything that sounds inside". According to Cage, music doesn't exist before it becomes audible: "we do not hear anything until it comes to sound". It means that we have to learn to listen outside; it is interesting to paradoxically connect these two contradicting lines from Cage's point of view: music as an audible phenomenon (something surrounding you) and music as a heard sound which becomes the part of inaudible phenomena (something existing only in the mind and feelings of a person). I was curious as to how to realize and reproduce this process both as a practice of "being inside" and as a practice of retranslation or feedback: to make audible something you are listening to inside.

What does "being inside"
stand for?

To be inside means to be and exist inside a room, inside an instrument, inside one's own head, inside one's own sounding world, one's own sounding body, in the imaginary sound universe of already written music, inside a perceived soundscape. This is a process of self observation; it is a poetical view on what sounds inside oneself /a room / an instrument when a work stops being a thing, but becomes a process which translates itself by accessible ways.

By which means?
In some parts performers were asked to explore the sound world both from the inside and from the outside, through self-identification, by tactile and audio means. For example, performers chose their own routes for walking, which they followed to the Dark Room and during which they actively engaged in listening to the soundscape.
At the same time it's a process of observing how the same idea can manifest itself in different representations – in three different rooms with different strategies and relations.
INOUT is a formula.
Three rooms, three actions:
How does the artistic practice depend on what it will translate itself through? A "thing" becoming a process or a process becoming a "thing"? How long can one live inside one's head? What is retranslation?
In/ Out is also a question of self-simultaneity.
"Remembering or thinking about a thing as a thing, we are able to listen to it" (M.Heidegger, "A Thing").

  • A thin veneer of immediate reality is spread over natural and artificial matter, and whoever wishes to remain in the now, with the now, on the now, should please not break its tension film.

    (Vladimir Nabokov, «Transparent things»)

  • Since no watchman is visible, I walk around the house, trying to glance through the windows: what's inside?

    (Juan Ramón Jiménez, «Walt Whitman»)
  • The window carved in our flesh opens onto our heart…
    Open wide that door, and tell yourself that now it's a completely dark, that day has died for the last time».

    ( André Breton, Philippe Soupault «Magnetic fields»)

A Dark Room is a place where person can "develop" himself, like in the photographic process. One can be compared with the sheet of white paper on which shadows or images suddenly start to appear. Or maybe they are not there. You are both a chemical mixture and a development at the same time. Such alchemy is possible here.

Tatiana Yakovleva, curator: In-Out Performance, for me, is a labyrinth with three entrances and three exits divided by a space of darkness and questions. Let's take A Dark Room. Is it you who are in the room, or is the room in you? I was face to face with my own inner voice chatting so persistently and for a long time, chatting and chatting with me. It also turned out that one can reveal a mass of outside world sounds, transformed into a finely chopped DJ set while staying in the dark space during the process of listening to yourself.

Ulyana Lovchikova, participant of the performance: At the day of performance, I was full of thoughts like "oh, now I will hear everything", "wait, I will make such a great route". And indeed, while walking from the Patriarch Ponds, I heard all sorts of sounds – a saxophone, some ducks, the sounds of a building site. It was as if everyone knew what route I was on and tried to help me with all kinds of sounds. But as soon as we sat in the room, headphones in our ears, I realized that time runs differently here: actually, it was an internal time. It was as if a black hole opened.

Irina Sevastyanova, curator, route guide
. There was something like the sounds of a person screaming or talking in his/her sleep. And these sounds provoked a fear inside me as it belongs to the sphere of unconsciousness, as if you are opening the forbidden door at Bluebeard's Castle. To my mind, the performers were very brave to let other people enter into their personal field.
Vladimir Zhalnin, reporter: «You enter the dark room and hear the individual sounds. Some of them are sharp and strident, others are soft and pleasant. You can move around the room: come closer to the sound sources, or vice versa – move away to let sounds to be mixed and fill your head. Try to keep everything you hear".

Dmitry Efremov, performer: A walk is the starting point of the performance. You are trying to keep in your mind everything you hear on the way, making accents, writing down this background into your memory. But when you are in a dark room, you need to distance from the audience and the other performers as much as possible, you need to distance from surrounding sounds – many performers used earplugs for it. I tried to concentrate on myself and to overcome everything I heard on my way to Gnesinka. Being in the dark room is both a recollection through the memory reduction and a search of something that is hidden deep down in yourself. Most of the time I stared into emptiness and tried to reproduce it with the sound. For me, there were no specific sounds in the physical sense – it was more like trying to document the visual images.

Nelya Nasibulina, participant of the performance:
It is said that someone else's soul is darkness. How about your own? How often do we look into the very depths of the soul, staring at unwanted memories? And how do we sound at this moment?
INOUT gave me an opportunity to get to know myself better. I experienced something that reminded me of childhood – that childish babble when you do not care about what others will think about you. This was such a natural flow of sounds beyond my control – sounds themselves came from me, I didn't have to invent them. It was like a return to my origins and to the true "me".

Xingyu Long, composer: When I was sitting in the dark room and doing deep self-exploration (thinking, making sound), I was "In". At this time, we are inside of our own perception, and we perceive the world by perception. Until we produce the sound, or, in other words, make the sound an "entity" in a certain sense – at this time, we are outside of the perception, we are "Out", because we are "visualizing" the world, this is a process from silent to sound. When the dark room becomes a Whole, it's "In" for the outside world, and it can even be described as the perception of the room. And when the door is opened, "Out" and "In" are once again connected together, like a Russian doll constructing this world.


Vladimir Zhalnin:
You enter the room with five boxes. Their contents are hidden from your view, but there is a hole in each of the boxes. You need to come up and put your hand in there. What's inside? Can its content be mixed? This questions the limits and boundaries of your personality. Sound is everything that sounds inside.

Tatiana Yakovleva: The room with boxes challenges you with the mystery of the unknown. Two of the five boxes played mysterious games with me: it so happened that it was the first and the last, that is the boxes at the entrance and exit of the room. The first box turned out to be nearly empty, but with a small ball inside. I immediately grabbed it, but soon after I made it sound it seemed to disappear. I began to rummage around in all corners and for a moment I was really scared – couldn't it really be lost? When I found it out in the very center of the box, I calmed down. You may feel something similar when you are trying out the stone under your feet while climbing a steep slope. The last box gave me a new surprise: for some reason I totally forgot about what is inside the last box (I knew all the materials and should have remembered it), but at the key moment my memory turned off at the face of uncertainty. Bravely lowering my hand, I literally jumped – there was water! Whether because you don't expect to feel water in a cardboard box, or whether it's because the texture was radically different – it's hard to say, but its perceptual effect was the most unexpected.


Vladimir Zhalnin:
You enter the sound engineering studio and see the people beyond the glass, who are examining the boxes, putting their hands inside. Each box has a contact microphone, and one can hear the amplified sounding of each one. One can work with the sound result of all five boxes interactively: remove the frequencies, control the volume and reverberation of the each track separately.

Denis Dobrovolsky, viewer:
I wanted to discuss the feelings I experienced after the performance, but I ran into a problem: I was lost for words. To be more precise: I had thoughts without suitable words. This moment seemed to be interesting for me: there was something difficult to verbalize, which means something valuable and worth paying attention to. After some time, I came to the conclusion that, for me, an ID-performance is a journey from participant to an actor. At first I was an object with which something happens, then an object doing something on its own and finally, I was myself. I simultaneously watched two roles and experimented with consciousness.

This room is different from the one you are in now…

Enter the room and take a seat next to any of the performers. Now you are inside the surface, on the surface. This surface is both a physical location in the space and musical, equal to the score as a map. There are five stable voice and some wandering voices on this map. Ones can draw their own «line of escape», one's own route of perception and listening – to draw as if your perception is a fly running along the edge.

Tatiana Yakovleva: After all these searches it occurred to be incredibly comfortable to come to the twilight room with the musicians. All these obstacles and questions remained somewhere in the past and you found yourself at the place full of release, timelessness and an easy whirling of sounds, hypnotically calming you after the travel.
For me, this performance is a part of an open behaviour strategy in the process of «touching the theme». The next step in this process will be a composition for piano and electronics, the world premiere of which will take place in 2021 as a part of the international project Performing Precarity in collaboration with Ellen Ugelvik (piano, Norway).

This work will keep the initial idea as well as the question of identification (aural and visual): we are used to recognize our representation in the world with our own body as a sign. Does it mean that we exist only at the moment of our presence? And where are we located at the moment when we are "absent" as a sign? Are we always there where we are presented as a "sign"?

Instrumental compositions / Projects
Multimedia project for ensemble, electronics and video
For Violin and Piano
For Double Bass, Silent Piano, Tape
and Soprano and Tenor ad libitum

Cycle of pieces for different instruments
For Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trombone, Percussion, Harp, Piano and Assistant

For Bass Clarinet, Trombone, Piano, Harp, Synthesizer, Percussion and Strings

For Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Piano, Percussion,
2 Violins, Viola and Cello
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