Content of Reading: Apophatic Composition – Sound Art – TempTrack Art – Bio – PhD
Apophatic Spectralism and Absolute Continuity
My music suggests a complete break with the past and at the same time a most deeply connection with it: break in terms of classical structural procedures, connection in terms of traditional sacred concepts related to structural procedures. Another important factor is that this procedures are applied in practice through structural modelling based on the perception of acoustic phenomena (phycoacoustics). The most extreme example of this attitude is the Absolute Continuity Technique/Attitude which I have developed during my PhD.
More specifically, my music is the product of an attempt to see Contemporary Composition under the prism of Mystical Theology (Orthodox Christianity). Certain concepts of the mystic thought, such as, eschatological becoming, apophaticism and perichoresis (St Maximus the Confessor) are keys to this process. These concepts are not abstract ideas of some sort of poetic value; on the contrary, they are conceptual preoccupations related to human experience and they are related to the aesthetic concerns of my compositions. Eschatological Becoming finds its structural application to my pieces ‘Cardiogram’ and ‘Absolute Continuity’ where the sound is absolute continuous, something that destroys any idea of orchestration and counterpoint in the most rigid way (far more than Ligeti’s pieces) and along with extended techniques creates a timbral style with a strong sense of meditative power that I call Apophatic Spectralism (with a certain reference to Romanian Spectral School) or even more general, Apophatic Composition.
Apophatic Composition, with all its aspects, focuses on listening/hearing as experience, which according to my interpretation, requires an apophatic attitude from the listener, an apophatic perception of acoustic phenomena. For this, I use the modelling of acoustic phenomena (phycoacoustics) for the creation of structural events which help/lead the listener to a certain meditative experience. As an example can be seen the last minute of my String Quartet ‘Cardiogram’, where a very long Glissando which fades out for more than a minute is followed by Silence. This structuring, along with the long duration of this simple dynamic motion, forces the Nous to focus so much, that when the silence comes the Nous is still trying to ‘cutch’/listen the sound, forgetting/negating all the sounds of the environment. This is Not Cage’s Silence. Its literally Silence. From this perspective, my acoustic music can (loosely) be considered as a sort of ‘Instrumental Sound Art’.
My work in Sound Art, among others, focuses in creating artistic interventions in certain Sites or Spaces and objects, that is, Installations which can involve a visual/spatial aspect (objects, buildings, etc) and sound. This aims in creating a certain experiential space, a topos, that is, aiming in an ‘experiential perception’ (Frampton 1974). The sound usually has the form of a soundscape composition. These soundscapes are echoing either the sound memories of the construction or the memories of functionality of the building (ontology of arts), space, etc (see Installations category on my site, ‘Sound School’, Notes on the work, ‘Sound and Memory’ Site specific art for the Tower of Giannitsa). An artwork that doesn’t relate to this contextual aspect (genius loci) might loose focus and be an ‘outsider’ to its context it belongs.
In general, I see the relation of sound and opposite mediums (painting and sound, architecture and sound, sculpture and sound) through an ontological perspective (ontology of the arts, ‘λόγοι των όντων’) which led me in several projects, focusing on this idea only. Excellent examples of this are the artworks ‘Co-functionality’ (painting and sound) and ‘Co-functionality#2’ (certain space on a building and sound). (for more details on these ideas, See Installations category on my site, Notes on the works)
Another aspect of my work is creating artworks contributing in experiential education. Some examples of this approach is my works Sound School, Sound Class, Untitled#20 and Untitled#10 (for theoretical and practical details, see Installations category on my Site, Notes on the works)
This is another concept of mine used lately in my Sound Art works, influenced by cinema’s Temp Track. This style, rather a technique embedded in my Sound Art pieces, works with sound segments from my own compositions/soundscapes that function as ‘readymades’ sound objects (a sound application of Duchamp’s concept of readymades). These segments are composed by myself and they are ‘travelling’ from artwork to artwork, that is, placed in different contexts each time, where they redefine their identity in relation to our memory. Examples of this kind of use can be found in works such as Aeses (Sound Installation for the Dion Museum based on the instrument Hydravlis presented at the Moisa Meeting 2019 in Thessaloniki), Soundscape Tehom, SoundClass, Apophatic Spectralism for 12 flutes.
Born in Katerini in 1975, Dimitris Bakas studied composition with Theodore Antoniou. In 2004 he moved to London for further studies in composition at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he was awarded an MMus and completed successfully his PhD, under the supervision of Roger Redgate. His music has been performed in the UK, Greece and USA and has successfully participated in competitions and in residencies worldwide. In 2009 he was a shortlist composer at Sound and Music. For the academic year 2010 -- 2011 Bakas was a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York (accepted by Tristan Murail) where he completed a Post Doctoral Research.
He is also active as a Sound Artist working mainly with Museums.
He is a member of the Greek Composers Union (ΕΕΜ), the Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Assosiation (HΕLMCA), the Contemporary Music Research Centre (KSYME), the Hellenic Society for Acoustic Ecology (HSAE) and the temp’Ora Project.
Ο Δηµήτρης Μπάκας γεννήθηκε στην Κατερίνη το 1975. Σπούδασε σύνθεση µε δάσκαλο το Θεόδωρο Αντωνίου. Συνέχισε τις µουσικές σπουδές στο Goldsmiths College, The University of London (Μaster in Contemporary Music Composition). Στο ίδιο Εκπαιδευτικό Ίδρυµα εκπόνησε διδακτορική διατριβή υπό την επίβλεψη του καθηγητή Roger Redgate και αναγορεύτηκε διδάκτορας στη Σύνθεση (PhD in Contemporary Music Composition). Κατά τη διάρκεια των διδακτορικών σπουδών παρακολούθησε και το Master Ηλεκτροακουστικής Μουσικής στο Stanley Glasser Electronic Music Studios, Goldsmiths College (EMS).
Κατά τα έτη 2010-2011 υπήρξε επισκέπτης ερευνητής στο Πανεπιστήµιο Κολούµπια της Νέας Υόρκης, όπου ολοκλήρωσε µεταδιδακτορική έρευνα µε αντικείµενο την τεχνική σύνθεσης της απόλυτης συνέχειας (absolute continuity). Έχει συµµετάσχει σε διεθνής συνέδρια, residencies και έχει λάβει διεθνείς διακρίσεις. Κατά την περίοδο 2009-2011 εντάχθηκε κατόπιν διαγωνισµού, στη Society for the Promotion of New Music (S.P.N.M.) του Ηνωµένου Βασιλείου. Ο Μπάκας δραστηριοποιείται και ως εικαστικός ήχου με έργα που εκτίθενται κυρίως σε μουσεία.
Είναι µέλος της Ένωσης Ελλήνων Μουσουργών (ΕΕΜ), του Ελληνικού Συνδέσμου Συνθετών Hλεκτροακουστικής Mουσικής (ΕΣΣΗΜ), του Κέντρου Σύγχρονης Μουσικής Έρευνας (ΚΣΥΜΕ), τηs Ελληνικής Εταιρίας Ακουστικής Οικολογίας και του Temp’Ora Project (Μπορντό Γαλλίας).