“So the work can also be thought of as an exercise of mutism, of silence of the self, of forgetfulness and not of memory, in which the listener is invited to inhabit other worlds, to free him/herself from the chains of causality, of referentiality, to broaden the spectrum of listening in order to let other beings to be alive and thus make this world another from the change in the ways of feeling it.”Pablo Carreño review at (oasis) magazine (In Spanish)
“With a delicate effort we can understand what Miguel Isaza wanted to express. The beauty of a previously unnoticed world that moves us away from overdependence in visual matter and makes us aware of a wonderful sonic universe. Confronting to this acousmatic installation can provoke intense emotions, as long as we decide to be attentive participants throughout the entire sonic experience.
We are objects of flesh and blood, and similar to sound objects, life leads us towards dematerialization, towards a much more subtle, invisible, abstract and, ultimately, pure sonority reality.”María Villa for El Mundo (In Spanish)
Exhibition room text. Museum of Modern Art of Medellín, March 2019.
“Sounds don’t get wet, they don’t get cold, they don’t burn, they don’t breathe, they don’t touch each other, they don’t know anything, they don’t see each other. And yet they are material objects, as long as they are affected by other forces and physical manifestations, even when in the listening they seem only traces of time. ” ─ Miguel Isaza
Sounds do not fall to the ground is a multi-channel sound installation based on a 40-minute composition created with material collected and processed over more than 10 years. It uses a combination of philosophical speculation and technological processes in order to develop an exploration of sound as a cosmic element with its own dimension, its material reality and its dreamlike condition, revealing in the heard an interstice between the material and the immaterial. The composition stems from inquiring into the idea of “sonic matter” by gathering thousands of sound sources processed by digital technology, structured in time and space to reflect various characteristics of sonic substance and listening through an acousmatic condition: sound without sources, with hidden transmitters, without something to see.
‘Sounds do not fall to the ground’ investigates an elementary question: the materiality and immateriality of the sound. It looks after the role of sound from a cosmological, metaphysical, scientific and spiritual perspective, based on years of work that Miguel Isaza has dedicated to recording, shaping, listening and combining sounds, as well as thinking, dreaming and writing about them.
It could be thought of as a phonocentric consideration of the question of the real, not oriented to place the sound in the center, but to study the world from the sonic as the center, which leads us to wonder about the shape, space, time and life, based on sound, taking into account the fact that the it can sometimes be imaginary, as well as sometimes its physical manifestations may not be possible to perceive.
The conception of sound has been dominated by an idea of sonic manifestation as dependent, conditioned or tied to other objects, which we could understand from two trends, one predominantly scientific, physical if we are more specific: the notion of sound as elastic waves in a given environment; and the other metaphysics, ontological if we go to the bottom of the issue, which bets on an acoustic naturalism that makes us think of sounds as secondary objects, resulting from others (primary), and not only that: always referring to those causes and tied to their representation models. Thus we have the idea of sound as a kind of event generated by what would be things of a world prior to sonority.
In this installation an alternative consideration is raised: sound is not only an element that can be considered as dependent to others, but also has its own material, therefore, a sound is not a secondary object, always referred to a supposed cause, but more well an object that in has by itself a material figure already. For this, the research also has in this case its scientific and metaphysical argument: the first is driven by Denis Gabor and its acoustic quantum – and hence the idea of the sonic particle -, which eventually led to a material, plastic, granular conception, music, of sound, what would later be called microsound – something like the sonic equivalent of microbiology. On the other hand, from the metaphysical point of view, the ontological issue of sonic matter has aroused several questions from the first artists and thinkers who came to think sound materially, such as Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Schaeffer, Denis Smalley, Curtis Roads, among others, raising several questions: what is its substance, its accidents, its quality as an element, its relationship with matter conceived from other areas? What is silence then? Do sounds have life? Where do the objects that do not fall to the ground go?
When identifying an experimental and scientific constant coupled with a spiritual and philosophical aspect, a question arises about the wave-particle duality and the microsonic condition of the heard reality that gradually leads to a process where the machine appears to provide analog processes taken from painting, sculpture, chemistry or physics of things usually called materials. In this way it is possible to shape sounds to arrange them from their own characteristics, generating an invisible architecture from speakers in which all kinds of sounds roam, obtained through various spaces, devices or objects: Field recorders, microphones under study , digital synthesizers, samplers, pedals, modules, software, hardware. There are multiple technologies that have altered for years the sound material collected by the artist. Through different devices, ranging from analog and digital to body and psychic, loudness is cast as matter, proposing its own plasticity. But in the same way it disappears, it vanishes, remaining only as a memory, again in silence, in the open question of the absent sound. It is therefore sought to alter the sonic matter but also to dispose of it for certain purposes from the immateriality of listening.
The composition sequence does not have a different narrative than speculation about sound itself. It is a composition designed as theory and vice versa, so that the chosen sounds are not intended to investigate specific territories, references or representations. Nor generate imaginary spaces, even if the possibility of this is open for the listener. The idea is to use the qualities of isolation, multiple channels and darkness allowed by the space, and then to expose questions of loudness as such, so that the composition functions as a critical device around the cosmological hierarchy. For this, sounds from multiple sources, highly processed, grain, cloud, density, height, space, time, mass are available. Dynamics and sequence, narrative, both describe the moments of the composition. Reflection with respect to matter, objects, presences, layers of the real, life within life. There are 7 moments of the composition, thought of as a cyclical figure of variations on the sound matter. Each moment is distinguished by asking for a different function of sonic mass: emptiness, shape, weight, extension, texture, life time, density. The 7 are values interpreted from the technique, -in both values of digital sound processes- and from their metaphysical potential -in both speculative considerations of characteristics of sonic plasticity-
The arrangement of the speakers invites to a consideration of the ground as a location space for the solid event that emits sound, but in turn the composition invites you to explore the freedom that the sound itself has once it is conceived of its sources. In this way we can explore the sound waves and make use of various characteristics of the naturalistic aspect, where the sound is secondary to the material that is located in the room. More importance, however, is given to the exploration of sonic particles and ideas of the micro sound relative to the experience of the grain, the texture, its density, the formation of clusters, the disintegration of sounds, its reconfiguration, the exploration of time scales, etc. Thus, the configuration of the installation allows us to serve as a space to assume the sound both as a wave and a particle, and to explore its variables to study it both as an object resulting from a world prior to the sonic, and vice versa: worlds born from the sound itself. The listener is thus an interstice of silence, where immateriality and materiality converge in the strange experience of the sonic, which ends up being unknown for its own benefit.