The Anatomy of Performance
Collapsing Radioforce Mantras sound and video performance, 30'
Collapsing Radioforce Mantras centres around exploring of hypnotic side of various voice communications between flight operation officers and pilots of US & EU strategic reconnaissance aircrafts like TR-1 (U-2), SR-71 Blackbird etc. It is based on unique tape recordings that were made by Piotr's brother Sergei Tolmachov between 1988 and 1989, who was in charge of listening in and decoding all above mentioned radio communications during military service in USSR Air Defence Forces near Oranienbaum (Sint-Petersburg). Tolmachov tells about this work:
"I use different layers that represent different realms:
It is really difficult to categorize the way these people communicate: it is not a regular talk, it is not singing, it is not poetry reading, nor it is rapping. They belonged to a 'voice subculture' that was never exposed to the public, hence abandoned, forgotten, unknown. They repeat their call signs, encoded coordinates, messages over and over again on a daily basis through years which become so polished so fluid so musical so rhythmically accentuated and so hypnotic that you can call it their daily mantras.
I selected 11 fragments from the tape (with the duration up to 10 seconds) that were used as mantras (consequently repeated fragment of voice communication with a slight decrease of duration with every next loop until it finally ceases in time). Each point of mantra's collapse is ended by the same mantra with the original duration. All mantras are divided by continuous interlude radio speeches.
Besides voice communications, this tape contains all kind of sound traces left from radio frequencies, distortions, additional subharmonics caused by transmitting, receiving and recording equipment.
Unfortunately, weak tape machines and worn tape couldn't reproduce all nuances of that powerful sound. To reconstruct this layer of raw sound electricity, I decided to use sound of soviet-era analogue synthesizers, organs and drum modules produced during 80s of last century.
Each mantra evolves alongside film footage from a particular movie. Each short video story explores particular aspects of all kind of different relationships between man and machine.
The idea was to keep the ‘outer tissue' of the movies as intact as possible to keep this feeling that montage is linear as within a particular movie so throughout consecutive order of movies in time.
But it is not just about history: it is more like a research that helps observer to watch in a short period of time how different symbols and ideas take shape, develop, mutate and reappear from movie to movie. It is a research, the results of which are expressed via the same media and metalanguage as the subject of a research."
Piotr Tolmachov (b. 1974) is a sound artist based in Antwerp. He explores the sound medium by means of sonification of various processes, concepts and theories that are not directly related and linked to sound. His practical approach lies in depiction of complex processes by means of creating temporal sound structures using algorithmic and kinetic approaches. Working in Antwerp, he is busy with implementing different sound and musical ideas: writing music and soundscapes for films, dance, theatrical performances and sound installations. He has particular interest in restoration, modification and midification of old soviet analogue synthesizers to be able to control them and create moving, kinetic sound surfaces full of electricity. As an artist he participated in different projects related to sound: travelling artistic residences, sound installations, collaborations with jazz musicians. He performed at various international sound art festivals. His works where exhibited at various international film and media art festivals, museums, conferences around the globe.
More: www.behance.net/piotrtolmachov en piotr-tolmachov.com.