Noises between music and art
With 49 seconds of recording, five of silent processing and another 49 to reproduce the above, La resistencia del instante infinitely repeats the same system within a gallery. Record all voice, conversation or surrounding sound and then superimpose it on another until it becomes a noise. A few steps away, in the same room, another sound is installed inside a bathroom. This time it's about Presencia, a work that uses the high frequencies of space and replicates them by movements of intensity. Once again, the noise becomes annoying or not, depending on when you hear it.
The sound - will simplify us, the "non-connoisseurs" - has two paths: through one it becomes music, through another it becomes noise. The barrier between both, subjective and symbolic at the same time will be well known to composers, artists and others "well understoods". Ricardo Martínez, for example, happens to be a flute graduate in the ISA and his moments as composer and instrumentalist prefers to use them to compose noise. Unorthodox, if you look outside its context, his work is placed in the border space that contemporary art has created with the rest of its sister manifestations, something that might seem new, but actually traces its antecedents in the readymade by Marcel Duchamp. We are talking, anyway, of conceptual art in its sound variant, a definition almost as problematic as the artistic condition of the famous urinal taken to a showroom.
As much Presencia, as La resistencia del instante found context within the exhibit Ejercicios de natación al aire libre, which hosted the Fresa y Chocolate Cultural Center during the XIII Biennial of Havana. Each one represents an evolution in the career as a composer of Ricardo Martínez, while proposing an expansion in the mere act of listening, to refer to analysis and use of space as essential material in his work. The artist assumes them as a need to manipulate the sound in another way "that is not part of the same ritual as always. I find in visual arts a different way of perceiving music. It is an evolution in my thinking as a composer and in the way of using sound ", he stresses.
If you like, Ricardo's works also work as a counterpart to any thesis that attempts to widen the apparent division between sound art and music. Its intention is to show how a space can collapse on itself when several moments are retained, or how one manages to coexist in the same place with a sound that at times appears annoying and can achieve the collapse of a space's policy.
What happens with this type of installations or sound sculptures is that they carry a particular value granted by the artist, in terms of the possibility of re-listening and interpreting in different ways, according to the way of presenting them to the viewer. Ricardo, in addition to his citations to French phenomenology and La poética de los espacios by Gastón Bachelar admits that he was influenced by a BBC documentary, where they maintain that music is currently stuck in the sense of how it continues to be presented.
"I try to get out a bit of what music is, that there must always be a will about something, why not take the will of a space and transform it from the simple hint of what it would be like if the instants of that will collapsed. It's a way in which space is composing itself and is self-destructing, "he says.
Beyond the ephemeral condition that the sound installations can suppose and before presenting it as a problem, Ricardo compares them to a concert, "which can be translated into a record, but which does not have the sensation of the moment live. The record that remains of the work is as part of the documentation itself. I think that is the most complex of these works. A painting, a sculpture, a photo is taken and its record is left, an approach to it. Not here, to get that closeness to the exhibition, you have to make a video. The same thing happens as with the performance. "
Anyway, an academy musician like him has found the way to take from one source and another to present at the end a mestizo, ductile, somewhat intricate at a conceptual level and contrary to what many musicians want, ends up being noise. The latter does not imply less rigor, nor technical requirement in the composition; neither does he expect to please any taste, after all, and for a long time, sound art has confirmed its fans and its haters.