Clara Hastrup

So, Clara’s artworks carry an ethical message: to remind the subject, us witnesses, of our status as mere guests, hostages, yet not subjugated, like the fish. But is this enough to break the Cartesian tradition of the animal-machine devoid of language and response? The ethical message revolves around denial: the fish is in a tank, we are not. Perhaps. A subversion of the subject who chooses to the subject who is chosen, in a dialectic of desire that always originates from man, from his “spectacles” and his machines, through an installation that is digital programming not entirely programmable.

To some extent, everything is the antithesis of repetition, “everything is difference” (7): sound can never repeat itself identically, fishes continue to innovate in unpredictable directions, and their offspring may be born, perhaps, at an unspecified moment in the future; we, as spectators, shall perpetually behold from diverse temporal and spatial perspectives.

The sound

Auralizing the sonosphere

How many variations could the fish potentially make within these set parameters?

Accelerando: not solely a musical concern, but a question of coerced cohabitation. How many fishes will there be in a month? How many of us will there be in a month?

Sound serves as the biological memory of life’s motion. When unrecorded, it becomes a consciously introspective entity, casting doubt upon our present comprehension of originality, individuality, and entitlement over things.

Brian Eno and David Toop, among the first, had observed that a sound piece of experimental music tends to operate like an evolutionary process. It begins with a specific set of organizational structures that are then delivered over to random, chance, or algorithmic mutations and environmental effects. This process is usually open-ended, without any necessary stopping point. If the traditional (human) composer is akin to an omnipotent God, who structures and controls all aspects of a musical performance, fish in Fishphonics are the experimental composers and in the same time becomes equally an observer, like us.

Where the process of composing was changed from making choices to asking questions: this philosophy of non-intentionality has become a resource, rather than a way of life, for many musicians currently working with electronic media” (8). Capacity to loop small segments of music and gradually move the start point of the loop, with each new loop applying the same process to itself to create a nest of loops, all working within the differing boundaries of its parent loop to create constant evolution.

Clara adds to our reflections that in Fishphonics there is a subtle reference to Borges “The Library of Babel” from 1941, the story of a hallucinatory universe shaped like a library, where each book consists of four hundred and ten pages; each page contains forty lines, and each line comprises approximately eighty letters. In Clara’s poetics, this concept also links to the Infinite Monkey Theorem.Inizio modulo

The potential of Acelerando

Clara’s artwork operates through precise logic but is entirely played “in potentiality”: accelerating. Conceptually, it connects with the electronically accelerated culture of the late twentieth century – from a Baudrillardian perspective.

Clara experiences the concept of musical acceleration as an approach both literally and metaphorically:

I was interested in a slow sonic acceleration over time – impossible to experience at once. As the fish species I selected for the piece are naturally rapid breeders the musical concept of accelerando and the idea of a population growing exponentially merged”.

Therefore, understanding the randomness of interconnections is important to avoid catastrophic accelerations.

In his “The Transparency of Evil,” Baudrillard spoke of how “we are infinitely torn apart in the same broth of runoff”. Silence is that “syncopation in the circuit, that slight catastrophe of the time of anguish, of haste, which ends up emptying every one of our schemes”. The acceleration of our activities is like a metastasis, “we dilute ourselves in homeopathic and infinitesimal doses in the overall solution” (9). Like all exchanges, if they are too rapid, they end up coexisting in a general indifference because we are not (yet) human beings capable of accepting and doing everything simultaneously.

Time is consistently perceived in an exponential manner, in potency, a mode of comprehension emblematic of the post-digital revolution, assimilating the entirety of the world and its actors. A frenzy that does not accept the indeterminate, the risk, the malfunctioning prototype, which does not lead to research and development and profit. The trend is to minimize waste and maximize time-energies, sweeping ethical issues under the rug.

The schizophrenia of capitalisma process of subjectivization of alliances, destruction of dissimilar multiplicities. This reminds me of the concept of the “drama of anthropopoiesis” (10), conducted by us narcissists who gaze at ourselves in the water to try to see our own face and our egomaniacal mythology. “Man is always driven by a disquieting passion: that of generating artificial doubles of himself,” as Eric Sadin writes, “of conceiving something that mirrors his mental processes and creating something powerful, a sort of perfect biological and intellectual armor through techno-scientific computational models” (11). Man is always in the loop, that is, within the decision-making process, the only one capable of having the power to enunciate (only his) truth in his artificial paradises.

Technical reproducibility now transmutes into genetic reproducibility. The fish inscribe an imperceptible code in the water, discernible solely through the resonance of instruments. The evanescence of the fish’s sequential movement perhaps aims to thwart hierarchies among species and our technophiliac inclination toward anthropocentric control. A music both fortuitous and assertive: the antithesis of a rationality yearning and starved to accommodate us, to prefigure our desires, and to institute an algorithmic tempo in our daily existence. We inhabit the opposite of our rationality’s contentment, which, in a neurotic fashion, endlessly seeks to rectify the course of events and guide them toward a falsely elevated state; we only experience the present in the guise of “wholesome immediate satisfaction,” regardless of the destiny of everything else.

Clara Hastrup’s Fishphonics: Accelerando embodies an installation sustained by its energy autonomy, conveying a dual message of biopolitics and irony, immersing observers in its circadian rhythm, and reflecting the biological and energetic essence of technologies. Perhaps, for once, what happens at Matta does not concern human beings.

(Tyrell): The facts of life… to make an alteration in the evolvement of an organic life system is fatal. A coding sequence cannot be revised once it’s been established.

(Batty): Why not?

(Tyrell): Because by the second day of incubation, any cells that have undergone reversion mutation give rise to revertant colonies, like rats leaving a sinking ship; then the ship… sinks.

Blade Runner, 1982



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