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NOQTURNL at 4DSOUND: A RETROSPECTIVE

 

Our partners at MONOM, newly opened at the iconic Funkhaus complex in Berlin, are working with a 4DSOUND system for artist residencies and performances. To celebrate, a retrospective of works in 4DSOUND looks at early experiments and milestone conceptual developments from the last six years. 

One of the first sound sketches from NOQTURNL is part of the exhibition. The original concept aimed to uncover the unknown pathways and spaces of the unconscious mind found in dream, and was heavily influenced by Jungian theories of archetypal encounters in this nether-state. Paul Oomen, Florence To and I delved into the ancient, recurring motif of the Minotaur, as metaphor for the looming, shapeless fears expressed in the intuitive intelligence of dream; rarely mainfesting into reality, these fears nevertheless shape and direct thoughts and feelings in waking state. It's interesting to look at the success of Stranger Things and the prevalence of this idea in what made it so compelling.

From the exhibition literature:

The exhibition includes an early sketch of a scene from ‘NOQTURNL’, composer John Connell’s expansive inquiry into the transitional state between waking and dreaming. The sketch introduces the mythical figure of the Minotaur dwelling in the maze of the labyrinth. The maze can be regarded a symbol for the intricate structure of the mind whereas the Minotaur is the embodiment of fear, somewhere hidden in the maze of the subconscious. We are certain that if we encounter the Minotaur, we will be devoured. Fear is prolonged as long as we are able to hide from this shapeless creature, whereas the moment it would find us the monster transforms and the dream would end. We are trapped in this paradox: we continue to flee out of fear for the unknown - to be devoured - whereas the only way to conquer the fear is to face the unknown - and overcome this existential shadow on the psyche. This classical theme in dream psychology is choreographed in space with a reverberant growling sound appearing somewhere in the distance. Although its presence can be felt and fills the space, we can never hear where it is located. We feel it threatens to approach us, but we cannot determine where it will be coming from. The essence of the piece is that the Minotaur will not reveal itself, thus prolonging the presence of fear. In its sounding manifestation, we identify fear as an enveloping spatial condition, as sounds of inherently distant and vaguely diffused character, THE UNKNOWABLE. This turns the paradox around again - once we recognise that fear will never manifest itself in the form we fear it, this dissolves the experience of fear itself.

Text: Paul Oomen