EOH v.6-The Magic Flute

Outlet Fine Art- Bushwick, Brooklyn- October 2013

EOH v.6: The Magic Flute is the latest in a series of installation environments based on algorithmically transformed appropriated baroque, classical and romantic music. This is an interdisciplinary project, which addresses issues within contemporary art, experimental music and critical theory.

In this phase, Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, which was composed in 1791, will serve as the source material.

My objective with this series is to explore the philosophical, religious and political underpinnings of these historic works with a focus on how they were reflected in musical form. Mozart’s The Magic Flute interests me because it reflects the influence of freemasonry in its formal and conceptual elements. The piece was an early example of the nascent rationalism of the enlightenment as it emerged in Europe during the latter part of the 18th century.

Sound is at the center of this installation, as a recording of the The Magic Flute is fed into randomization algorithms written by me in the Max/ MSP programming environment. The resultant transformed soundscape, is presented as a multichannel surround sound installation. The visual component of the installation; multichannel projected video, consists of animations that are derived from the original score+ libretto and reflect the randomized processing of the sound. This project is intertextual in that chance and randomness based 20th and 21st century compositional paradigms are applied to 18th century musical content.

Aside from the compelling forms and instrumentation, the music of the 18th century is interesting to me because it is a product of a clearly defined social order. These works were commissioned by secular and religious authorities and their presentation was dependent on how they reinforced the values of the power structure. The Magic Flute was a bit different, in that it was commissioned by music-hall impresario Emanuel Schikaneder, who was a freemason.

With regards to this body of work: my approach, functions as a reinterpretation of the form, while pointing towards a critique of its socio political underpinnings. Ultimately, it is intended to lead the viewer/ listener to consider the powers behind popular culture today and to critically engage its agenda. 

The sound material for this installation was created via live performances in Baltimore, DC and Philadelphia during the summer of 2013.