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Poetic Thinking 2016 | October 16, 2019

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Akira Rabelais’ Gymnopédie

Akira Rabelais’ Gymnopédie
Pensiero Liquido

In relation to Andrew’s post, I was thinking about ways to apply the language used in class to the domain of music.

In particular, there are so many example of “refiguration“ that come to mind. What about Heidegger’s “temple“?

I found this piece some time ago, and I still find it interesting, it takes Gymnopédies (and other pieces) and transforms them, here is the first:

I perceive this music as an instance of poetic thinking, no question.

It is like a music played in the realms of the sea… provoking and evoking images and sensations from underwater. Maybe a state of calm and reflexion… meditation? But these of course are just personal hints.

Is there maybe something analogous to Richter’s attenuated gray-scale in October 18,1977? Storr describes’ Richter’s paintings as “evanescent”, is this music also evanescent? Richter himself describes his use of grays:

“It is impossible to paint the mystery of life, except maybe in gray, to cover it“.

The piano of Akira Rabelais is maybe not gray, but I perceive a covering there, a diffused tonality that blurs it, maybe a blue-gray one (maybe “shadow gray” instead of “anthracite”?)—Again, my bias towards vision makes it that I continue to see, even when listening. But this is not necessarily a distraction to be avoided since it provokes a multi-sensory experience…

Here is the album:


Moreover, looking the artist more closely, it might be relevant for our discussion in class, also with respect to the boundaries of art, online art and other issues (mixing different formats such as music, technology, poetry and photography):


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  1. Vivian Lam

    Sylvia, thank you for sharing this–Rabelais’ interpretation of Gymnopédie is ethereal and incredibly. Your pairing with Richter’s greyscale gives it, as you say, an incredibly lush multi-sensory experience. An induced synesthesia, perhaps?

    With technology, it seems like art increasingly needs to engage all senses–to pair the visual with the auditory (as with a film), but to go beyond and include the olfactory, the tactile.

    I am reminded of the teamLab exhibit in the Pace Gallery in Menlo Park (–a fascinating multisensorial experience (one room being especially conducive to haute culture Facebook profile photos). But it certainly requires taking a step back and looking with a bit of blurred vision to be immersed.

    Again, thank you for sharing this!

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