About the Telematic Concert with Pauline Oliveros
by Alan Courtis (Reynols)
I've been in touch with Pauline Oliveros since her only visit to Buenos Aires in 1994. A few years later, Reynols collaborated with her on two albums (1999's Pauline Oliveros In The Arms Of Reynols, 2003's The Minexcio Connection: Live! At The Rosendale Cafe). In 2000 and 2001, with Roberto and Pacu Conlazo, we visited her in Kingston, New York and played live there. Since then, I stayed in touch with her for diverse projects but corresponded mostly by e-mail. Despite the fact that I was not able to tour in US for more than a decade, we use to write and talk quite often. She was a wonderful person- very clever with a lot of humour and especially sensitive.
It was around mid-2009 that we decided it was time to do something different, so at some point the idea of playing together through the internet came along. In this Covid-19 context. that's the most common thing on earth and for some musicians now, it's the only option to play together. But back then, it was not that usual.
Pauline had a long tradition of exploring new technologies and music with various projects like The Telematic Circle or The Avatar Orchestra Metaverse. However, our aim was to play a duo show via the internet, which later came to be called "Between Dreams: A Telematic Exchange." The event was part of Ione's 14 Annual Dream Festival which took place on October 11th 2009. Pauline played at The Shirt Factory in Kingston and I played at my own studio en Buenos Aires. The show was scheduled to start at 8PM EST (9PM Buenos Aires time).
Before the concert, we had a couple rehearsals mostly to check the internet connection and to know a bit about what to expect. Of course, there was some kind of latency and we took it as part of the exchange: since we were basicaly improvising, it actually became part of the music. Pauline coined the term "Deep Listening" and she was a master on that field. In this case, to listen to the latency deeply enough was actually as important as listening to the sounds that we were playing. This was a because the latency was not completely regular: it was always changing randomly, according to some unpredictable technical parameters. For both of us, that was a challenge but at the same, it was inspiring: it acted as a hook compelling us to focus all the attention right into the present. That's the kind of attitude needed to improvise, but in this case, it was affected slightly by the technologic context.
So in a way, the concert was about the interaction between Pauline, the latency and me. She played her amazing accordion which was triggered to the Expended Instrument System and I played an "unstringed guitar" with several effects and objects. A lot of unforeseeable sounds appeared from all these non conventional sources and in some parts, it was difficult to understand what each of us was exactly playing.
But as with all the projects I've done with Pauline, it was a powerful and meaningful experience. Considering it from its metaphoric corner, I guess the Telematic Concert was not just a concert, but an attempt to communicate beyond all physic barriers.
And despite that fact that Pauline is not physically here anymore, I'd say I'm still in touch with her. Maybe now there's only just some extra latency.
The Telematic Concert album is available here
Also see this lecture from Oliveros on Telematics
And see details of how the now-famous Barcelona Opera House 'performance for plants' may actually be seen as a Reynols cover, repeating their own concert for plants many years before that:
robotto.mix (in Spanish)
Indymedia Bruxsel (in French)
Silencio (in Spanish)
Reynols official social media posts on the plant concert:
Also see our interview with Reynols
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