Christian Blom: The Singer

Organized Time - Strategies for Transmedial Composition

Project leader:
Christian Blom

Project period:
2012 –

Research centre:
NordART

Approach:
Artistic research

Topic:
Experimental music, Composition, Sound art

Fellowship project
Artistic Research Fellowship Programme

How can you compose a work where movement, sound and light are co-dependent and need connections for there to be a work at all? This is one of the questions that artistic research fellow Christian Blom is trying to answer.

The language that surrounds forms of art where several medias meet, is by no means standardized. Blom thinks of the complete category, several media meeting in forms of art, as interdisciplinary, and within this category he distinguishes between intermedial and transmedial.

Blom presents the example of the ballet. In a ballet you have two or more complete media specific structures working in parallel. Taking out the music, the choreography would still stand on its own. You could also take out the choreography, and the music would still stand on its own. Blom refers to this as an intermedial situation.

In his research Blom has tried to facilitate a situation where movement, sound and light are co-dependent to make sense. He aims for a structure from which you cannot extract a set of sounds, movements or lights and have a complete structure that stands on its own. Blom wants the media to need each other in order for a structure to rise and refer to this situation as transmedial.

Research questions

Blom had two research questions that he wanted to encircle. Here is a short rendition of his findings. 

Research question #1 

Which qualities, in an element, can be accentuated to discover the element’s potential for connections and kinship in a temporal composition?

Blom writes: Temporality was already mentioned in my application. I assumed there would be more to find. The most obvious was degrees of intensity, from fast to slow and weak to strong. The intensity in how they fill and shape time.

More surprisingly, but obvious once it is stated, is that an element’s potential for connection increases if it appears as incomplete. Being a good building block involves being a singular entity or incomplete, rather than a compound or complex.

It´s also good if an element can be fairly abstract. Any kind of emblematic function or strong relation to an outside world will threaten potential connections inside a work.

Research question #2

Which qualities, in a composition, are accentuated by exposing it at different sites?

Blom writes: By sites I was referring to the gallery space, concert space, the video format, the sound recording and so forth. I argue that to put an installation out as a sound recording or a video can be to create a new work.

I also found that institutions seemingly ask different questions. Galleries tend to ask what is it? and what does it mean? Music institutions tend to ask what does it sound like? and what is it doing? As a result, a thing tends to appear as instrumental in an institution of music and an object for interpretation in a gallery.

Division of artistic output

Through the span of his project Blom has worked artistically along parallel lines of notated music, electronic music, installations and finally a performance.

He has divided the artistic output into categories of central works and surrounding works, giving the position of central works to those that pertain directly to the research questions. Surrounding works are included to cast a light on his practice as an artist and give a context to the central works.

Central works

  • The Singer (2013)
  • On Speed (2013)    
  • Stick, String and Light (2016)
  • Time and Intensity (2016)

Surrounding works

  • al Khowarizmis Mekaniske Orkester (2011)
  • Lyrical Pieces (2013)
  • Weak Questions Strong Music, hats off to Burrows and Ritsema (2015)
  • Bring Me That Horizon (2016)

Transmedial composition and perspectives

Blom claims that transmedial composition is a little corner in the art world where medias meet and are mutually dependent in a common structure.

- If my understanding of basic structures of time and intensity has any bearing outside my head, chances are I have obtained a new perspective on how to work across media as well as media specific.

Blom hopes that his findings host an insight of value to dancers, musicians, performance artists and projects spanning new technology.

Project leader

christian.blom.jpg

Christian Blom

Former employee (Research fellow 2012–2017)

Performance Practice



Last updated: 31. May 2016