1. July 2019

STROM #1: As much to be seen as to be heard

Ensemble Musikfabrik is going to launch a new concert series in July! STROM is a platform for crossmedia productions and opens up new perspectives on music and its transformation. STROM #1 on July 14th features Pierre Jodlowski – composer, performer and multimedia artist, whose works are at the crossroads of acoustic and electronic sound and are marked by dramatic and political elements. On our blog, Pierre Jodlowski gives insight into his work and his performances.

– As a multimedia artist, your work includes videos, installations and staging. How did this cross-media approach come about and what scope does it offer to your music?

Well, I started a long time ago, almost 20 years, to ask myself about staging or more deeply about the question of the function of musician’s bodies on stage. Are those bodies only dedicated to their instruments or can they interact with other parameters, such as space, gestures, movements? And therefore I started to work on the visual dimension. I must say that I never considered myself as a videast or film-maker, neither a proper stage director … all those tools are treated here as an extension (or a counterpoint) of the music. And for me, this is fantastic in the way that it increases the tools that I can manipulate in order to achieve my ideas. John Cage said that music is “as much to be seen as to be heard” and I strongly believe in this. What musicians, singers or more generally performers can achieve is way more than simply “playing an instrument”…

– You’re defining music as an “active process” on the physical level (gestures, energy and space) and on a psychological level (memory and visual dimension). Can you explain this aspect a bit more? Is there a connection to the dramatical and political dimension of your work?

Yes, definitely! I have always been in search for some kind of extra signification in my art. Generally, I am not an “abstract” artist even if I love the “power” of abstraction (in paintings for example). I think that I simply need to express some inner anger linked with our world which is basically not so much better than in the past darkest ages. So I am always trying to “input” some critical dimension in my pieces, sometimes with strong or dark elements, sometimes with humour, as I think that this is the best tool to finally achieve stronger criticism. But the concept of “active music” is also very much linked with what I call “sounding memories” . Each of us has a very strong and complex relation with any kind of sound which can be very meaningful (as they would be part of our lives) or insignificant. And I like to “insert” concrete sounds or referential sounds which can built some specific networks inside of our imagination as they are triggering connections.

– Together with the musicians of Ensemble Musikfabrik, you play a selection of your compositions in Bogen 2 in Cologne for the kick-off concert. Can you tell us a bit about the selection of the pieces that can be experienced in July?

We constructed this program together and basically, I had two goals : firstly, I wanted to show some pieces that I wrote at different periods of my artistic production. The oldest piece, named “IS IT THIS ?” was composed when I was in residency at Akademie der Künste in Berlin, almost 20 years ago, and the most recent one “OUTERSPACE” was first performed in March 2018. I really enjoy to conceive programs like this as it is a very strong way to measure how time is relevant. The second goal was to create a very specific evening according to the space, Bogen 2, which is a very special venue. Therefore, I proposed to work on four different spaces or stages, meaning that the audience will be able to move and enjoy the architecture during the concert. All those pieces are including amplification, electronics, lights, video, pictures … so it will be a kind of portrait of what I enjoy to do and I am so pleased that I can work with Ensemble Musikfabrik in such a great context.