a thinking about bombing

"a thinking about bombing" is a video work by Alan Sondheim.

"Thinking about thinking about bombs is also a meditation on the
sound of bombs the sound of war the distinction between reality
and dream the incessants of it the constituting of it the
constant pressure that results From it . There's nothing similar
because it is always representation of both a threat and a
wrapping of that threat it's a representation of the sound of
that threat to beginning a committed ending and possible
punctuation of that sound related to the thread and at the same
time is it in capsulation of it abracting of it. I tried to
convey this in the current video. This was one of the most
difficult to do. The central section has a guitar improvisation
related directly to the notion of bombing, the notion of bombing
civilians the notion of hearing the bomb is falling the notion
of thanksgiving out when the bombs do fall. It's a very
different kind of music it's a music which is in succession (?)
representing the environment, it seems to be everywhere and
nowhere at once - internalized I know I've had the - felt - that
kind of fear at times. There are times when I've felt the
unknown = in fact that my life wasn't dangerous and this is
represented there's a kind of chattering of signifiers that
occurs a kind of frisson that is a disintegration of the self in
relationship to what it's hearing. The guitar music reflects
that guitar is a good instrument for this because guitar is also
social It's part of a society if fitting was society was social
playing a guitar is playing a social community you know your
hands are moving over street and power caves and bridges and
tunnels that will someday disappear. The beginning of the ending
better showing and representing the dissolution of the self
which in fact occurs when I'm making a piece like this things
start to fall apart things start to make sense and repeat
themselves and then disappear cowering a sense of the of the
inconceivable Of disgust of dismay of anxiety. It's a holding on
to what canopy held on to. If you read this you should watch the
video because the video is representative in better ways than I
can talk what this is all about. The bandage's human the Sudoku
katu (?) are cartoon like bombs, bombs that fall throughout the
smashing of different modes of representation against one
another All of this present.

When I improvised the music for the central section of this
piece I was well aware that something was disintegrating on that
level as well through repetitions slammed into each other and
created small histories one sound or another that would hold
itself in place until something displaced it and until that was
displaced by the original sound . This was the way it was when I
walked into rubble in different situations when I walked in
situations that were inherently dangerous. There's not enough of
this or there's too much of this the body can't tell but it like
with everything else it's within and without the body
simultaneously an infant learns to speak not by imitating the
adult's vocal chord configurations but by being within the
totality of the sphere of communication No matter how fragile or
confusing it might seem at the time might be seen at the time

This is precisely the great fear I've had - a war of
annihilation of genocide so many times in my life it's something
that is within the body and without the body but it's something
that is the body itself just as the body takes on voice without
understanding the physics of vocalization it's all there it's
the habitat it's the internalized habitat which is part and
parcel of the meat of the body itself it's the depths and the
meat of the body Period. This piece of music qua music resides
there within that uncomfortable world world that extends itself
in every direction without objects or forces it's a world that's
just there and that permeates as I mentioned the body and so the
body is not one with the world but is there and not they are
just as the world is there or not there.

I worked and I worked on the thinking of this piece and the
signifiers in it are common signifiers that I've used before en
the guitar was something that I've used in numerous pieces. But
in this case the guitar is played against itself half
representational half within the interiority of a musical
sphere that's made increasingly uncomfortable, discomforting.

The video images reflect this unintangler disentangler in ways
that bring the content of everything to the surface. I see this
here one as a kind of thickening of semiotics - something odd as
well - if you like or semiotic domain that's incoherent within
and without slightly more coherent within slightly fragile at
the borders with nothing particular beyond nothing particular -
you have to pay any attention to beyond. I'll leave it out
there . . .

-- Alan Sondheim

Warning: Flashing lights sequences or patterns may affect photosensitive visitors.


The Alan Sondheim Collection

An unpublished copy.

Alan Sondheim gave the files for this work to Dene Grigar in October of 2021.


Video File (.mp4)