11 febbraio 2013



Inaugurata da pochi giorni e aperta fino a maggio 2013 c'è a Losanna (Svizzera) un'importante retrospettiva dedicata al compositore statunitense Phill Niblock nell'anno del suo ottantesimo compleanno: Nothin' but Working. Tra le molte opere affidate al centro d'arte Circuit e al museo di fotografia Musée de l’Elysée Centre spicca la presentazione integrale, riveduta e ampliata per l'occasione, di una delle sue creazioni multimediali più sperimentali e innovative, The Movement of People Working.

Presented for the first time in its entirety, re-edited and remastered by the artist for the retrospective, the series of films The Movement of People Working portray human labour in its most elementary form. Filmed on 16mm colour film, and later on video, in locations including Peru, Mexico, Hungary, Hong Kong, the Arctic, Brazil, Lesotho, Portugal, Sumatra, China and Japan – with more than 25 hours of film footage, The Movement of People Working focuses on work as a choreography of movements and gestures, dignifying the mechanical yet natural repetition of labourers’ actions. Phill Niblock said of these that The Movement of People Working «came out of necessity because I was doing music performances with live dancers, and it was too cumbersome and expensive to tour with so many people. So I started doing those films that I could project when performing». These films are accompanied by the whole corpus of Niblock’s slowly evolving, harmonically minimalist music, realised between 1968 and 2011. The sound level of these compositions offers a visceral experience of the long drones and inhabits the ringing, beating overtones. These scores, presented in the exhibition as photostats realized for his personal exhibition at London’s ICA in 1982, are the composer’s mixing instructions and are not used by the musician during the performance. While moving through space, he plays with the recorded material, sometimes creating tonalities that coincide with the recording or, on the contrary, that produce dissonances. The result is a constant movement of beat, rhythm and pulsation, as well as changing and continuous harmonics during his own motion through space. The layering of tones echoes the repetitions of the workers' actions; the evolution of the films on each screen (changing throughout the day), combined with a program that randomly plays back different music pieces, results in a constant renewal of forms, continuously offering an exhibition of new juxtapositions of sound and image.
The Movement of People Working offers a strong social and political comment, as highlighted by the title and represented by the closeness with the workers. In this, the series of film echoes the work of several filmmakers including Jean Luc Godard or Chris Marker who as from 1967 gave workers the cameras and informed them of cinematic techniques so that they could actually make their own films. In a fascinating turn of events, rather than doing fictional or pure documentary film, some workers formed the Groupes Medvekine and decided to film themselves working.

http://www.phillniblock.com
http://www.experimentalintermedia.org
http://www.circuit.li
http://www.elysee.ch/en/no_cache/exhibitions/detail/article/nothin-but-working-phill-niblock-a-retrospective