suspending time

sonic Meditations for accessing alternate space/time
“Music makes time audible” — Susanne Langer

“Time exists for us because we experience tensions and their resolutions.” Philosopher Susanne Langer, claims that the particular building-up of tensions, and “their ways of breaking or diminishing or merging into longer and greater tensions, make for a vast variety of temporal forms.” In most Western music, we generally listen within a linear framework, recalling what has already been heard and anticipating what will come next. Often without ever having heard a piece of music before it is possible to anticipate the next phrase because of how it was suggested earlier in the piece. Johnathan Kramer introduced the concept of vertical time in music after experiencing a performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations. Kramer encountered a feeling of having exhausted the information content of the work and experienced “getting bored, becoming imprisoned by a hopelessly repetitious piece.” The experience of time became slower and slower, threatening to stop. But through this boredom, Kramer discovered a different mode of listening. By being liberated from considering the music’s past and future, the present expanded; suddenly it was possible to enter the “vertical time of the piece.”

For the work Suspending Time: Meditations for accessing alternate space/time in music, Lou Drago speculates on various types of music which potentiate the experiencing of vertical or non-linear time. Guests are invited to lay down, close their eyes and attempt to experience a suspension of time. A vector can be drawn between this alternate mode of listening to music and numerous meditation and mindfulness practices that similarly emphasise the importance of focusing on the present. As Lou Drago sees it, meditation can be used to obviate thought in order to alleviate oneself temporarily from the weight of self- consciousness and other anxieties. This work hypothesises that these two factors, meditation and non-linear listening, are interdependent. The experience of vertical time can have a meditative effect, yet effectively one must be meditating – be alleviated from conscious thought – to be able to experience time vertically.

This work premiered in 2018 thanks to the kind invitation of Isabel Lewis and i’m grateful that it has since been hosted in several countries across Europe and internationally.

past listening occasions: 
  • 17.10.21 - Curated by Sonia Fernández-Pan + Carolina Jiménez for You Got to Get in To Get Out at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, ES
  • 23.10.20 - ProtoZone1 - Contamination/ Resilience was curated by Philipp Bergmann and Thea Reifler at Shedhalle, Zurich, CH
  • 16.06 – 16.08.2020 - Invited to activate the open space, Gazebo School of Swans, 2020, by Isabel Lewis and Dirk Bell, i hosted two shorter Suspending Time moments, adapted to this unique space. The exhibition of which this was a part of, ‘State of the Arts’ was curated by Miriam Barhoum and Johanna Adam at Kunsthalle Bonn, DE.
  • 03.02.2019 - Curated by Sara Cowdell with support from Performance Week Aotearoa. Hosted at The Sunday Night Club, Wellington, Aotearoa / NZ
  • 24.11.2018 - Curated by Alexander Burenkov as part of «Going Unconscious / Trembling / With eyes open / I see you / Surrender» exhibition.
  • At HSE Art Gallery, Moscow, RU
  • 08.06 - 05.08.2018, 20 various dates - Invited by Isabel Lewis as part of Welt ohne Außen exhibition curated by Tino Seghal and Thomas Oberender at Martin Groupius Bau, Berlin, DE