Back To Schedule
Monday, June 30 • 17:15 - 20:00
Fade Out

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Plein de vide - On Paul Destieu’s Fade Out by Caecilia E. Anderhub

With a furred tongue, sand between my teeth, a sore throat, and a sense of having witnessed a tragedy no-one else had perceived and of which the report would cause little ado – thus Fade Out finally released me into the shadow of the Galata Tower back in autumn 2011. But perhaps it was my fault that I hadn’t seen a comedy. Already on the stairs leading to the upper floor of the former tobacco factory in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu I had been drawn by the indecipherable clatter, a mighty roar that filled all the exhibition rooms. What I saw at first sight were bits of a conventional drum kit half-protruding from a cone, set solitary in an ochre-yellow sand and gravel pit in bright sunlight reminiscent of southern climes, as a powerful vertical percussionist eruption disgorged itself from the image. Or was it the gentle caress of a rubble load rattling down onto its partner?

I had stepped right in the middle of the screening and stayed until the last tiny pebble had dropped. Then I wanted to see the whole drama from the beginning, even though I could easily imagine its course. For just under a minute it consisted of an expressionless still life, with a breath of wind now and then gently tilting one of the cymbals or twitching a twig in the background foliage, a total immanence – until the scene is shattered by a barely perceived tremor after which a few particles, like droplets, begin to evoke the first gentle tones. Then, with flashing crescendo, impending fate unerringly delivers its lapidary freight, and the percussed instrument responds accordingly: with acoustic resistance, modulating in tone for as long as it can as slides constantly re-arrange the shape of the heap. The performance

ends once the musical set is silenced, incorporated into the cone, now part of the landscape. But a tiny bit of a cymbal protrudes like a final witness, ultimately thwarting the perfection. We are left to wonder what the other heaps might conceal.
Fade out. The inconspicuous acoustic diminuendo is complemented by the landslide’s agonising retardation, which postpones the long foreseeable end; indeed, what applies here
is the principle of the theory of self-organised criticality, to which the drama is subject. The fade out itself contrasts with the ever increasing abundance of material; the less we hear, the more substance is heaped around the acoustic soul. – A simple allegory, certainly, but of what? One is tempted to speak of a rencontre fortuite, a fortuitous bruitist encounter of gravel and drum kit in the cosmos of gravity, a dadaistic gesture the meaning of which is a lack of meaning as sober as it is merry.

Even today and after repeated viewing I find it quite strange that I stood there for a whole twelve-and-a-half minutes and watched this stoning of a drum kit, which, constantly and with sustained tension, that is to say, without any element of surprise, goes against every fundamental dramaturgical rule. In the same way we play Sudoku online – defying the need to make good use of our time – or asked to have the same fairy tale read out to us countless times, right through to the familiar, repeatedly redemptive ending, regardless of whether or not we understood it. Likewise, Fade Out, with its fateful reliable continuous narrative, provides us temporarily with a tragic homeland; but by contrast, it is the unpredictable deviations in the heap as it strives for perfection that bring us moments of excitement, tiny rediscovered irregularities in the stoic regularity which shatter the familiar unrelenting imperturbability of events – if only for an instant. They remind us of the hope for potential freedom or, depending on the mood, the fear of it.

Fogo, São Filipe, 03.08.2012 


Paul Destieu

Paul Destieu lives and works in Marseille, France.His researches question tech­nology and its impact on our envi­ronment. His work exa­mines the situation of machines within our society noti­ceably fed by the history of media. He uses cali­bration, syn­chro­ni­zation pro­cesses... Read More →

Monday June 30, 2014 17:15 - 20:00 BST
New Academic Building, Weston Atrium Goldsmiths

Attendees (0)