SIX-LINE STAVE. A PREVIEW OF ŁUKASZ JASTRUBCZAK'S «TELEPATH»
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On Sunday 10 February 2013, at 3 p.m., a preview was held at the Fryderyk Chopin Museum of Łukasz Jastrubczak's work "Telepath", part of the cycle "Six-Line Stave. Audio-Visual Interventions", launched in the autumn of 2012. Thus far, the cycle has also brought to the Fryderyk Chopin Museum works by Konrad Smoleński (Mold), Leszek Knaflewski (Sit down and fight), Daniel Koniusz (Works) and Wojciech Bąkowski (Watching an Image with the Aid of Sound).

The cycle "Six-Line Stave" features works by six young artists referring directly or indirectly to the person of Chopin, issues relating to museology, our watching and listening habits, the problems of contemporary life and the interpenetration of art and life. The installations are placed in "marginal" (non-display) spaces in the Museum, such as stairs, footbridges, recesses and corridors.

The managing curator of the project is Maciej Janicki, curator of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum, and the artistic curators are Leszek Knaflewski and Daniel Koniusz.

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Aspect 1. According to research carried out by CBOS, as many
as 39% of Poles believe in telepathy. Although Jastrubczak’s
work is called Telepath, it is based on traditional principles of
dynamics (action – reaction); the sound appears because we
pull the strings. Perhaps our subconscious acts in the same way
(we want it – so it happens). Jastrubczak’s work shows us in a
musical way the effects of our actions – we are the instigators of
the sound.

Aspect 2. During their course in the history of philosophy or
aesthetics, students of musicology undergo more than one intellectual
baptism casting doubt on apparently self-evident truths
relating to music. One of them comes when they read the
texts of Roman Ingarden, in which the philosopher poses the
notorious question: Where exactly is the work of music? What
is it? The concept in the composer’s head? The performance?
The score? All of that at once? In his famous essay The Work of
Music and the Problem of its Identity, he calls music an ‘intentional
object’; that is, an entity suspended somewhere between the
composer’s idea, the performance and the score. One of the
examples illustrating the philosopher’s discourse is the listener
who during a concert has a headphone [sic] in which he hears
a live transmission of the same concert but from the other end
of the hall. According to Ingarden, the concert heard at one end
of the hall is a different concert to that heard at the other end
of the hall. Jastrubczak’s work allows us to experience Ingarden’s
words (we hear the same sound from two different places) and
inclines us to reflect on whether he was right.
Agata Mierzejewska

The installation Telepath is interactive. In reaching for the
headphones that hang from the ceiling, the viewer/listener activates
a system that releases the hammers of a piano, which strike the
note C. The sound of the note can be heard through the headphones,
thanks to a microphone hidden in the piano.

The note sounds in two separate realities: the ‘real’ (the
piano string sounds in the room and listeners use their natural hearing
apparatus to register the sound) and the ‘virtual’ (the sound as
digitally encoded by a recorder can be heard on the headphones).

Thanks to the installation’s mechanism, the viewers/listeners
produce the note C remotely and unwittingly. Let us assume
that the viewers/listeners believe there is no mechanism between
themselves and the piano a few metres away. They become accidental
magicians. Seeing before themselves a system of strings and
wheels, they become illusionists.

Romantic motives, traditional tales, fables and nineteenthcentury
fantasy possess a fictive status based on a reality that is
transformed, imagined, represented through some medium (text,
composition, painting, etc.). A performed work of music possesses
a mixed status: on one hand, it consists of sounds produced by an
instrument (a hammer strikes a string of a particular thickness); on
the other, it is the musician (the interpreter of the musical text)
who transports the musical work into an imagined world through
musical means (dynamics, colouring, etc.). Thus a single note C,
produced by accident, unwittingly possesses a real status. It is solely
and exclusively the note C, produced by the striking of a hammer
on a string.
Łukasz Jastrubczak

Our perception of personal devices playing back music
as just another plane of the soundscape to fall in our ears has
become so widespread that we often fail to notice their ostinatolike
presence. They obscure the reality of everyday sounds, directing
meaning elsewhere. They enter into an accidental dialogue with the
external reality. They filter the visible, with the effect that our everyday
reality may become somewhat ‘filmic’. They create a fiction
through which we can more colourfully play out the scenario that
some call ‘life’.

In urging us to take the headphones, Łukasz Jastrubczak
is promising to transport us into an imaginary realm, to trigger a
meandering stream of associations. Yet he is showing us a tautology.
Like Joseph Kossuth, who juxtaposed an actual chair, a picture of a
chair and a printed definition of the word ‘chair’, Jastrubczak shows
us an actual instrument, from which a sound is produced, and headphones
that are presumably intended for listening to a sound that is
not present in a given acoustic reality. In the headphones, however,
we hear an afterimage of the sound we heard a moment before in
reality.

Is Jastrubczak’s work an invitation to listen intently to the
essence of the sound and to reflect on the distance that separates
us from its real dimension as mediated by the device? Does
the sound appear more tangible when mediated, more spatially
grounded (in the spatial fiction of the headphones)? Do the
headphones that form a cage for the sound not overly facilitate our
pursuit of that sound, our intense listening as we wander around
the irregularities of the architecture?
Maciej Janicki