About the archival publication

At the end of 2018, Varia was approached by De Player with the proposal to work on an archival project that aimed to represent the archive which was compiled during the last two years of their Pushing Scores project. De Player showed a specific interest in the development of an accessible, dynamic digital environment that could be used to create new relations, perspectives and, at its best, concepts for the production of new graphic scores. Varia, as a space with a shared body of knowledge in archiving, everyday technology, experimental music and digital media took De Player up on their offer.

A sensitive aspect of constructing archives lays in classification. The issues that classification can produce sometimes take a while to be noticed. The very fact that archives are usually meant for transmission means that the taxonomy influences the way in which we look at things retrospectively. Taxonomy conditions access and context for the future viewer. Any classification scheme operates as a cultural code of interpretation, a set of rules for ordering that is embedded in our language. Interpretation is also an integral aspect of graphic score making, but one that is rarely standardized.

Inspired by De Player's long-term commitment to experimentation and refusal to standardize, we decided to use 'unstructured' data, meaning text that has not yet been made legible to machines, also called 'natural language' in computational frameworks. Our efforts went towards building a structure from the idiosyncratic vocabulary used by De Player itself to describe the entries in the archive; a sort of Vernacular Language Processing. Rather than establishing a scale of most or least important words, all of them provide the user with the possibility to access other content, without distinction. Navigation is thus based on subjective association and drifting.

The data generated on each user's navigation is not collected but temporarily stored with the sole purpose of generating text based graphic scores which can be then downloaded. Only if a user choses to download their score, a copy of this score will be saved for De Player to keep within their archive.


About Pushing Scores

Pushing Scores is a two-year artistic research project, initiated by De Player and graphic designer Remco van Bladel. Throughout 2016 and 2018, this project researched the phenomenon of notation and the graphic representation of music. It unfolded through a nomadic program which included the creation of newly commissioned artworks and public events addressing contemporary questions and issues in this particular field.

What are the possibilities of graphic scores, in a day and age in which graphic notation is still usually seen as a ‘drawing’ serving as some kind of sheet music? In an attempt to redefine this concept, De Player compiled a programme in which artists, musicians, theoreticians and practitioners were invited to participate. The collective goal was to develop and present new audio-visual and media-technical forms of graphic notation through artistic research and development. Based on our compilation of the most contemporary and innovative graphic notation practices in the fields of music, sound art, performance art, e-culture, new-media art, graphic design and media design, De Player introduced artists and designers from various creative disciplines to a national and international audience, with the goal of collectively developing new forms of graphic notation.

The incentive for this project is the belief that graphic notation in 20th Century avant-garde music and sound art constitutes an important, still radically innovative but wrongfully marginalised form, which can play a key role in the development of new audio-visual languages and media. De Player's ambition, and that of their collaborating partners, was to emancipate graphic notation from the confines of the modernist tradition, in such a way that it may remain an innovative and provocative medium for decades to come. This archival web publication was generated out of this research. For an overview of the collection that is making up this website, see below.


Colophon

Interface design and development – Cristina Cochior and Julie Boschat Thorez (Varia members)
Content – De Player
Copy Editor – Isabelle Sully
Fonts – Steps Thin Mono by Jean-Baptiste Morizot and Raphaël Bastide & Compagnon by Juliette Duhé, Léa Pradine, Valentin Papon, Chloé Lozano, Sébastien Riollier
Funding – This project was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Creative Industries Fund

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