Seth Ayyaz
Visiting Artist (Salims Salon)

Seth Ayyaz ist Komponist und Performer. Seine Arbeit umfasst Live-Elektronik, freie Improvisation, Noise, elektroakustische und Instrumentalmusik mit Nay (Längsflöte), Ghaita (Rohrflöte) sowie Darbuka und Daf (Handpercussion).
Ayyaz studierte am Fachbereich für Akusmatik an der City University in London. Seine Arbeiten wurden international präsentiert, u. a. auf dem World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (Finnland), Cafe Oto (London), Kunsthalle Luzern (Schweiz), Irtijal Festival (Beirut) sowie MaerzMusik (Berlin). Seth Ayyaz war Kurator des MazaJ Festival (London 2010) für experimentelle Musik aus dem Nahen Osten.

What makes artistic collaboration work?

A tricky and rather saturated question – what work does artistic collaboration do? With the turn towards ‘sonic art’ (as opposed to ‘music’) we have a trend emphasising the conceptual over the perceptual, for example as discussed by Kim-Cohen who locates sonic practices within the purview of art through a Duchampian position. However, the historic origins of art might be considered as a kind of ‘hustle’ taking place in the Renaissance that elevated and reified practices, allowing artisans to access status and resource. This might be balanced by the non-institutional framing of art (pre-art as autonomous practice) recapturing that aesthetically constructed objects exert force and agency as theorized by the anthropologist Alfred Gell in 1998.

For me, the work that artistic collaborations are concerned with is to produce the sonic/music that might be understood as exerting accumulated activity with the purpose of doing something, rather than as an aesthetic regimen focusing on Kantian ‘disinterested’ subjectivity. Sonic arts might capture and trap the force of objects, structuring environments and constructing a fixity that can be used, quite literally, for leverage. Rather than distilling (fictitious) Platonic ideals, this invokes a Socratic method where the success of a work or a collaboration rests on the degree to which it exerts agency in its vicinity, creating sonic assemblages that take an activist and activating stance.

How important is the context, in which you perform, to you?

Essential. I am interested in work that is some sort of critical tension with the contexts from which it arises. But these contexts are very general and generative (think of Bruno Latours’ actor-networks or the agency of things discussed by object-oriented philosophy). Any performance will lay on a spectrum between permeability to its immediate contexts through to stark discontinuity.

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