Mattin, Performance, N. K. Projekt, Berlin, September 6, 2015, Anti-Copyright, photo: Glen Schena

In the desire to explore noise and improvisation in social and political terms, Mattin, along with publishing books, sets up situations for the “exhibition as concert.” This took form, for example, as an improvised concert lasting for two months at the CAC Brétigny in 2010. Thoughts on the exhibition:

Going through different degrees of intensity, nothing has remained static; the production and reception took place simultaneously. By collapsing formats, the potential different usages of the noun noise have been explored, rather than simply perpetuating noise as a musical genre. Playing with different levels of visibility and invisibility, some activities were more formal than others. Interventions by different people took on different forms. A continuously generated performance program, an open invitation to improvise with the material conditions of the exhibition.

Historically, noise—in its many forms—has disrupted established codes, orders, discourses, habits and expectations, aesthetics and moralities. Noise has the potential to exceed the logic of framing, by either being too much, too complex, too dense and difficult to decode, or too chaotic to be measured. On first encounter, noise has the power to suspend values of judgment, such as good or bad, right or wrong—to think of it in moral or ethical terms seems ridiculous. With its epistemic violence, noise brings into crisis the division between activity and passivity, between knowing and feeling. In this awareness and in our incapacity to decipher it, noise exposes our alienated condition and questions our own subjective position. Could it be then that the practice of noise and of improvisation may help us to understand or even counter the level of commodification that our lives have reached? Can we use noise as a form of praxis going beyond established audience/performer relationships? Can we push self-reflexivity to the point of positive feedback?

Mattin, born in 1977 in Bilbao, is an artist whose work responds to the social and economic conditions of experimental music production through live performance, recordings, and writings. Throughout, he investigates the parameters of improvisation, notably the notion of freedom, to test the genre’s very conventions, to make noise. For Mattin, improvisation does not merely entail an interaction between musicians and their instruments but recognizes all the other elements that make up a concert situation. He performs to provoke and to politicize the relations between the active player and the passive audience, transgressing what is understood to be the body of the audience itself, disrupting and constructing its terms anew.

—Pierre Bal-Blanc


Posted in Public Exhibition
Excerpted from the documenta 14: Daybook

Social Dissonance

by Mattin with Dafni Krazoudi, Danai Liodaki, Ioannis Sarris, and Eleni Zervou

Social Dissonance Score:

Listen carefully.

The audience is your instrument, play it in order to practically understand how we are generally instrumentalized.

Prepare the audience with concepts, questions…