Zeynep Toraman
composition | media arts | theory
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Damaged Equally; everyone spoke too fast [solo violin and electronics] | 2019
Written for and Premiered by Lauren Cauley in Cambridge, MA





Still working with the idea of musical form as a form of repetition in mind: This work for solo violin explores an implicit aspect of the way loops are utilized in my work, always with the intention of going beyond simple repetition. Thus I search for a form in which each repetition yields either a deficit or a surplus of material, (Yuk Hui’s 2019 book, Recursivity and Contingency, only recently came to my attention. By then I had already finished working on this piece, but I was still preoccupied with many thoughts on self-organizing/self-organicizing structures. Hui’s ideas move recursion away from being an act of “mere repetition.” He instead proposes a model that incorporates growth and variation, “where every loop is different as the process moves generally towards an end, whether a closed one or an open one.” (Geert Lovink, Cybernetics for the Twenty-First Century: An Interview with Philosopher Yuk Hui)) offering a repetitive process which grows from within. (A method which Hui holds perhaps analogous to a process of individuation?). With this attitude in mind, I designed this piece to resemble a semi-open cosmos begging to be perceived, never to be deciphered, and asking to be heard with an ear which is always searching for and finding connections, and tracing the echoes and coincidences that occur in the processes of listening and re-listening. In other words, the structure of the piece was initially laid out with the intention of discovering many connections through my own process of composition, hopefully leading to the discovery of many more relationships in each listening through the piece's implicit acts of gathering and organizing.

Or in an alternate world: This piece was born of my fascination with Blonde Redheads’s song, For the Damaged Coda - their quasi-homage to Chopin’s Nocturne in F Minor, Op. 55 No. 1, which set off my own quest to compose a ‘dense rendering’ of Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003. My wish for a laconic practice (once again referencing Jalal Toufic here, especially his reading of Nietzsche) propels me to work with many layers of materials and ideas patched together to render the materials complex, to render them opaque. The musical form then suggests a path to travel though this serpentine structure, with its constant switches between organic/inorganic/organized/unorganized modes of being.

Once again coming back to Lewis Carrol, this time recalling lines from Through the Looking-Glass 
- for many more crossing-overs to come:

“The glass was beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist.

In another moment Alice was through the glass.” 


With many thanks to  Lauren Cauley.