The installations Stochastic Generator (presented at ELLEPHANT) and Servitudes (presented at OBORO) share an approach that shifts between the desire to control a system and the desire to relinquish control. While a sound event would normally unfold in linear time, interactivity short-circuits the way the sound is received, and despite their degree of autonomy, the works serve the will of their viewers. The elements of randomness in Jean-Pierre Gauthier’s installations spark interactions, echoes, variations, and arrangements. These dynamics are similar to improvisation, which is an important part of the artist's sound practice, where the freedom to be inspired by and respond to the immediate constitutes a precious kind of servitude.
Originally scheduled to take place in April and May 2020, Jean-Pierre Gauthier’s exhibition Stochastic Generator & Servitudes had to be postponed due to the physical distanciation measures related to COVID-19. The artist and OBORO offer you a video preview of his installation Stochastic Generator, which Gauthier redesigned so that visitors can activate it without any hand contact.
“In mathematics as in music, a stochastic process involves at least one random variable. Stochastic Generator is akin to a music box in the form of an interactive game-of-chance console; its randomness lies in the composition being partially in the hands of the public. Turning the machine’s handles produces analog sounds that are transmitted to, then modulated by digital audio programming inspired by generative music. Three distinct tracks start to drift, overlap, and intertwine in an acousmonium of ABS tubes. In the small gallery, high frequencies dangle from the ceiling, while the low frequencies are built up from the floor in a spatialized intimacy. By activating handles, kinetic sensors, and coloured buttons, the viewer takes an active part in the random nature of the arrangement, subverts the system, produces accidents, and becomes a performer. As sound waves become increasingly abstracted from their source, the gallery fills with the murmurings of otherworldly sparrows and whistles of mysterious blackbirds.”
- Charlotte Lalou Rousseau, excerpt from the Stochastic Generator & Servitudes exhibition essay