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Tonnetz 09-B (2010)

António de Sousa Dias


Between the idea of the series and the work in construction, the installation Tonnetz09-B reveals the inquiry carried out over the past few years by António de Sousa Dias into the convergence between music and the image.

Based on the concept of the tone network (Tonnetz in German), the work reinterprets several themes that were essential to the birth of contemporary art, such as the relationship between sound attributes (pitch, timbre, sound source movement) and visual attributes (form, texture, colour, luminosity) or the dilution of harmonic and tonal paradigms. In this respect, besides its theoretical links to Euler and Riemann, Tonnetz09-B can evoke the work of composers such as Scriabin and Schoenberg, or the painting of Kandinsky, linking these historical references to an updated reflection on the synesthetic and technological dimension of the work of art in interactive contexts.
Conceived as a navigable musical space, the installation configures an immersive environment structured via two intercommunicating systems – a sound-generating motor and a motor that creates images – which are in a continuous state of interference. These two interdependent processes mark out an abstract and diffuse field that encourages a subjective reading by the spectator, who, in an extreme case, could reject the chance to interact with the work, choosing to allow himself to be led by the programmed environment instead of conditioning the musical and visual modelling. In any situation, identical actions can give rise to different effects, which links the idea of unpredictability to the continuously mutating nature of space. The unlikelihood of repetition thereby dispels the factor of recognition that Adorno considered to be essential to musical perception and guarantees the uniqueness of each experience. Perhaps for this reason, the artist designates it as a space of freedom.

Helena Barranha 

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