GRAF brings you the programme of contemporary art in Catalonia. The agenda that combines all agendas.


Venue: Fundació Antoni Tàpies
Aragó, 255
08007 Barcelona
Price: 560€

With Hanne Darboven, Brian Eno, Lluïsa Espigolé, Laia Estruch, Jaume Ferrete, Raquel Friera, Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, Tom Johnson, Susan Philipsz, Octavi Rumbau, Terre Thaemlitz and Erica Wise, among others.

Interval is an essay about listening contexts. The Western musical tradition of the last two centuries (dominated by the music that calls itself enlightened) has attempted to neutralise and obliterate listening contexts. According to that tradition, listening to music is only possible and is only fulfilled through absolute concentration, and surrounded by the strictest silence. Silence is the only appropriate context for listening to music, a context that is rather a non-context, an (ideal) absence of context. But the truth is that in the act of listening to music one is always surrounded by other things: surrounded, for example, by noise (noise, as Jacques Attali says, is a constant manifestation of life). And those other things that occur in the listening context not only condition our attitude to listening – they do not only have a psychological effect –, but transform music itself. In the digital age, says Peter Szendy, the listener alters music, operates upon it digitally, i.e., numerically (with digits), but also with fingers, just as the DJ modifies a rotating vinyl by touching it with his hands. It is, therefore, an act of listening that plays.

When music enters the contemporary art museum, and becomes what is called Sound Art, it abandons that neutral listening context. And yet, as if in compensation, it wants to be presented as a work of art. The physical support, the theatrical or performative dimensions, the score, recording, documentation (whatever its nature) are then highlighted. In short, the context is magnified, but it is precisely a listening context. It is often thought that the museum is not an ideal place for listening, and this is perhaps why headphones proliferate in galleries (as they proliferate, for example, in public transport).

The condition of possibility of Interval is the Fundació Antoni Tàpies as a listening context. And predicated upon this condition is the question of not only how music sounds in the museum, but the sound of the museum itself. The proposal consists of sound installations, lectures, concerts and a series of radio programmes.