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In the middle of Oklahoma, at the intersection of E1280 Road and County Street 2550, lies a small town called „Nowhere“. The name of the place originates from a cynical comment made about where the town is situated – in the middle of endless plains, withouth any marks of industrial civilisation in sight. Yet it stuck as the official town name. If you stumble upon Nowhere, OK while perusing an atlas, you'll be bound to stop for a moment. You'll experience an uneasy feeling, a sense that every corner of the earth has been mapped, catalogued and managed from above – even „nowhere“. In other words: a feeling that no place on this planet can escape the ordering gaze of the satellite. nowhere, OK is an attempt to find a line of flight, a praxis of invisibility that doesn't register on the radar of this systematising gaze; that builds bridges, communicates and enables collective thinking.
Felix Nussbaumer (IT), Nelly Jüsten (DE) and Aya Masui (JP) interpret splinters of scored material and connect them into tightly knit sonic relations through their highly attentive and idiosyncratic improvisational practice. A sense of unresolved ambiguity arises in response to the question of which material was pre-determined, and which emerged from the process of navigation through sonic constellations.
The compositions question the notion of linear pieces by not determining formal structures – instead, musicians are confronted with various sonic constructs, towards which they can navigate at any given moment. Thus, a „navigational“ communication emerges, that renders it possible to manipulate and connect static postions or „places“ within a praxis of dynamic, intelligent interplay.
The three performers move between acoustic interplay on their respective instruments and an interdependent electronic way of playing: while one person determines which samples from our field recording archive will be played, another person processes them. This way of interplaying gives each performer power over the others’ musical material. The use of an analog radio generates different sound material depending on the geographical location of the performance; this extends the group’s discourse around themes of unpredictability and site-specific art.
Driving along these country roads in the middle of a flat landscape feels uneasy. The places are bursting with emptiness, you can't see a living soul, yet everything (and every nothing) you see has been shaped, carefully put there. All the vegetation is controlled, all the lawns and plains are mowed and either decoratively lined with trees or used for agriculture.
nowhere is not really one place, it's kind of unevenly distributed in landscapes and territories, between big, populated cities and recognizable landmarks, in spaces where the grid of cardinal directions is always at a slightly odd angle to the walls of the houses that just sit there, uncannily fallen out of time, like they were built for an eternity that was only going to exist there, nowhere.
nowhere is a hyper-place that emerges from the habitual and excessive practices of extended agricultural and market systems - it's excessive because it combs specific places according to certain industrial logics, but leaves them vacated and empty-feeling - they get subsumed into this vastly distributed hyper-nowhere-ness.
nowhere is also not mine. once it becomes mine, once it becomes part of my coordinate system, it's somewhere. Somewhere can't have unexplained houses and squares and shops and museums and temples sticking out of it, they have to be neatly tucked into the object we construct to explain and talk about that place we know.
nowhere has a temporary and spectral quality about it, but you can feel it. It has to do with colonization, subsumption. In this sense, we can't really make art about nowhere, because we always „create places“, that - upon repetition - we already have a personal relation to. What this means, that locating nowhere in art is always a process of finding the spaces in between, the spaces of navigation that aren't on the map yet. We can't really point to nowhere, we can only cross it and be engulfed by it's nowhere-ness, let it colonize and subsume us.
This change from human scale to a system of nuclear matrices is visible everywhere: this body, our body, often appears simply superflous, basically useless in its extension, in the multiplicity and complexity of its organs, its tissues and functions, since today everything is concentrated in the brain and in genetic codes, which alone sum up the operational definition of being. The countryside, the immense geographic countryside, seems to be a deserted body whose expanse and dimensions appear arbitrary (and which is boring to cross even if one leaves the main highways), as soon as all events are epitomized in the towns, themselves undergoing reduction to a few miniaturized highlights.
[Jean Baudrillard, "The Ecstasy of Communication"]