To view a fragment of Torcito Project online click here. Artist’s note: The piece requires a director shockwave plugin
Prompted by other reading material, Tom Moody observes today that Marcin Ramock’s Torcito Project provides an update to Cage whereby he instructs a performer to interpret a Marcel Duchamp profile turned 90 degrees as a continuous line of music. Describing Ramock’s piece Moody says,
Imagine a vertical line sweeping the face above. Each time it encounters a darkened pixel, a note from the “general MIDI” list (shown below the portrait) is played. The sweep begins quietly and is cacophonous by the time the cursor reaches the middle of the face. The general MIDI spec is heavy on percussion, so that’s a lot of timbales, cowbells, etc., firing at once. The Albright book credits composer George Antheil, composer of Ballet Mecanique, as a forerunner of Cage in abstracting musical notes from their normal background and function. Ramocki injects the element of kitsch through the use of outmoded software and the somewhat rigid and dated General MIDI assignments of notes to sounds. He has found a way to “play” an entire face, as opposed to just a profile.
Although I’m quite sure this observation has been made elsewhere, Torcito Project also relates to Chuck Close’s photorealist paintings, both in their construction — each using a grid to create the portraits– and their subject, which employs friends of the artists as the sitter. Personally, I’m more interested in Ramocki’s project, if for no other reason than, the fame of the sitters hasn’t yet become an important part of the content. The fact that Close first painted the now famous avant-garde musician Phillip Glass when he was his plumber isn’t a bad piece of trivia, but it’s also not all that interesting as content. The point was that these people should be anonymous, so they wouldn’t interfere with the subject of the paint. Other photorealists also bought into the idea of “the non-hierarchical accumulation of photographically engendered details” though Close largely dodges this subject matter. The cacophony of sound Moody observes around the center of Ramocki’s portrait tells us where the bulk of the visual material is located, but also suggests there is no such thing as non-hierarchical photographic details.