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You may or may not be

Ex-Galerie Barbazanges
26 Franklin D. Roosevelt Ave., Paris
March 8, 2015

Musique d’Ameublement is perhaps one of Erik Satie’s boldest compositions, a seminal work for a wide range of modern and contemporary music styles and theories, as well as sound art and design. The composition was first played during the interludes of Max Jacob’s play Ruffian toujours, truand jamais. It was Satie's purpose to merge, with his particular humour and irony, the music with the environment. The programme for the Parisian Barbazanges gallery—where the composition was premiered on March 8, 1920— states:

“We urge you to take no notice of it and to behave during the intervals as if it did not exist. This music…claims to make a contribution to life in the same way as a private conversation, a painting in a gallery, or the chair on which you may or may not be seated" (Gillmor: 1988).

To mark the 95th anniversary of this event, six sound artists and composers were invited to reflect on the evolution and functions of music within a specific space. The sound compositions were displayed on portable devices on March 8, 2015, on the façade of the ex-Galerie Barbazanges, in Paris.

While time is the composer’s canvas, a specific device containing music also becomes a living sculpture, revealed only by the audience. Hence, the space for which the music is intended also becomes an instrument, as Satie playfully envisioned in Musique d’Ameublement.

Celebrating Satie's life and work, "You may or may not be" examines the evolving essence of music and its relationships with public space in the same way that a recording does: “a limited set of sounds that can nonetheless have a variable relationship in the environment in which they are played” (Pisaro: 2009).

Participants: Ricardo Arias, Samuel Holloway, Marinos Koutsomichalis, Matthew Shlomowitz, Rogelio Sosa, Jonathan Zorn.


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