Towards a Blue Blur

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From a conversation I had with Eric Laska over the phone, we discussed ideas and challenges of a work-in-progress I had been developing under my moniker Ex Continent titled Sistemes Dintre de Sistemes Dintre de Sistemes. The piece was originally presented at FASE Art Center in L’Hospitalet, Spain but later commissioned by Sonic Acts to be shown at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. During its development some doubts arose about how to properly re-introduce the piece and what my personal expectations would be from presenting it in public.

During February 2020 I took several trips to the UK and Japan where I had the chance to perform as Ex Continent and test some of these ideas. While traveling, my encounter with the other, the unknown influenced the creative process and my relationship with the piece.

The conversation, which starts centered on the nature of the piece eventually becomes self-reflective around the argument that the cognitive processing of everyday life information might possibly affect perception and creative decisions more than we would expect. During the conversation I became uncomfortable with the idea of obsession as a source element for creation. The discussion brought me back to the subject of human perception and my belief that neurological stimulation which happens in the subconscious can sneak into our decision making processes, reinforcing the idea of the artist as a channel for information rather than the source.

As both this project and conversation reflect a work-in-progress, further reflections on this subject are on-going.

The following people were crucial through this process and for that reason I would like to especially thank them:

Violeta Mayoral, Rafa Romero, my mom and brother Pep, Eric Laska, Patricio Rivera and FASE, Dali de Saint Paul, Miguel Prado, Kazumichi Komatsu, Hideki Umezawa, Kazunori Toganoki, Fuyumi Murata and Mumei, Marzia Matarese, the organization folks at Sonic Acts, Stedelijk Museum and all the many technicians and workers at the festival who helped me put the piece together.

Arnau Sala Saez, Barcelona February 2020.

Audio Recordings:

—Fushimi Inari Shrine Ritual (interrupted), Kyoto
—Bristol pre-Concert
—Ex Continent Live Bristol – Excerpt
—Tokyo Central ambiance
—Unknown Performance – Setsubun at Sensō-ji Temple
—Tokyo Central ambiance
—Taito Station, Asakusa
—Ex Continent Live Tokyo – Excerpt
—Pachinko in Asakusa, Tokyo
—Ambiance from Kazumichi Komatsu’s Live set, Tokyo
—Ex Continent Live Tokyo – Excerpt
—Tokyo Subway, Chuo Line
—Ex Continent Live Bristol – Excerpt
—Tokyo Subway, Chuo Line
—Tokyo Mall, Asakusa
—Ex Continent – Sound from installation at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

*Note: I used some of Rafa Romero’s source saxophone improvisations and heavily processed them for a lot of my live recordings used in these performances.

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