ALPHABET – a cross-aesthetic Inger Christensen concert
As an exploration of video as a literary platform, film composer and sound artist Tao Højgaard, also known as Mute State, has created an audiovisual Inger Christensen concert. A multimodal experience in which the audience becomes both readers, listeners, and observers – a concert where music also reads along… in real-time.
Idea and concept
In front of the canvas and behind the concept and instruments stands film composer and sound artist Mute State, also known as Tao Højgaard, who, through his literary concert, aims to create an equally musical and literary experience. An experience where the audience engages collectively, without compromising the personal experience that arises between the text and the reader. In addition to Tao Højgaard’s deep fascination with Inger Christensen’s lyrical and systemic universe, the two artists are connected by a sensual existential wonder and their great interest in natural scientific phenomena and algorithms. In Tao Højgaard’s case, this interest has recently resulted in a musical translation of the periodic table.
Music also reads along
It’s no secret that Inger Christensen had an affinity for natural science. This fascination and curiosity can be seen in many of her works, especially in her poetry collection Alphabet from 1981, which is structured around the Fibonacci sequence. A sequence found throughout nature, and a sequence that, in addition to forming the golden ratio, now forms the basis for a musical algorithm that can read Inger Christensen’s poems in real-time. Based on the timing dictated by Inger Christensen’s poems and the Western musical scale dictated by the Fibonacci sequence, small intriguing melodies emerge and develop alongside the text. In other words, the music becomes a co-reader as well as a mood co-author.
Presenting literature on a video platform offers new ways for literature to unfold. Everything from font size to the timing and placement of words on the canvas directly affects the meaning that is conveyed. Therefore, each poem is retold with great attention to Inger Christensen’s original layout, but expanded with the possibilities that the video modality offers. An experience that falls somewhere between reading and recitation, as words and sentences seem to arise within the reader themselves. An experience and a sensation supported by the composer, who incorporates the reader’s “thought voice” into the music as the final layer. A technique that makes both text and music an individual experience shared collectively.
In a mute state
Behind the alter ego Mute State is jazz guitarist, film composer, and sound artist Tao Højgaard. He is not an unfamiliar figure in the Danish and European jazz scene, and since the late 1990s, he has sought to reinvent jazz’s playful essence, including by reimagining concert formats in ways that naturally invite other art forms and scientific actors to join the dance. The alter ego is a reference to the state in which music is created and best received.
For more video-literature check out this Vid-Lit short story written by Sofie Kragh-Müller