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Living things: Sound and Physical Presence as Measures of Musical Agency and Immersion in Apophänie by Rama Gottfried

Johannes Bernet

Nuove Musiche Numero 5 - 2018, pagine: 33-51
DOI 10.12871/9788833395373 | @ Pisa University Press 2021
Pubblicato: 20 settembre 2021


This article explores the relationship between visual and sonic as well as technological and performative aspects in Rama Gottfried’s piece Apophänie (2016/17) by focusing on the notions of musical agency and immersion. In Apophänie, which can be described as an abstract miniature puppet theatre, three performers act out scenes with small semi-abstract puppets onstage. In a complex technical setup these miniature scenes are filmed in close-up by a camera and then projected onto a large screen while a computer software generates sounds triggered by the visual input. This technical setup thus functions as a musical instrument “played” by the performers. Through the close connection between visual and sonic events the audience encounters an immersive microscopic world that conveys a strong sense of liveliness and spatial depth. The article considers notions of musical agency and immersion with regard to compositional, performative, technological and narrative structures in Apophänie and their relationship with technological as well as perceptual notions of reading and writing. By introducing the concept of immersion through experiential realism, abstract narrative and spatial cues as well as relationships between real and fictional worlds are considered. The article thus reflects on the multifaceted technological and narrative structures in Apophänie, arguing that the piece ultimately appears both as an immersive environment and as a reflective medium of its inherent technological, medial and perceptual processes.

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