Imaginary Persona: C/A

MusicOctober 3, 2018
Imaginary Persona: C/A

To create a dialogue, one needs to know the other. Anonymous post-genre music duo c/a believes otherwise. They are creating post-genre music, experimenting fields such as audio, visuals and mixed reality. They quickly became the pioneers of Magical Digitalism. The creative duo caught our eye with their performance at Sonar Istanbul, collaboration with Digilogue. And now they are getting ready to perform at Today’s Art festival sponsored by Digilogue. Digilogue is a platform, helping creative minds to change present and future with giving chance to researchers, innovators and business leaders to show their creative self, learn new skills, networks and showcase their projects. And c/ a is the perfect example. They showcased their performance called Hyper_hologram, a body of work which is a mixture of live shows and reality performances by two creative humans who are best friends. c/ a is using the context of magical digitalise which is incorporates with the applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning. For them, to be unknown means freedom and having an identity. The masks they wear isn’t for hiding who they are but for their audience to connect just with their creations. Now it is your turn to meet c/a!

What does identity mean to you?

Ideologically what we are, is to create an identity stripped of any sort of dependency or reference. We very swiftly realized that this could serve us to create a much more intimate dialogue emerging from an irony, which in this scenario is a distance which eliminates the possibility of an expectation. We didn’t want to stick to a situation but to construct everything from its language to its rules. If we didn’t have this fictional medium we would lack the freedom and detached state when creating. Nowadays, technology around us creates and alters personas more than anything, with the more in-life use of technology the biggest danger we might face is the loss of humane connection therefore individuality and uniqueness. We constantly talk about algorithms that define and forge us, such as social roles, family, education and so on. Imagine sitting in front of a piano to write a piece of music, within the framework of your creativity, your identity plays a huge role and obviously leaks into your creativity. A rather bland example would be that, the day you write a song you can say that, perhaps everything you ever saw and heard [perhaps that very day or week might play a bigger role] Within the concept of identity, it’s almost like studying it so that one can shake it off while always treasuring individuality and uniqueness. One point of view on this, which we like, is by Yann LeCun, he simply states what we do in life is to ‘fill in the blanks’.

What kind of freedom and limitations being an anonymous duo brings?

The most important positive aspect of it is that we have a full control over the platform of dialogue. Only a few really close friends and business contacts know who we are. We just like the freedom of walking away from any unwanted situation. People come to talk after shows and we have great chats and it feels sincere and that felt true to us. Also, it certainly is much more interesting to stick around anonymously, imagine putting out something to the world and you won’t have any biases by the previous work you put out as an artist, you get the most honest reaction. It just feels good to be a nobody as C / A becomes an entity of its own. One thing we don’t enjoy so far is that sometimes it becomes a hassle for people around us and it feels kind of cheeky being so cautious during soundcheck and so on. People usually ask about the reasons why we are wearing masks on the stage and simply there is not a single ‘this is why’ One is that, purely intuitively, we simply didn’t want to perform or to be seen on the stage as who we are. At some point, we must have felt that everything about us could be left off to avoid any kind of link to a referential point or interface, our faces would be the biggest one so we decided to wear abstracted forms of our faces as well. So figuratively, it is not a ‘mask’.

As an artist of new media, how would you interpret the ecosystem built by platforms such as Digilogue?

We think it is brilliant and quite valuable for a few reasons. One is that, certain new advancements in technology are always shrouded within the academia. Partly because the plain truth is not always very exciting, general press is not fully informative as well – for example when it comes to particular topics such as AI, it’s rather over-hype which raises the expectations which later on ends up with disappointments or the opposite mass murdering robot overlords nonsense all of the time. So, we certainly need platforms that inform and collide worlds and people such as science and art, research and the masses. Also, creating and displaying works of new media requires more resource than classical arts. You can buy oil paint by evening and perhaps create the most beautiful painting over night. But these Works of new media are usually quite established in terms technology utilized, therefore require a certain amount of support which platforms such as Digilogue marvelously makes sure to turn to reality.

How would you define the movement of “Magical Digitalism” based on audio, visuals and mixed reality?

It is a fictional framework and artistic style we took on during the making of HYPER_HOLOGRAM. It is a word play of Magical Realism [a genre of narrative fiction and, more broadly, art that, while encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements] which we took and altered to magical digitalism. We were inspired by the shift and interpolation of certain dualities such real and artificial, digital and analog. This new concept we created served us as a perfect frame for us to convey our ideas that evolve around the concept of marvels lie within the places which we previously thought were soulless or boringly concrete.

How do your works stand out among other artists who blend visuals and music?

A vast majority of c / a performances are composed of audio visualizations within a conceptual framework and even though ours share certain common ground as the front-end medium is essentially not so different, we would like to think that with the incorporation of elements such as text, a relatively abstract flow and narrative we hope to deliver a profound, almost philosophical layer. We want to speak to something that even might be called post-human. One bizarre and beautiful moment we had in our first show was a crowd response to a statement written on the visuals, it just seemed to move people and at that moment we realized we could move what we wanted to move. We think HYPER_HOLOGRAM is an experience you attend to and witness from start to end, almost like a movie.

Hyper_hologram offers the audience the applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in magical digitalism. What did you pay attention to while choosing the visuals to create a harmony for the theme of “Hyper_hologram?”

Actually, it all came out pretty natural. We obviously are quite close friends and spend a lot of time together. Therefore, we can say that it somehow became a mark in time of everything we thought about and got into within the time period. The flow of the show was the aspect of it which we spent the most time with studying it, one of is considerably into poetics of cinema a lot and now thinking about it, it seems like this singular point of view took it to the next level. During the making of it, we had a video file which served us like a sketchbook with notes, we would just update the video file with ideas for visuals, references and bounce it back and forth between each time. Then, this video sketchbook became the work itself. Also, a few weeks ago, a strange idea occurred to one of us; what if this project was a teaser as well, for every possible idea or path we’ll discover in the future, an artistic output growing like a fractal.

We closely experience speed and chaos in your work titled Hyper_ hologram which received city images from hyper_land. How would you define it to someone who’s never experienced it?

For us it is a next level of romanticism. HYPER_LAND was basically a title for a set of notes which evolved to a major thought print. In England, a majority of romantic painters focused on landscape with a concern of one’s relationship with nature. Imagining a new reality or a dream of a new place is very romantic, whether a hilltop across or a computer simulation. To someone who hasn’t visit the place, it perhaps can be described as a place where one discovers the true changes within and discover the beauty in them. One more thing, in HYPER_LAND we offer free strawberry milkshakes (laughs).

Your Hyper_hologram performance, which you staged at Sonar Istanbul for the first time with Digilogue’s support, will be a part of TodaysArt Festival. How did it happen?

We wanted to start moderately big instead of playing at clubs to 25 people and then progressing from that. The reason behind that is that we felt like, this performance without certain criteria met [as simple as a decent projector, light/fx and sound system] just wouldn’t do justice to the work we had in mind, we don’t want to look snobbish but we just wouldn’t do it at all otherwise. After that point, our decision to stay away from all by being anonymous felt like it could get in our way to perform as there literally was nothing we could share or present before the show. But luckily, we knew someone so full of heart who believed that we would deliver something good enough and invited us for a show. Shortly after our show at Sonar, we were invited to perform at TodaysArt and it kind of moved on from there. We can’t wait to play in Netherlands as there also are a lot of other musicians we admire such as Oneohtrix Point Never and Dasha Rush.

Your future plans?

Our current main goal nowadays is to perform HYPER_HOLOGRAM as much as we can. It feels like the work comes to life with all the visuals, lights, high-resolution sound and audience. We are working on two projects, one is a small piece to be premiered at Future Tellers 2018 and second is a new major body of work to be performed around early 2019, at the moment both are heavily in production and research phase. This second major work will utilize many more layers such as an actual game publication. We want to continue finding routes which yet are not discovered or studied to its full extent. Lastly, we are looking for an abandoned mall or a luxury floor at a skyscraper, we’ll turn it to an office for a new company we are in the process of creating in near future. Thx for the interview, see you next time in Istanbul!

Author: Zeynep Sahin