[ISEA95] Artist Statement: Michael Century — Cendres

Artist Statement


This is an experimental work attempting to integrate critical and creative approaches. It is conceived as a collaboration between a performer-composer and a sound theorist who found themselves closely engaged in similar ideas. In the “philosophonics of space”, a paper presented at ISEA 94 by Frances Dyson, she described a new context in which to “hear” a particularily sound-drenched text by Derrida, Cendres (1987). In Cendres, Derrida asks how the traces of being, the cinders still burning in our memories of the Holocaust, still calling within the silence of cultural amnesia, can be made into sound. The same sonic perspective which Dyson explores in her paper had also provided the impetus for Michael Century’s work-in-progress Cendres-Fragments (93-94) for a live pianist, player piano and computer software.

  • Michael Century (Canada) is program director of the Networked Cultural Information Systems (NCIS) group at the Canadian Centre for Information Technology Innovation (CITI). Formerly he worked at the Banff Centre of the Arts, where he founded the media arts program. Classically-trained as a pianist, conductor and historical musicologist, he has performed and produced the music of a wide range of 20th century composers, including Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Berio, Feldman, Cage, and Schafer. His personal work in computer-assisted music performance explores real-time transformation of speech sounds.