Collaboration with Jackie Gallant
Video Installation, 7:00, 2007
“Many artists developed systems or took on languages to structure their compositions. For this score, Nelson Henricks chose to appropriate English musical notation, which uses letters from A to G to identify the notes of the scale. In combining these letters to make words like CAGE, FACE, DEAD or BED, he simultaneously offers up a semantic and melodic suite. He enriches this double reading with images that clarify or divert the sense(s) of the word. For each tableau, letters appears one after another, creating a rhythm supported by a grid in which coloured squares blink on and off. The enumeration of simple words accompanied by images is reminiscent of children’s books, in which every expression carries multiple cultural connotations. In borrowing from didactic forms, the artist brings to light the gap between when is “shown” and what is “said”, the space between images and language, or between sound and words.
“Henricks composition borrows heavily from conventional notation (pitch and duration of notes, rhythm). In her composition, Jackie Gallant had to respond to this constraint. In combining programmed sequences with instruments she could play in a more organic way, like the guitar or electric bass, she has adopted a form which allows for the insertion of distancing shift. Thus the piece begins by respecting notes rather faithfully only to subsequently move away from them until it reaches a kind of disintegration of formal ties. In the end, the piece brings about a resolution by revisiting its structure. The choice to inscribe the performance in a rock idiom responds particularly well to this dynamic. Though often associated with rebellion, this musical style paradoxically operates within a rather strict and conservative form. It is as though rules were created only to be transgressed. In her own way, Jackie Gallant, responds to Nelson Henricks’ proposal by creating a split between the score and the music. She thus plays of the flexible space between with is ‘dictated’ and what is ‘heard’.” (Sébastien Cliche)