deconstruction - an invitation to business professionals

part 1 -

my interest in deconstruction began during graduate work at northern arizona university, with dr. bruce reiprich lightly guiding me to devise meaning to the concept. as I launched myself towards architectural design, philosophy and ideology, I began to discover many obvious parallels between architecture and composition, particularly in regards to form and function. contemporary architects such as frank gehry I found most intriguing; his approach, his process, and particularly his results. in much of his earlier work, there was a conscious dealings with the disqualities of structure, the imperfections of a given form. he would bring these disqualities to the forefront, the ultimate presentation of that structure often seeming ugly and problematic. looking at one of his final drafts or models, one might get the impression that the space he created is dangerous, so much so to consider occupying it. this is true particularly some of his earlier work - picture a courtyard with a large brick wall leaning slightly inward, towards the center of the courtyard, held precariously erect by a 2x4 leaning in the opposing direction. clearly your attention is drawn to the wall. he has succeeded in his goal. your attention is drawn to the imperfection. structurally sound as it may be, and the function of the wall is serving its purpose: division, privacy, separation. but the wall is causing an emotional response as well. the typical hush of a wall is not only disquieted by its angle, but its perceived weakness is magnified by the presence of the 2x4 seemingly positioned to support it.

my first year in graduate school was spent contemplating this concept: structure serving its purpose, but obscuring structural integrity. by diverting a listeners perception away from clarity of form, structure and stability, pointing their attention instead, to inherent 'disquiet' of a piece, how does this affect the listener's experience?
thumbing through the notebooks i kept as i struggled with these ideas hypothesis (that deconstruction can be explored sonically), i ran across a scribbled page or so of mark wigley’s explanation of deconstruction [as it pertains to architecture]:

"…having produced this basic structure, the architect then elaborates it into a final design in a way that preserves its purity. any deviation from structural order, any impurity, is seen as threatening the formal values of harmony, unity and stability, and is therefore insulated from the structure by being treated as mere ornament. Architecture is a conservative discipline that produces pure form and protects it from contamination. the projects in this exhibition [deconstructivist architecture] mark a different sensibility, one in which the dream of pure form has been disturbed. form has become contaminated. the dream has become a kind of nightmare. it is the ability to disturb our thinking about form that makes these projects deconstructive. it is not that they derive from the mode of contemporary philosophy known as deconstruction…they are not an application of deconstructive theory. rather, they emerge from the architectural tradition and happen to exhibit some deconstructive qualities. deconstruction itself, however, is often misunderstood as the taking apart of constructions. consequently, and provocative architectural design which appears to take structure apart – whether it be a simple breaking of an object, or the complex dissimulation of an object into a collage of traces has been hailed as deconstructive. these strategies have produced some of the most formidable projects of recent years, but remain simulations of deconstructive work in other disciplines because they do not exploit the unique condition of the architectural object. * Deconstruction is not demolition or dissimulation. while it diagnoses certain structural problems within apparently stable structures, these flaws do not lead to the structures collapse. on the contrary, deconstruction gains all its force by challenging the very values of harmony, unity and stability, and proposing instead a different view of structure: the view that the flaws are intrinsic to the structure. they cannot be removed with out destroying it; they are indeed structural. a deconstructive architect is therefore not one who dismantles buildings, but one who locates the inherent dilemmas within buildings. the deconstructive architect puts the pure forms of the architectural tradition on the couch and identifies symptoms of repressed impurity-drawn to the surface by a combination of gentle coaxing and violent torture. the form is interrogated."

i wrote a piece called Mobile No. 1 (2000), which utilizes an interpreted form of a constructed mobile (form), scored for a solo percussionist playing metalophones, found sound and water. the piece was performed only once, and I was not pleased with the results. however, I was excited about the method beginning to develop using the concepts adopted from the likes of frank gehry as they related to musical form. having used tangible form - a mobile - created difficulties in relating ideas into an overall shape that was constantly metamorphosing. form is naturally obscured as a mobile moves. naturally, one performance of a piece designed to emulate a mobile couldn’t possibly present that. you would have to hear a number of performances in a row to compare the subtle variations, angles and viewpoints in form. this is when i began thinking about improvisation as a means to create form through process...

...and so began my discovery of improvising. chicago has been a wonderful place to develop these ideas. though i didn't realize this for some time, i have utilized this deconstructive approach in almost all of my musical endeavors. The process is the same, but the context has become more complicated, subtle and undermining. more ahead...