URSULA NISTRUP

Patterns of Dissonance, Sorø 2014

 

Series of six Silkscreen prints, 74 cm x 104 cm
Edition 2+1


The six silkscreen patterns - Pattern of Dissonance - are generated by using a hundred-year-old technique called cymatics. The technique uses the vibration of a tone to bring material into motion. For these patterns a tone generator was attached to a metal plate with sand. The generator played a tone whose vibrations made the sand form a pattern. Each silk print consists of two patterns, printed on top of each other. Each pattern corresponds to one tone. The two tones in each print have a six half-tone interval between them. The interval is called a Tritone. Tritones were once banned in European music history due to their disharmonious character.
They were also banned by the Church in the Middle Ages because it was believed that, while harmonies were the most direct way to communicate with God ,disharmonies communicated with, or were used to worship, the Devil.
A set of six Riso prints accompanies this series. These show examples of well-known – famous and infamous - music composed with tritones as a main component. Furthermore, they testify to the importance of disharmony for the development of blues music, which constitutes the basis for contemporary rock and pop music.

 

The tritone A-Eb appears in the blues composition Me and the Devil
Blues (1937) by the legendary blues musician Robert Johnson. In the
lyrics, Johnson expresses the belief that he had an evil mind and a
sense that some evil power outside himself – the Devil – was
responsible for his violent behavior towards his woman. In the song,
the narrator wakes up one morning to the Devil knocking on his door,
telling him “it’s time to go”. The narrator does not seem to be
repentant of his actions and ends the song by singing “You may
bury my body …So my old evil spirit can catch a Greyhound bus
and ride”.

The plant Indigofera tinctoria offers an etymological explanation for
the origin of the “blues”. The plant was used by many West African
cultures in death and mourning ceremonies in which all the mourner’s
garments were dyed blue to indicate suffering. This mystical association
with the indigo plant, grown in many southern US slave plantations,
combined with the West African slaves who sang of their suffering as
they worked on the cotton that the indigo dyed – is thought to be the
origin of the term ‘the Blues’.

 

 

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