Experimental Israel’s 17th installation attempts yet again a look into the spectrum from without. In this instance we had the pleasure of hosting the multidisciplinary artist, Ido Govrin. Govrin, an Israeli native currently residing in Toronto, Canada, albeit hailing from the musical or sonic tradition, has made a shift towards inclusion of the plastic or visual arts into his work. His recent pieces veer towards installation, which usually include the coupling of soundscape, text, and a visual element.
To my insistence in recognizing a dogma, ideal or even agenda, Govrin replies in a very clear and thoughtful manner (a mark defining his responses at large): after 15 years of practice, the sonic element alone did not seem to convey Govrin’s ideas to his satisfaction; he simply required more. My attempt at tagging this decision on experimentation reveals itself as futile. Indeed, Govrin is not a stranger to experimentation – he claims it exists in each and every work he produces. The watchword here is to surprise oneself, a concept we have visited in the past.
And indeed, the latter sends us into a conversation that meanders through topics and ideas that would not come as a surprise to those who regularly follow our installations. More interesting than noting the topics themselves, my real point of interest is in noting that Govrin, albeit seeming to work and think on a spectrum much wider than that encompassed by experimentalism, seems to have ingrained its main tenets. Govrin seems like the prime example of how these ideas or ideals represent not a sub-genre, but rather are slowly seeping into artist’s perceptions of their craft at this point in time.
The clearest example of this is in Govrin’s remake (read: homage, reissue, or “cover”) of Duchamp’s 1913 composition, Erratum Musical. Erratum Musical can truly be considered a visionary premonition of music and art to come, from an artist that seems to have managed to do so more than a few times during his lifetime. We are confronted with an open score that, to my knowledge, acts as the first “task-score” presenting an invitation for interpretation. A reading into Govrin’s Erratum immediately explains my difficulty at defining the piece vis-à-vis the Duchamp original. Govrin is not bothered with definitions – he is more concerned with the fact that in the original score there is clearly an invitation present. This, to Govrin, is enough, as the invitation itself serves a means for him to depart from a point he has yet to explore. However, Govrin’s Erratum itself doesn’t evoke memories or even allusions of Duchamp’s original score. The piece attempts to dissect the main questions raised by the original work, and more so – true to the conceptual frame of thought presented by the original, Govrin presents his own solution to a query not directly presented by Duchamp. Hence, Govrin would much rather question the potential meanings a piece such as the original Erratum Musical might have, and present his understandings in a personal fashion.
Accordingly, Govrin’s Erratum acts like a completely original piece with stylistic ties to his own aesthetics. But it manages to do something that I identify with a true ingraining of the original ideas. We are confronted with a soundscape including a quiet progression accompanying a reflective text that attempts making sense of the ideas at the base of the original. And indeed, in accordance with the original, Govrin too realises the importance of presenting an artistic answer to the potential question, which in turn seems to ask some similar questions of its own. Interestingly enough, these questions are not presented by text, or even analysis of hidden meanings. Rather, Govrin takes the discussion back to the realm of aesthetics and tries, through sound, to continue a century old thought-process. I deliberately refuse to present subjective interpretations to the aforementioned sublimation of ideas into aesthetics, but rather prompt the readers to do so themselves.