AboutAs part of HAPPINESS NOW? Exhibition @Guest Projects
Over the past three years, Oliver Cronk has been recording his own achievements/satisfactions and well-being through a process of list-making, data collection and analysis. This process now exists in the form of three substantial books (one in progress) and two very long graphs. For Happiness, Now? Cronk has worked in collaboration with three musicians Nik Rawlings, Carrie Topley and Nena Zinovieff to create original musical compositions that reflect the values of this process and explore its autobiographical content. The compositions, Musical, is performed live by the three musicians as a special event for the Happiness Now? exhibition.
Taking the empirical ratings and graphs, Carrie Topley has traced over and plotted a musical stave. She has then given herself a set of rules in which to compose some structure, plotting notes in place of percentage scores.
0% = G on the violin (the lowest note that can be played).
100%= E on the violin.
100+%= the very top note of the violin range.
A metronome is played throughout keeping steady time. Again, this is a neat reflection of the ordered segmentation of time on the graphs. A bell signals the passing of a month. With each month a âphrase' or âmotif' is developed through inverting or retrograding tone and pace, thus adding ornaments that poetically mimic turbulent ups and downs. When top scores are reached, a party blower is blown a nod to the ridiculous and celebratory highs. Distortion also increases the natural instability inherent in Oliver Cronk's everyday chaos.
Carrie Topley was born in 1983 in Brighton. She studied Dance and Visual Arts at the Brighton University of Arts before moving to London. She now works as a freelance musician and performance artist. Topley has also worked at the ICA, Old Vic tunnels, Whitechapel gallery and the V&A. She is currently collaborating with text-based artist Anna Barham on a sound/dance piece that has toured the Zubludowicz Collection, The Drawing Room and the Turner Gallery. Carrie has collaborated before with Oliver Cronk on his performance A Peckham Wedding, created with Vanessa Hodgkinson and broadcast as part of Channel 4's âRandom Acts' series.
Nik Rawlings attempts to deal with the tension between Oliver Cronk's raw data which he has been supplied with as source material, like calendars, marked dates and numbers with the subjective and personal experience that they try to track and communicate. Focussing on abstracting Oliver Cronk's voice, he slowly unravels a recording, temporally reconstructing a voice and referencing a sense of evolution in his regime.
Nik Rawlings is currently studying Digital Music and Sound Art in Brighton. The struggle for defining and representing queer subjectivity is at the core of the artist's present research, who uses voice (and its intersection with technology) as a tool for deconstructing gender and identity.
Nena Zinovieff has written a piece for solo cello. The piece consists in a literal read of Oliver Cronk's data, each day of the graph translating into a single crochet pulse with the pitch shifting as new information arises. The result is a continuous and often relentless sound, acting not only as a literal translation of the graph but also as a reflection on many of the issues surrounding existence, the pursuit of happiness and the limitations of a graph as a means to record/reflect these factors.
Nena Zinovieff studied Music at Goldsmiths University. She lives and works in London as a composer and artist.