Poetic synthesis of poems and synth at Trinity Arts Festival

Gabriele Dikciute and Tadhg Kinsella hosted a workshop on electronic music for Trinity Arts Festival

Gabriele Dikciute and Tadhg Kinsella hosted an event of their own conception, Poetic Synthesis, last week in the GMB. Part historical lesson on the beginnings of electronic music and part performance, the hybrid event was one of the many wonderful and incredible events as part of Trinity Arts Festival overtook the campus.

The title Poetic Synthesis was aptly chosen. Synthesis’ literal meaning is the merging of numerous components to create something different when whole. Synthesis is exactly what the pair did, building their melody layer by layer, piece by piece, taking away a note then adding it back, changing the pitch of a note to create a fluid, enchanting performance.  Excerpts of poetry by the Lithuanian artist Jonas Mekas was read out by Dikiciute and Kinsella, who distorted their voices depending on the emotion they endeavoured to show. This effect captured themes of loneliness, heartbreak and friendship. The professional chemistry between the two was undeniable and it was a pleasure to see two artists who complemented each other so well. Pulling off this act of creation involved complicated synchronicity and precise harmony, but this reality was never exposed, masked by the composed facades of the artists.

The art piece was performed using Dikciute’s and Kinsella’s voices, a cello, and a semi-modular synth. The majority of the sounds, being electrical impulses and oscillations of sorts, were sharp but the way in which they were combined added up to a compelling, and, at times, enchanting sound. The overall effect was calming as if each sound was an individual feeling. This sense of living movement created a tranquil effect, soothing the audience.

It was interesting to be informed that electronic movement was in fact born from the sound of code-breaking machines from the Second World War. The vibrations caused by oscillating machinery were used to create music in an entirely new way. Many people experimenting with this novel form were of the Fluxus movement, an art movement which prioritised the process of creation over its end product. The use of electronic music devices, such as the semi-modular synth, fits perfectly into the Fluxus movements manifesto, as they can be used to alter sounds while the performance is ongoing. The production of art using machinery invented for wartime is a testament to the adaptability and creativity of humans, who can see music even in electrical impulses.

Gráinne Quigley

Gráinne Quigley is a Deputy Societies Editor for Trinity News.