ABANDONED REALITIES ARTIST STATEMENT
Absence and change are the only constants of human experience and they occur not only on our ever-evolving surroundings but even more profoundly on our inner states.
I started working on this project 4 years ago.
It was conceived as an extended music composition and
mixed media series because it examines facets of physical,
spiritual and emotional abandonment over time.
I am convinced that as we relinquish more and more control
to virtual ways of communicating, a big part of our inner
world is being abandoned.
In writing and recording a number of pieces in order to
express states of what I called Abandoned Realities, I
began using virtual and concrete electronic instruments or
electric instruments that were pushed to mutation.
Sonically these compositions were intended to sound on the
verge of bursting out of their own skin, as if their sound
is not sure of itself or its own authority, not unlike
something that just came out of its chrysalis. There are
intentional blemishes as if the sound has scraped itself
while trying to travel through a very narrow passage.
Sometimes it crackles with static electricity from that
friction. Sometimes intentionally a melody might sound like
a cassette copy of another original like an image glimpsed
through a dirty mirror or as if It has picked up foreign
objects along the way which are now embedded in its body.
Below is the list of the initial compositions whose titles
I tried to make as descriptive as possible:
2.Robot out of breath
(Abandoned Oracle of Delphi)
(Abandoned Journeys to the Underworld)
5. Clock works of the Soul
(Abandoned Systems of Mind Control).
9.The Mermaids Sun
(Abandoned Personal Mythologies)
ABANDONED REALITIES-MERMAIDS SUN from Tao Zervas on Vimeo.
10.Maps of Unreality
(Abandoned Moral Compass)
After I finished composing and recording the above at my
home studio, I shared individual pieces with a select group
of visual artists from around the world. I asked them to
create an appropriate visual response to the music based on
their own aesthetic vision. From those responses I
narrowed my final list down to the following pieces:
Maps of Unreality
The visual artists responsible for the videos embedded with
these compositions are:
These Compositions along with the their visual
representations stood on their own for a while as artistic
testaments of the many ways human beings begin to feel and
process the fading out of existing norms and modes of
existence. However after some time of reflection I began to
think that I wanted to push the idea further.
I wanted to challenge my own assumptions about the ability
of this creation to be truthful to Abandoned Realities.
What helped me visualize this, was the fact that underneath
and surrounding the more abstract soundscapes, were strong
albeit dreamy melodies that were conceptualized as almost
subliminal. I realized that these would now serve as the
anchors to which I hoped the second phase of this project
would attach itself.
This entails creating, recording and finally performing
acoustic versions of the original electronic pieces.
I can not imagine a better symbol of conveying the
puzzlement of loss and the grasping for the reality that
has been abandoned and left behind, than trying to somehow
“remember”it, or recreate it by other means, because the
original means and methods that brought it to existence
The goal for myself and a group of select instrumentalists
is to try to interpret the original material I wrote, with
different instruments (sometimes limited, sometimes ill-
suited and inadequate to the task), than the ones which
created the compositions initially. I believe that whatever
the music result or the artistic outcome might be, it will
most certainly be abandoned of its previous reality.
The nature of transcribing electronic music which is by its
essence “ambient” and dreamlike, to acoustic instruments
that have short attacks will create this hyperreal
environment and it should be a major challenge to execute.
Within that challenge lies the exploration and ultimately
the meaning of how one reality is abandoned and morphs into
Another more crude way of putting it is this:
If this music was discovered 1000 years from now after
civilization had retreated to it’s pre-technology days how
would people re-create it with acoustic musical
I have been thinking for a long time about the
I believe that I would need 4 additional musicians playing
a string plucked instrument like Guitar, Oud or Lute, a
string bowed instrument, most likely a Cello, a wind
instrument for sustained notes as well as assorted
percussion. Perhaps a vocalist will also be necessary.
The recreation of these pieces will be first done and
recorded in the studio and finally performed for a live
audience at SVA or a similar venue that has the capability
to handle simultaneous sound and projection on a big
screen. The format I envision is an interlacing of the two
realities. First the original compositions will be
presented along with the accompanying videos, followed
immediately by a live performance of the same but altered
piece by the band.
By interpreting pieces meant for another medium, I am
hoping to make a powerful statement about what it means to
be faced with the dissolution of one reality and the
strangeness of trying to remember it or recreate it by
other sometimes improbable, sometimes ill suited means.
I am hoping to generate the occasional surprise in these
performances by giving the audience not only the pleasure
of listening and watching the original pieces but also of
experiencing the transformation of that same music. The
recognition of how and why these altered versions of the
compositions point to new paths of discovery informed by
the memory of the old, might also offer some exciting