Cassidy, Aaron and Castro, Diego (2015) The Pleats of Matter/The Matter of Pleats. In: The Dark Precursor: International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research (DARE 2015), 9th - 11th November 2015, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium. (Unpublished)

Lecture recital: DARE 2015 – The Dark Precursor - is the first international conference entirely dedicated to the relation between artistic research and French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The three-day will feature both artistic presentations and scholarly papers that investigate this relation.

This presentation comprises two intertwined components—“The Pleats of Matter” and “The Matter of Pleats”—as the perspectives from both composer and performer, respectively, on the Deleuzian concept of the fold as exemplified through the case study of Aaron Cassidy’s The Pleats of Matter for solo electric guitar and electronics.

The composition The Pleats of Matter (2005–7), which takes its title from the first chapter of Deleuze’s The Fold, is a work that explores the nature of folds, bends, and pleats, and their concomitant implications of surplus, enveloping, collapsing, and obfuscation. It is a work in which overflowing trajectories of material and process collide, overlap, collapse, and slide, where strata melt and rupture and deform, and where form and shape are only the final by-product of lines folding into one another, of shapes subsumed by other shapes, of forms twisted within other forms.

The guitar itself is a folding: the interaction between finger and string and fret, the bending and wrapping of strings with the nut and bridge and tuning pegs, the folding and slackening from the tremolo bar. . . . In this work, these folds are all made independent—not so much layered as merely simultaneous. The two hands traverse the fretboard independently, freed from their conventional roles and geographies, the actions of the hands as likely to appear behind or above an already-depressed fret as below. Joining this interface between finger and string is the tremolo bar, itself bent and folded by both hands and the occasional elbow, two foot pedals that bend and shape and twist pitch and timbre, and a further array of amplification and processing modifications on two additional electronic strands.

In “The Matter of Pleats,” presented from the performer’s perspective, the fold is examined as a concept likely to inform processes of individuation of physical gesture. The fold, as an operation that projects towards two infinities (or an infinity in two directions: “pleats of matter” and “folds in the soul”), sets a context for discussing the differences between the inside and the outside of physical actions and musical objects. And given that both physical actions and musical objects become one and the same in Cassidy’s work, a paradigm shift from sonic means-end-oriented training (for example, of traditional virtuosity) is required, implying the claim that music exists not only in the exclusive realm of sound.

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