Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Flow of Bach & Hosokawa

The Flow of Bach & Hosokawa

The German word Bach means brook or stream. And Bach's music really does flow, pulsate, unstoppable as water. I'm preparing my kinetic visuals for the concert Cloud & Light on 26th, a lovely juxtaposition of Bach and Hosokawa. The whole programme is about flow (and colour)figuratively and literally, at times a stream, at others a tsunami. Toshio Hosokawa's music has a deep relationship with Nature, with the Asian terms ki, chi or qi, the universal energy that flows through us all - our spiritual or physical force that surges or fluctuates, less or more, depending on our willingness to access it, respect it and focus it. It can be accessed or harnessed in many ways: in martial arts, Chi Kung, meditation, rituals for mind and body, acupuncture, EFT (the Tapping Solution), and creative miracles. We were all born with this analogue energy flow. Digital imitations, by the very nature of their discontinuous separate entities, just can't compete
Extract from Bach's Double Violin Concerto in D minor.
The psychologist and author Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is best known as the architect of the notion of Flow. He describes it as a mental state where you are so completely absorbed in the process of an activity, so immersed in a feeling of energized focus that you lose all sense of time. Nothing else matters. Your coffee gets cold, but you feel deeply fulfilled. This is of course nothing new. Thousands of years ago, Asian calligraphers and craftsmen were aware of this state of being. And Bach must surely have composed in a state of Flow. We feel it in his drive, his understanding of the range of human emotions, from joy to sorrow. He carries us along - in this concert through the splendid violinists Gordan Nikolic and Lisanne Soeterbroek.
Extract from Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor.
You don't need to conjure up images to Bach's music. I've discovered the sheer bliss of accompanying the three Bach violin concertos with my pure liquid colours. Colours that I've simply made to flow, gently, hardly moving, in various directions, with no visible brush or human hand. The slow-motion effect counter-balances the energetic rhythmic flow of Bach and is absolutely mesmerizing. I'm following the Taoist concept of wu wei. Doing by non-doing. Less is more. Allowing my water-based medium take its natural course. And there we have the link to the music of Toshio Hosokawa. In fluctuating coloured water, the programme comes together. It will be the longest performance of kinetic painting to music that I've ever given, but well, I shall go with the Flow.
Extract from Bach's Violin Concerto in E major.
I'm afraid that my still shots cannot possibly convey Flow, but later I should have some video material for you. 


  1. FLOW is such a delightful term. You can read about it by searching "flow mihaly csikszentmihalyi" and by studying Dan Pink's books (particularly Drive and A Whole New Mind). I'm lucky to be subscribed to Norman's blog.