Noises Vs. Muzaks

a production


A multi-media performance by → ↑ → utilizing rear-projection Super 8 film, two performers and taped music backing.

Jayne Stevenson & Maria Kozic - George Paton Gallery, Melbourne © 1981


Script, direction, soundtrack & film - Philip Brophy
Performers - Maria Kozic & Jane Stevenson (1981-2); Maria Kozic & Philip Brophy (1983)


Clifton Hill Community Music Centre


Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide
Paddington Town Hall, Sydney


Institut Unzeit, Berlin


Noises Vs. Muzaks! lasts for 40 minutes and is divided into two halves - the first half titled "Noises" and the second half titled "Muzaks". The soundtrack to each half is identical: a collage of Bert Kaempfert's "Swinging Safari", location sound effects and musique concrete noises. The slight changes happen with the performers and their staging: some shifts in seating, gestures and occasional lines of dialogue (there's hardly anything spoken throughout the piece). Taking a cue from Alain Robbe Grillet's films like Last Year At Marienbad and The Man Who Lies, the work is not dissimilar to old newspaper novelties where two seemingly identical pictures are printed and the reader is asked to list the tricky subtle differences. Things are presented and stated, than negated in ways that make them identical. This is the key thrust of Noises Vs. Muzaks: to dissolve difference rather than bolster identifiable form. This links to the ways that → ↑ → had been treating musical 'style' as a mere set of arbitrary parameters - hence the range of projects that 'took all sides' (the 'muzak' of Venitian Rendezvous, the 'rock' of Nice Noise and the 'minimalism' of Minimalism). Driving in imaginary cars to nowhere, listening to sounds within and exterior to the car, and registering no response to their situation or conditions, the performers are pliable and negligible automatons engaged in listening to Muzak and its vehement opposition, Noise.


Noises Vs. Muzaks utilizes the mechanics of rear-projection to simulate the performers riding in a car. Rather than illusionistically conjure this effect on stage, the performers sit on stools pretending to be in a car; they change their positioning when the film changes perspective (from front-on view to side-on view). A small lamp on the stage illuminates the performers without casting light onto the screen behind them. The soundtracks is played back through a small stereo system.