Influence of Musical Semiotics and Aesthetics on Music-Intermedia Arts (Examples from Personal Practice)

Július Fujak

To Cite this Article

APA : Fujak, J. (2014). Influence of Musical Semiotics and Aesthetics on Music-Intermedia Arts (Examples from Personal Practice). p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e , 1 (1). http://www.p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e.org/?p=471

Chicago : Fujak, Július. “Influence of Musical Semiotics and Aesthetics on Music-Intermedia Arts (Examples from Personal Practice).” p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e 1, no. 1 (Fall 2014). http://www.p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e.org/?p=471

MLA : Fujak, Július. “Influence of Musical Semiotics and Aesthetics on Music-Intermedia Arts (Examples from Personal Practice).” p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e 1.1 (2014). http://www.p-e-r-f-o-r-m-a-n-c-e.org/?p=471


The paper deals with the phenomena of music semiosis from the perspective of Slovak theoreticians Peter Faltin; his original semiotic theories in the 1970s, including his last work Signification of Aesthetic Signs – Music and Language (to be specific, its second part Meaning in Music), and post-structuralist aesthetician Jozef Cseres at the break of 1990s/2000s. Following this, the author devotes his attention to the aesthetic interpretation of his various contemporary, experimental music-intermedia projects from the beginning of 21st century – created in cooperation with artists from musical ensembles thEoRy Of Shake (SK/CZ), The California EAR Unit (USA), and fine artist Ludivine Allegue (F), among others –, and influenced by his experience with the semiotic theoretical comprehension of music.


Semiotics and Aesthetics of Music, Un-conventional Music-Intermedia Arts.


I usually write theoretical papers as an aesthetician and semiotic musicologist, but this text is written from a different perspective, from my view as a musical composer (or „comproviser“) who deals with the semiotic and aesthetic, or philosophical dimensions of music phenomena – connected in some way with the concrete artistic, music-intermedia projects I have (co-)created. I am convinced that the regimes of consciousness in writing theoretical articles and in creating music are different and distinct, but it does not mean that they cannot influence each other. In my approach to theoretical thinking on music, several conceptions have played a crucial role – these include the knowledge of the concepts of the representatives of the Nitra semiotic school (as with František Miko´s linguistic theory) –, and what became very important for me were the semiotics or aesthetics of Slovak theoreticians Peter Faltin (1939 – 1981) and Jozef Cseres (b.1961). They have both also influenced my style of creating music-intermedia works of art. At first, I would like to write on some selected motifs of their theories and then I would describe selected works of art I created, which were influenced by them or also by artists (John Cage, Marcel Duchamp) or eventually by other theoreticians (Roland Barthes).

On margin of Peter Faltin

Peter Faltin is one of the most significant Slovak musicologists of the 20th century: his works represent an important contribution to scientific research of the significance of sonori(sti)c structure in modern music since the late 19th century. He was one of the first in Slovakia, who recognized and characterized the ontological transformations of a new paradigm in music since the 1960s [1]. He was also very active as a reviewer of the Slovak avant-garde music scene as well as the main organiser of “Darmstadtian” meetings of Slovak and foreign (post)modern composers (K.-H. Stockhausen, G. Ligeti, W. Lutoslawski, M. Kagel, P. Kotík) and musicologists (U. Dibelius, H. Dahlhaus, P. Reinecke, J. Patkowski, P. Reinecke, E. Herzog V. Lébl, among many others), which happened in Slovakia at Seminars in Smolenice in the late 1960s. After Faltin‘s emigration to Germany in the 1970s he started to focus on the problems of the semiotics of music primarily from the point of its connection with the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein – as it appeared in his main semiotic book Die Bedeutung aesthetischer Kategorien zwischen Musik und Sprache (Signification of Aesthetic Signs – Music and Language) published four years after his death. The second part of this publication, Meaning in Music, caused the fundamental “u turn” in my understanding of the questions of musical semiosis.

Peter Faltin was also connected with the linguistic turn and pragmatics represented by the works of Charles S. Peirce, Jan Mukařovský, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Umberto Eco. He gravitated towards their ideas because of the critics of denotatum “fetishism” [2]. Faltin argues for the non-denotative formation of meaning in the processes of syntagmatic-pragmatics dialectics and also for the crucial role of socio-cultural, living contexts. He articulates the following thesis:

Musical meaning is a product of individually conditioned mutual influence between syntactical rules and pragmatic givenness of their treatment. This mutual influence is, in Wittgenstein´s words “a life form”, it is itself a life attitude. Music becomes…, what it is, thanks to its being a part of man´s life-world (Faltin, 1992a, p. 314).

In this frame he interprets sign as a certain kind of “mediator” of meaning, which is not only a thing we perceive, but primarily the phenomenon of consciousness that we perceive as a thing. He emphasizes the arbitrary dimension of signs justified and verified by praxis, i. e. life context of their treatment, and he claims that “…the meaning is articulatory form of equality, culture, state of mind, situation – or, if we want – spirit of times” (Faltin, 1992a, p. 316).

I would like to finish the last note of this margin on Peter Faltin, by his quote on the sense of a rational analysis of the musical work of art and the significance of its listening, which has special meaning to me:

The condition of understanding a work of art is not inevitably a rational comprehension of the things, which are result of its reduction of the work to rational elements. …Stockhausen´s music cannot be comprehended after analysis of his works or by reading his texts, but rather by repeated listening to them. In this course it is necessary to understand Wittgensteinian notion of use in aesthetic context. We do not want to assert of course, that analyses are meaningless; they can contribute to understanding, though they cannot be considered to be the most important. The most important is listening. (Faltin, 1992c, p. 167).

On margin of Jozef Cseres

Jozef Cseres is a conceptual artist known as HEyeRMEarS, who balances on the verge of discursive and nondiscursive symbolism, and also a curator and reputable theoretician of contemporary music-intermedia arts in Slovakia and central Europe. He is the author of Hudobné Simulakrá (Musical Simulacra; 2001) and many important studies, papers and articles, and he has influenced my thinking on music in many directions. Cseres devotes his attention to the structural relations between music and myth and the problem of artistic representation in the arts, especially in the taxonomically problematic space of contemporary, non-conventional artistic media. He writes also on changing textualities of different works of postmodern art: according to him, contemporary artists attack even the ontological substance of media, their spatial-temporal coordination, limitations, and the musical works of art are not restricted by the temporal frame of repetitions of live performances or mechanical-electronic reproductions anymore (Cseres, 2004, p. 46).

He is aware of the very important role, which music plays in the (post)structuralistic discourse and he is able to relate and to interconnect the concepts of C. Lévi-Strauss, J. Attali, R. Barthes or G. Deleuze & F. Guattari (concepts of music, silence, noise, rhythm, refrain, language, code, and meaning). [3] Cseres describes the features of qualitative shifts in the postmodern presence in the booklet of the CD project MountWind (K2IC, 2011) created by Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (voice) and Lawrence Casserley (signal processing instruments) in references to postmodern philosophy:

In current music and sound poetry, everything (the sounds) happens (becomes) multi-linearly and transversally. The sounds are not isolated expressions, operations and events. They are ´sound blocks´ without stable and well identifiable starting points, planes and coordinates, occurring in the space of in-between – in-between more decisions, in-between more sounds situations, in-between more acoustic orbits. Between the flash of mind and a sound reaction to it, a lot can happen, and so voices do not have the ambition to tell or memorize a story, rather they are trying to articulate the interactions between the sound events (Cseres, 2011, p. 3).

Cseres writes “not only” on multi-linear and transversal nature of current music, audio and sonic art in the spaces of “in-between” – resigned on telling the story or having some “meta-message” –, but he develops his thoughts even further:

They are simply intermezzi and it was not a poet or musician who named them “intermezzi”, but a philosopher: ´The sound block is the intermezzo. It is a body without organs, an anti-memory pervading musical organization, and is all the sonorous´ (Deleuze & Guattari). These voices do not declaim the messages for potential interpretations but they have the ambition to open the alternative spaces of perception. They are more interested in flexible matter from which a particular work of art (or a text) is woven. These are more than ´words-in-freedom´, these are the interactive rules of new, unrepeatable grammar and syntax” (Cseres, 2011, p. 3).

Cseres´ attitudes in understanding the contemporary musical or music-intermedia works are very innovative and inspiring. He exceeds, as well as transgresses, the usual ways of semiotic or aesthetic and philosophical thinking on music and new intermedia arts. It is therefore not surprising that he has influenced not only my theoretical way of thinking, but also some aspects of my artistic, non-conventional musical works of art.

There may not be often explicit references to these theoreticians in the projects I have realized, but their influences can certainly be found there – at least in the selection and comprehension of certain themes, and in creative appropriation of particular contexts. I am sure that without knowledge of various semiotic and philosophical thoughts and ideas not one of my listed artistic projects would exists, not with the depth that they currently display. A few examples will suffice here.

Animation of Silence (in Music) of Puppets – Introduction (2000)

This concert study [4] of music-intermedia usage of puppet and black puppet theatre in the context of experimental music was premiered at the festival Sound Off – Pupanimart in Nitra 2000, and was interpreted by my ensemble tEóRia OtraSu (thEoRy Of Shake). At the very beginning of the “ouverture”, I simultaneously played four minutes and thirty three seconds of loud, parallel noises of video-clips from MTV and different pop songs from CDs. Then I introduced John Cage´s piece 4´33´´, interpreted only by wooden puppets sitting next to the musical instruments. Immediately after this we realized Marcel Duchamp’s Sculpture musicale (1913) in a version for the same amplified puppets with a recording of Cage´s voice, reading the mesostics from this conceptual piece, which were projected on a white screen.

Jozef Cseres explains that Cage´s 4´33´´ and Duchamp´s Sculpture musicale are quite distinct. In the first case of temporally exactly prescribed interval of “silence” [5], what is very important are its performance character and the live interpretation by the musician(s) (the piece consists of three parts in duration 33´´, 2´40´´ and 1´20´´ divided by tacets). In the case of Duchamp, there is just one sentence written on a piece of paper: „Sons durant et partant de différents points et formant une sculpture sonore qui dure“. Cage pointed out several times that Marcel Duchamp may have been the first person in history, who thought about music not in temporal terms but exclusively in spatial co-ordinates (considering sonic sculpture) (Cage, 1991).

In addition, I introduced these two diverse pieces one next to the another also on different occasions. A couple of years later I re-opened the Concert Hall of a Region house in Nitra by Cage´s 4´33´´ in a symbolic way. The old Hall had been devastated that time for almost fifteen years, so since 2005 I had started to organise various artistic events there. The first one was my performance, which happened in the frame of this Re-Opening action. I was standing in the middle of a ruined space, holding a white lily in my hands and paperboard with the inscription O-TVOR 4´33´´. At another time I performed a happening with a group of my students, where we listened to the Duchamp´s and Cage´s pieces played, exploring the sonic potentialities of one room in the Nitra gallery, with its walls, door-posts, space heaters, etc. [6] I felt that if we realized both works, letting them sound despite the disparity of these significant artistic gestures (embodied in “four minutes and thirty three seconds of silent sounds” and in “musical, or sonic sculpture which lasts”), then the experiences from our perception of unpredictably sounding sounds of both would be affinitive. [7]

Figure 1

Cover of CD tEóRia OtraSu/thEoRy Of Shake: Bábkový režim zvuku (Puppet Regime of Sound) (Animartis 2002).
Audio sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s4o4iuBzB8

Hy-ph-ol-op-ho-ny (2002)

Jozef Cseres was one of the main organisers of the unique international festival/exhibition SOUND OFF series in different towns in Slovakia (Bratislava, Šamorín, Nové Zámky, Nitra), which was focused on non-conventional music, performance, sonic art and intermedia arts between 1995 and 2002. [8] The last edition of the event was titled Typewriting Aloud – Typoxxs Allowed. I was asked to create an experimental musical composition for the CD, which he released with his label and he published the accompanying booklet in the form of a special mini catalogue. I prepared an acoustic collage titled Hy-ph-ol-op-ho-ny, which was inspired by a section of Cseres´ book Hudobné simulakrá (Musical Simulacra). He writes there that Roland Barthes suggested renaminng the text theory to hyphology, since hyphos in Ancient Greek meant ‘woven net’, ‘cloth’, ‘jacket’ or ‘texture’ – in which case one could consider the semiotics as a science of hyphology. I recorded a sample of live “comprovisation” of my trio thEoRy Of Shake from the club Skleněná louka (Glass Meadow) in the Moravian town Brno (David Šubík – hyphosonic sampler, DJ Fero – turnetable, and myself – bowed bassguitar, semi-prepared piano, octopad sampler, sonic toys). I added sounds of the letters H, Y, P, H, O, L, O, P, H, O, N, Y written an on old Underwood typewriting loom while whispering them separately. In addition,  I whispered words “Abvun” (the Lord/God in Aramaic language) and “Nemesis” (old Egyptian Goddess). The reason, I used these names is that according to an ancient Egyptian myth, the world was created by her weaving, while (that is just my fictitious idea) Abvun as God dictated to her. [9]

Figure 2

Hy-ph-ol-op-ho-ny: Abvun dictates the hyphos of the world to Nemesis…
Audio sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKVGKSOZHVg

transPOPsitions! – intermedia wrestling (2005)

This piece is based on the confrontation of contemporary non-conventional music and pop video-clips with the interludes containing the sentences taken from Roland Barthes´ well-known text Wrestling, which were projected onto a video screen. The first and the shorter version was premiered in Nitra (Slovakia) by a trio thEoRy Of Shake in 2003. The second revised,enlarged, and final version was performed two years later by the prominent chamber ensemble The California Ear Unit with myself at the Red Cat Theatre in Los Angeles (USA). [10] The basic idea to play totally different, experimental music to pop video-clips originally came from the Moravian intermedia music composer and director Zdeněk Plachý a few years ago in the house of contemporary arts Skleněná louka in Brno, the town of Leoš Janáček. Plachý briefly mentioned this idea, which immediately attracted my attention. So I subsequently developed it within the project transPOPsitions! as a special (inter)semiotic game – a kind of bizarre “fighting” dialogue in the form of an intermedia wrestling, match between pop (visual) culture and mutations of contemporary improvised and composed (comprovised) music.

Roland Barthes´ thoughts on the semiotics of wrestling in the interludes between the parts could help explain the idea of the piece here further. For example, between the clips of Robbie Williams, Michael Jackson and Eminem, accompanied by our musically controversial commentary, one could read the following lines:

Wrestling is like a diacritic writing: above the fundamental meaning of his body, the wrestler arranges comments, which are episodic but always opportune, and constantly help the reading of the fight by means of gestures, attitudes and mimicry, which make the intention utterly obvious (Barthes, 2004, p. 16).

What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself. (…) This emptying out of interiority to the benefit of its exterior signs, this exhaustion of content by the form, is the very principle of triumphant classical art (Barthes, 2004, p. 18).

What is thus displayed for the public is the great spectacle of Suffering, Defeat, and Justice (Barthes, 2004, p. 17).

The method of playing music alongside and against these active images is reminiscent of an old tradition of musicianship, that of accompanying the comic grotesques, expressionist and naturalistic black and white silent movies in early cinemas.  Today the challenge to create musical shapes with moving pictures of clips, which represent a kind of visual score is quite different [11] ­– in fact, we experience a different kind of tragicomic “grotesque”…

Figure 3_anonym

Cover of DVD Julius Fujak & The California EAR Unit: transPOPstioins! – Live in L. A.
Audio sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwwqRd8SAhk

Wordless: (2008/2009)

I met French fine artist/video artist/aesthetician Ludivine Allegue during 9th International Congress of Musical Signification in Rome in 2006. Fascinated by her lecture on the sufi whirling dance sama, as well as her video documentary of it, I invited her to present both (the film and the lecture) at our international symposium Convergences and Divergences of Existential Semiotics in Nitra 2007. [12] One year later she invited me to collaborate on an artistic project based completely on non-verbal communication – we exchanged musical and painted letters and postcards through the traditional mail service for almost an entire year. Musical pieces with comprovised tones and sounds played on semi-prepared piano, recorded on couple of CDs I had sent, were my responses to the painted textures, abstract colour shapes on intentionally perforated canvas that she sent in packages to me. We titled the project simply Wordless:. In 2009, we presented our private non-verbal correspondence to public in exhibitions in Rome (Slovak Culture Institute in Italy; curated by Arianna Callocchia), Nitra and Topoľčany in Slovakia (curated by Marta Hučková in Nitra Gallery, and City Gallery Topoľčany). [13]

This return to the classical postage, slow communication through large letters and postcards based on the non-verbal medium of music and fine art, opens – especially in the era of internet and digital media – many questions on the form, content, and semiotic “suchness” of our recent communication. Slovak musicologist Valér Miko in his review of our project (Non)Celebration of Experiment writes:

It differs from the usual letter communication by the fact that both artists, even in the initial phases of the creation of the letters, have consciously substituted the reference “meaning – form” (sign) by the reference “meaning – power” (power as an expression). This is needed as a “sacrifice” to start the “expedition” towards the fragments of inner rules of human culture in letters of the other. In this way the primordial sense of human communication is barred, it is hidden in the dialogue of man with the Other – here it exists in the form of dialogical scrutiny with the complexity of inner rules of human cultures (Miko, 2009, p. 134).

It is both interesting and important to me that Valér Miko makes a remark as well as refers to other possible interpretation of Worldess:, especially in the world contaminated by the various visible or hidden forms of ideologisations:

Creative activities of experimental artists appear when there is a need to bypass some transitive period in culture and thus to access new “orbit” in it. This was in the past also the case of the Hellenistic epoch in which logos began to substitute the reason by complexity of myth. Today’s experimental artists participate in the creation of an alternative to the complexity of existing ideologies. In this context we can consider their works of art as real symbols of our time. This can be said also about the letters of Ludivine Allegue and Július Fujak (Miko, 2009, p. 135).

Figure 4

Part of the exhibition WORDLESS: in Roma (2009).
Audio sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuVhyIawgbw

Nitrian Atlantises (2013)

When I was commisioned to create a larger acousmatic composition for the premiere edition of the Czech Radio program rAdioCUSTICA in 2013 by experimental composer Ladislav Železný, I  decided to dedicate it to one very interesting page of the preancient local history of Nitra – the town that I live in – as well as to certain semantic parallels of this period manifested in contemporary city life. Why such an apocalyptic title Nitrian Atlantises? I do not wish to speculate about all the things that Atlantis was or might have been but, for me at least, the word has more than just a catastrophic meaning; evoking neither an ideal (or naively idealized) lost “Eden” nor some lost “Golden Age”. If anything, it evokes within me an image of a remarkable, bizarre, self-contradictory, and vital unknown culture that had to come to an end in one way or another… I spent the past 18 years living in the town of Nitra, where I experienced my own personal “Atlantises” and where I also spent a long time not knowing at all that one real Atlantis actually existed in this region…

Some time ago in a bookshop, I began reading the first volume of Slovak historician Pavel Dvořák’s Traces of the Ancient Past, where I came across a chapter entitled The Ruin of the Nitrian Atlantis, which was concerned with an ancient “proto-civilization” existing in the warm valley of the Nitra River back during the Stone Age some 3,000 years BC. Its traces can be found in southern Slovakia, in the village of Nitriansky Hrádok. Here, at a site known as Zámeček, researchers have found the oldest Neolithic sculpture in Slovakia – the so-called seated Venus of Nitra. [14] This society’s peak came later, however, – at some point during the Bronze Age (from the mid-17th to mid-15th century BC), an area of several dozen kilometers experienced a boom of activities, with the development of numerous trades, the planting of crops and the adoption of pagan myths and rituals. Nobody knows what happened to this advanced, admirable society – it disappeared suddenly and mysteriously. It is possible that, following a long period of drought, it “evaporated” along with the life-giving water. Or maybe it was afflicted by a different catastrophe. Nobody knows.

The existence of this unknown Nitrian Atlantis has fascinated and inspired me to engage in this acousmatic experiment/acoustic collage, whose first part is called After… At the end of that summer, my wife Naďka and I traveled to Nitriansky Hrádok, where I made some field recordings at Zámeček along the Nitra River. We found almost nothing there except for low grass-and-brush-covered little hills and one weathered billboard showing the seated Venus. But for me, the place possesses an indescribably magical genius loci… These recorded samples create the axis for the entire first section of the piece. Later, I recorded an audio collage – consisting of this sonic environment; different sounds of added wooden sonic objects, bone ocarina, copy of an anthropomorphic 4500-year-old urn, black volcanic sand from the „real“ Atlantis from Santorini Island, small percussions, female voice, my whispering, and bass bagpipes. My aim was not to “reconstruct” the sounds and music of this lost culture, but to symbolize the interplay of past and present and the “flashes” of this ancient and mysterious place’s space-time within the certain similarities in context of the present.

The second part, entitled Before…, is about today’s urban postmodern civilization in Nitra. The sonic recordings were made on 8 August 2013 – a tropical day, perhaps the hottest in the city’s history (nearly 40 degrees in the shade) – coincidentally after more than three weeks of sweltering heat and an unprecedented dry spell. These audio postcards were made on the main promenades of various places in the town between the hot noontime and early evening; the big shopping center, the main intersection in front of the Tesco hypermarket, on the road to the hospital (where you can hear women talking in the maternity and gynecology ward), from the evening pub behind an indoor swimming pool, and by the new bridge above the Nitra River. All other electronic sounds, spoken word, fragments and acoustic instruments form a kind of commentary along the margins of the unique recorded situations of this one day in the life of another potential Nitrian “Atlantis”. [15]



Detail of weathered billboard showing the seated Venus touched in by local „street artist“.
Audio: http://prehravac.rozhlas.cz/audio/2978949


[1] See more in monography of Ľubomír Chalupka: Slovenská hudobná moderna (Slovak Music Avant-garde; published in   Comenius University, Bratislava, 2011, ISBN 978-80-223-3115-9)

[2]  Peter Faltin focused on notions and theories of special cases of verbal language, which are more adequate to the nature of aesthetic and artistic signs, e. g. in his text Contradictions in Interpretation of Work of Art as a Sign with subtitle Three Monistic Models for Explanation of Meaning of Music. It was published in International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology by Zagreb Music Academy, 1972 (Faltin, 1992b, p. 153 – 162).

[3]      In concrete particular you can find more in his paper Cseres, Jozef: Hudba, Etnológ, Ekonóm, Semiológ a Pojmotvorci (z cyklu metaxu) (Music, Ethnologist, Economist, Semiologist, and Conceptmakers /from the series metaxu/). In: Fujak, J. (ed.): Otáz(ni)ky hudobnej semiotiky a estetiky (Questions of Musical Semiotics and Aesthetics). – Nitra : UKF, 2010, pp. 107 – 118. ISBN 978-80-8094-693-7.

[4]      The title of the piece Animation of Silence… connects Cage´s famous book The Silence, semantically refers also to the magazine Ticho (Silence) of artists from the cultural centre Skleňená louka (Galss meadow) in Brno that I had cooperated with many times in second half of 1990s. The entire composition Animation of Silence (in Music) of Puppets appeared on CD tEóRia OtraSu: Bábkový režim zvuku (Puppet regime of Sound) (Animartis, 2002).

[5]    The quotes are here significant, because there is no absolute silence as Cage found out in the sonic vacuum of an anechoic chamber, where one can hear the sounds of nervous system and blood circulation.

[6]      On the issue of the significance of Cage´s music and his aesthetics: one notes the transformations of sonorism in contemporary improvised music. There is an analogy between changes of timbre music at the break initiated in the 1950s and 1960s connected to electro-acoustic music, music concrete or Cage´s sonic events, and the influences from the development of digital technologies. One also notes the musical dimension of the sonic environments and the changes in the sonic vocabulary of improvised musicians at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.

[7]      Certain centripetencies between 4´33´´ and Sculpure musicale were transposed, in my way of perception of the sonic universe. This happened unexpectedly and spontaneously during my recovery from an illness in the summer 2011 (aI think that also thanks to Cage and Duchamp) when my (un)consciousness were changed and “re-structured” in some way. Since then I have started to listen to concrete moving sounds in the concrete environment as unique, complex, unexpectedly suggestive music sui generis (without the need to record it on any sonic medium, which it itself could not have reproduced the complexity and the suchness of sonic processes appearing and disappearing from all possible directions).

[8]  We cooperated on the theme and the organisation of already mentioned festival SOUND OFF – Pupanimart 2000 in Nitra Old Puppet Theatre.

[9]      See more Typewriting Aloud – Typoxxs Allowed (CD & catalogue, HEyeRMEarS Discorbie, 2002).

[10]    Close to the Hollywood pop culture center.

[11]    The more extensive final American version of transPOPsitions! was realized and performed in an inspiring cooperation with The California EAR Unit as a part of my artistic-scientific residence in Los Angeles in the early autumn of 2005. I was also invited to lead intermedia presentations and lectures on the semiotics of contemporary unconventional music at the Schönberg Institute at the University of Southern California as well as at the California Institute of Arts (In particular Stephen L. Mosko´s class of composers). The entire concert evening on the 28th September 2005 at the Red Cat Theatre – which was also the whole titled transPOPsitions – included compositions by Daniel Bernard Roumain, Jacob Gotlib and Shaun Naidoo, was dedicated to the memory of Amy Knoles´ mother who died just a few days before.

Two months later, at the end of November 2005, EAR Unit and composer Shaun Naidoo visited Nitra for what would be a successful artistic residency in the series Hermes´ Ear. We repeated a shorter version of the piece also in Brno. Unfortunately, Stephen L. Mosko died the very next month, and his wife, the great flutist of EAR Unit Dorothy Stone, followed him just two years later. Shaun Naidoo also left us tragically via a misadventure last year. I dedicated the published DVD transPOPsitions! – intermedia wrestling from the event in L. A. (with the entire performance and audio bonus tracks; label Hevhetia 2006) to the memory of all these great people and admirable artists whom we miss so much.

[12]    Ludivine Allegue´s study Sama: the video document as a way of generating knowledge you can find in: Fujak, J. (ed.): Convergences and Divergences of Existential Semiotic. Proceedings from International Symposium of Constantine the Philosopher University, April 12th 2007. Nitra: UKF, 2007, pp. 125 – 138. ISBN 978-80-8094-241-0.

[13]    Part of the project was also presented at larger exhibition of Allegue´s works in Granada, 2011.

[14]   The archeologists also found there very special, strange sophisticated pottery, antler tools with beautifully worked Mycenaean(!) ornamentation, as well as all manner of tools, rings, and even several bone ice skates. We still don’t know much about this culture, but it has left us fortifications, burial mounds, immense bulwarks, the ruins of structures built in rows resembling city streets, and signs of deep moats that formed a network of small islands. Elsewhere, there are mass graves, in one of which the people’s faces had been ritually seared with fire (older periods show signs of anthropophagy).

[15] I would like to express my thanks to the following musicians: Jana Ambrózová (violin improvisations and voice), Andrej Pleštinský (Italian bayan), Zuzana Hanusová (bodhran), Martin Štourač (trumpet), Monika Štrbová (tenor sax), Tomáš Obola (trombone), Juraj Dufek (bass bagpipes), my brother Eduard Fuják and Ondrej Veselý (acoustic guitars), sound engineer Pavol Brezina, editor of the program rAdioCUSTICA Ladislav Železný, and last but not least to my wife Naďa and son Dominik (not only for their spoken words and whispers). My Nitrian Atlantises would never appear without their contributions and help.


Barthes, R. (2004). Mytologie (Mythologies). (J. Fulka, Trans.). Praha: Dokořán (Original work published 1957), ISBN 80-86569-73-X

Cage, J. (1991). About Silence. 2. 4. 1991. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcHnL7aS64Y

Cseres, J. (2001). Hudobné simulakrá (Musical Simulacra). Bratislava: Hudobné centrum, ISBN 80-88884-30-6.

Cseres, J. (2004). Site & Room. In Era21 (pp. 46-47), n. 3, Brno: ERA,

Cseres, J. (2011). In the beginning was breath, not the word! Text in booklet of CD Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg & Lawrence Casserley: MountWind, Nové Zámky: Kassák Cenre for Intermedia Creativity.

Dvořák, P. (2010): Stopy dávnej minulosti I Slovensko v praveku. (Traces of Ancient Past I. Slovakia in Primeval Ages). Bratislava: Rak, ISBN 978-80-85501-48-3.

Faltin, P. (1991). K otázke hudobného významu (On Question of Musical Meaning), In Slovenské pohľady (pp. 50-54), n. 9, Bratislava/Martin: Matica slovenská.

Faltin, P. (1992a). Význam v hudbe (Meaning in Music), In Slovenská hudba (pp. 298-341), n. 3. Bratislava: Slovenská hudobná únia.

Faltin, P. (1992b). Protirečenia pri interpretácii umeleckého diela ako znaku. Tri monistické modely na vysvetlenie významu hudby (The Contradictions in Interpretation of Work of Art as a Sign. Three Monistic Models on Explication of Meaning of Music). In Slovenská hudba (153-162), n. 2, Bratislava: Slovenská hudobná únia.

Faltin, P. (1992c). Pojem chápania v oblasti estetickosti. (The Notion of Comprehension in the Sphere of Aesthetics), In: Slovenská hudba (pp. 153-167), 1992(c), n. 2, Bratislava: Slovenská hudobná únia.

Fujak, J. (2005). Musical Correla(c)tivity (Notes on Unconventional Music Aesthetics). Nitra: ÚLUK FF UKF, ISBN 80-8050-870-4

Fujak, J. (2012). Comprovisation: Notes pour une discussion sur la validité de la notion. In: Improjazz. – ISSN 1269-6501, Vol. 14, no. 182 (2012), pp. 31-35

Miko, V. (2009): …o projekte Wordless (…on Project Wordless), In Vlna (pp. 134-135), n. 38, Bratislava: OZ Vlna.

Biography of Július Fujak