Portfolio Piece #1

recorded performed and produced by aaron

L’amour:La Mort is a piece from my solo project REA which combines percussion, electronics, and found texts to deal with social, political, and philosophical ideas. The piece uses an interview with philosopher Jacques Derrida and a sample from an Abbey Lincoln recording of “When Autumn Sings” as jumping off points. It is about clarity and intent. Derrida asks the interviewer to clarify the words “l’amour (love)” and “la mort (death)”, near homophones in French. This is a tantalizing, unintended, live action portrayal of Derrida’s concept of différance. The lyrics, in a long tradition of linking the two thinkers when they perhaps shouldn’t be, are inspired by an essay entitled “Un Plaisir si Simple” by Michel Foucault in which he muses on the relationship between death and sexual identity. At play are numerous metaphors including la petite mort and Other identities as a kind of constant death. In the end, Derrida says that he cannot abstractly philosophize about the concept of love, that specificity is needed to discuss things without arriving at cliches. I enjoy this moment of ambiguity. Abbey Lincoln demands love, but engages with the reversal and complexity of the issue. Her voice ultimately cannot be ignored.

The video of L’amour:La Mort embraces a DIY aesthetic. Featuring a collection of kitschy vases, an abstract narrative is developed in which the vases become characters in a drama. A gang follows one of two swans, but throughout, their loyalties are questioned and individual agencies come into play. Vases are vessels, and in this case vessels can contain love. But where do we locate the love? Inside the vessel? On the surface of the vessel? And is the discovery one we can trust? Rampant with the cliches of love, the video reflects slowly and then quickly on these questions. In classic noir fashion the drama ends with a profound and heartbreaking moment of unnecessary and avoidable violence. But it’s okay because they’re just vases.