Ugly Duckling Presse


No Collective

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A musical notation can either describe an event that has already happened or prescribe an event to be performed by the reader. No Collective's (You Nakai. et al.) Concertos, the second book in the Emergency Playscript Series, uses both description and prescription to notate a musical performance. The original Concertos premiered in 2008 in Tokyo, performed by four musicians, a dog, a bird, and several guests. The playscript evokes the original piece while embedding the experience of reading the playscript into any subsequent performances of the piece.

About the Author

No Collective (You Nakai, et al.) makes music performances which explore and problematize both the conceptual and material infrastructures of music and performance.

Central to their endeavor is the generally unquestioned notion of people sharing "one" space and time at a music performance. In an attempt to dismantle this pseudo-truism, No Collective employ various strategies which extend from the tweaking of concert flyers (giving different starting time for each flyer, making three different flyers with different titles and designs but with the same date and place, etc), contrivances to make each person a “solo” audience (dragging each audience’s seat to different parts of the venue, controlling the sound volume in relation to the distance to a specific person, etc), to the pluralization of the framing of performance (packing all equipments during performance leaving only portable equipments carried by performers which continues to play as they head home with friends, etc). The basic objective of these temporal constructs is theoretical–ontological in that it examines what time is and the different ways it may be systematized, and practical-political in that it criticizes a singular ground to which all differences can be reduced, by foregrounding several incommensurate grounds.

Since its inception in 2006, members of No Collective have varied both in quantity (from one to twenty) and quality (from reluctant music novices to professional instrumentalists) according to each works’ objective and situational conditions. Following founder You Nakai’s relocation from Tokyo to New York in September 2009, the works of No Collective have shifted to a comparatively individual scale, addressing the physical conditions (medium specificity) of the performer/instrument, and consequently the border between public and private (the dividuality of the individual). Most recent works include <lulkanto>, in which You Nakai did not sleep for the number of days it took him to learn how to play a lullaby on the piano, and then, in this sleepy state, performed the piece until he fell asleep.