First published in The ACT -- Performance Art Journal
Toine Horvers : DRUMMING
 
The background drawing is the result of drum rolling on carbon paper for thirty minutes at the same volume, trying to spread the ticks as equally as possible over the sheet. T.H.
 
In my movement/sound-sculptures I try to arrange meetings between the physical and mental human energy, and time, space and light.  Although the form of the performances is often very severe, I am especially interested in the subtle psychological and physical movement of the performer(s), that gives the mostly very meditative actions a lively conscious character in image and sound. In the last years I have worked with voice-sounds and drum rolls for increasing periods of time, for instance as night falls. 

For The ACT I drum rolled uninterruptedly on a snare-drum for one hour, and I recorded my experiences speaking into a microphone. Without any technical equipment I tried to keep the same volume of rolling. 

Here follows the result of my recording:  

    In fact there is very little activity; it is like an engine that is moving quietly. 

    I stand very relaxed, and after rolling a while, I am beginning to get the impression that the sound does not belong to me, that it is not I who brings out the sound, but that it is living on its own. So that when the sticks stop moving, the engine keeps moving on.  

    In this small space it must be a deafening noise, and it is amazing that these little movements of mine are in a continuing relation to the space; in such a way that the sound is filling the space in every little corner.  

    By speaking I stay very conscious of everything that is happening.  

    In fact my body is in a sort of continual tension, especially there is a unity between my mind and my body, but it is always as if my body had to stay aware of the danger to stop, the tension of stopping is constantly there. Stopping would be terrible; when this enormous mass of sound, in which I am involved, should vanish; if I don't want this world to fall down, I must roll on.  

    Sometimes the ticks of my sticks run out of each other, then there grows an asymmetric feeling in my body, then there is a large difference between those two sticks and between the sound that they make, and then I have to rebuild the balance between left and right, until everything is rolling again. In this way I constantly have to make corrections.  

    When I turn my hands very little, the sound changes immediately.  

    I begin to get used to the tension that is coming into my body, especially in my right arm; sort of pain.  

    I have the feeling that sometimes I don't have control over the volume; that it is getting louder by itself.  

    Sometimes the risk of stopping is so strong, because I cannot conceive that this big sculptural sound is made by my rolling; I cannot imaging how the silence will be after stopping.  

    Sometimes the sticks hit each other and then I get scared again.  

    The tension in my body is growing; maybe it is because I have to remain conscious of this activity; there is no time to dream away or to think about other things, although that would be possible in this meditative action.  

    Because of the difficulty in maintaining a constant rhythm I fight a continual battle with tiredness.  

    At the moment I have been rolling for 25 minutes; from time to time there are small waves of new energy going through my body; I am building up fresh rolls all the time; there is a new rotating movement, yielding a propelling power that gives me once again the feeling that I could keep going for hours.  

    It is getting clearer now that my volume is increasing.  

    I try to roll with my hands but my body has to go on giving impulses for the power.  

    As if my body was taking on another position, in which the sticks fall differently on the skin; I need all these feelings as a kind of refreshment.  

    I have cut the time in pieces, a composition of different fields of movement and sound, like in a meadow with long grass in which the wind has been blowing. In fact it is still a green meadow but there is a lot of movement.  

    I feel that the rhythm of the roll is escaping from me, but then there is another rhythm, the difference is very subtle. I think that nobody would be able to notice it.  

    My irregularities in rolling save me from dreaming, keep me awake.  

    I have the feeling that the high rustling in the sound forms a streaming layer, sort of a non-realistic, non-existent layer, that looses itself from the rest of the sound. So that the ticks of the sticks are real, they have to take care for the mysterious silver rustling sound brought up by the snares of the drum. By controlling the movements of my body I can keep this sound going on; a silver cloud of sound that's constantly passing by. Maybe this is what makes the snare-drum so exciting for me; by means of the snares something is happening outside the real movement of the rolling itself. But the whole thing is able to fall down through one mistake; that makes it also very tense and difficult to talk.  

    But in the same time I have the feeling that time is being abolished by rolling, and that's another exciting thing with these ring-forts: they are very heavy, massive lumps of stone, but in the same power that makes them raise from the earth, a vibration.  

    Sometimes the ticks fall together in such a way that they cancel the roll, and a very tiny little change is needed to bring them into the roll again, to equalized the roll.  

    I feel a strong restrained tension in my body, like the engine is ready to explode, and I can also hear this tension in the roll.  

    My sculpture consists of a human being who, for a time, is moving, living on the tops of his energy, and by this action abolishes time.