“Partition”, by the artist and violinist Moran Victoria Sabbag, performed by the Israel Chamber Orchestra at the Tel Aviv Museum.
The stage becomes an arena where audience members and musicians seek new forms of interacting, playing, and listening, with a single sculptural constraint: a partition made of beige Lycra, is stretched above the musicians, creating a radical change in terms of access and action. On the one hand, the fabric separates head from body, up from down, inside from outside, while on the other hand, it connects between the heads of players and those of the listeners, resulting in a personal, physical, spontaneous, and sometimes disturbing interaction. The individual musician is still part of the group but also under re-examination.
This is an experiment that allows the audience to penetrate, physically and conceptually, the intimacy of the orchestra, through the fabric and under it; to break taboos about the way we experience the orchestra, classical musicians, and classical music, as well as perceive the musicians as individuals and not only as a large performing body. The constraints imposed by the fabric disrupt the players' musical routine and necessitate adaption and re-thinking. The work's intention is to generate a different viewpoint on the relationship between the musicians and the audience, break down the barrier between them, and turn them into a single interweaving entity, in which each part is related to and affected by the other, while also functioning as a sculptural musical object.
The work undercuts the classical approach that encourages the suppression of visual elements, which might divert attention from the music itself, and challenges the traditional structure of the concert hall, in which the audience faces the stage. It tries to examine new modes of listening, disrupt the elitist image that clings to the classical field, and invite new thinking about the relationship between orchestra and listeners. The connection between visual art and classical music – and in particular, the orchestra – are paradoxical and complex. The focus on aesthetics and the connection between the visual and auditory dimensions, in the context of an unpredictable, uncontrollable event, is an attempt to create a different kind of aesthetic experience, to open up new channels, and, perhaps for a moment, generate a change in this historic structure.