Zeno van de Broek


In Ob-literate klinken een orgel, vocaal ensemble, elektronica en op maat gemaakte performatieve objecten

In the summer of 2014 Gaudeamus brought together audio-visual artist Zeno van den Broek (b. 1982) and composer Gagi Petrovic (b. 1986) and commissioned a large scale composition project. The electro-acoustic piece Ob-literate is the duo’s resulting work for organ, vocal ensemble, electronics and custom built performative objects – world premiered at Nicolaikerk, Utrecht on 6 March 2016.

Drawing inspiration from articles revolving around the philosophical text The Destructive Character by Walter Benjamin, furthermore distilling words and concepts from interpretations by Dick Raaijmakers and the poem Étui by Adam Staley Groves, the two artists constructed a work which is intense and alienating in its deconstructive dismantling to create space for something altogether new.

“Starting out Ob-literate presents itself as a dense, intangible moving mass of sound. Little cracks offer a view to what’s hidden beneath. Following an explosion, constituent elements are thrown wide, moving through separating paths – towards isolation. On their own all ‘particules’ find their equilibrium, without actively engaging in relations, although there might be some harmony or friction. A stray element deserts and the balance is rocked into implosion. High pressure forces connections, leading to collapse on itself. With the veil of obscurance lifted: the mark has been made, but damage was done by uncovering the underlying message and the disastrous disintegration is revealed. The storm of this exhilarating centrifugal composition throws up atomised memories of melodic syntax, hints of a phrase or just a word. In Ob-literate these tiny points reference musical coherence and terra firma in a buzzing rhizomatic web of contingent yet tightly controlled aural material. Ultimately Ob-literate blows holes in card houses of fixed ideas or walled-off bubbles – throws open windows and points to the clearest of blue skies as a tabula rasa for our cacophonous times.” [Liner notes by Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg]

concept & composition: Zeno van den Broek, Gagi Petrovic // soprano: Stephanie PanAnat Spiegel // baritone: Florian de BackereKevin Walton, Arnout Lems // organ: Jacob Lekkerkerker // electronics (cubes): Zeno van den Broek, Gagi Petrovic

Ob-literate was commissioned by Gaudeamus Muziekweek // Supported by Gaudeamus MuziekweekFonds21 and Dutch Performing Arts NL.