Charles Gaines will unveil his first new major project since the 2007 Venice Biennale. Manifestos is a new ambitious suite of related drawings, musical scores and video installations in which Gaines examines the tradition of revolutionary manifestos and the way in which music is linked to revolutionary ideology.
Manifestos were used by revolutionary groups to create awareness and solicit support for their movement. In this project, Gaines applies the text of four revolutionary manifestos — the Black Panther Manifesto, the Perspective for Conscious Changes in Everyday Life Manifesto, the Socialist Congress Manifesto and the Zapatista Manifesto — to a system designed to translate the text into musical notation. The music is written by dissecting the text and scoring as musical notation any letter in the text that is used as a music notation, letters A-H. The use of the letter H represents the code used in early Baroque tradition for B-flat. All other letters and spaces between words are notated as rests. The original musical score that is realized is played and recorded by a piano quintet (one piano, two violins, a viola, and a cello). Through this systematic process, Gaines breaks down the manifesto’s text and transforms it into a seemingly random, yet strikingly beautiful work of music. Much like John Cage’s Roratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegan’s Wake, 1979, the elements derived from the systematic progression are not intended to work harmoniously, or relate to each other but are linked to the manifesto itself, conspicuous by its very absence.