No. 6: Syncopation
Syncopation: this is not to be confused with the term’s musical association in ideas of harmonious fusion or amalgamation but an important space that leads to ways of looking and hearing that dismantle a linear trajectory, instead revealing contradiction, fluctuation and uncertainty. This is a space where things get mirky and parameter lines are made faint. Where things can be turned down or muted but cannot be turned off. A messy space where things merge, grow, collide, complicate and evolve new relationships, uses and meanings. Exposing a thinking and understanding of movement, transformation and uncertainty as intrinsic part of life and culture.
–Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom
‘The many hundreds of French words that flowed into Middle English suffered different fates. Some of them we re simply taken as they were, but many were assimilated into local dialects. Borrowed French and Latin words often coexisted with their English synonyms, instead of displacing one another or hybridizing. In the fifteenth century English developed a trilevel system of synonyms with different levels of prestige: common place English (” rise,” “ask”), literary French (“mount,” “question”), and learned Latin (“ascend,” ” interrogate”). As one historian puts it, this accumulation of synonyms al lowed “for a greater differentiation of styles – in both formal and informal usage …. Thus the native English vocabulary is more emotional and informal, whereas the imported French synonyms are more intellectual and formal. The warmth and force of the former contrasts with the cool ness and clarity of the latter. If a speaker can be intimate, blunt, and direct in basic English, he can also be discreet, polite, and courteously elegant in the diction of borrowed French.’
– Manuel DeLanda, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History (1997)
Discussing the late great Manu Dibango including his famous (originally B-side track) ‘Soul Makossa’ made me think about movement in inanimate objects. Quietly existing and being drifted and blown into new places and new hands.