Optic Nerve

ENS.2019.3 | 12′
Orchestra without percussion

Score

I.

II.


Optic Nerve

Optic Nerve is a kind of experiment. Its two movements attempt, slightly differently, to represent in sound the effect of visual patterns as exemplified by the art of Bridget Riley and Sol LeWitt. The musical material is limited to simple lines: vertical and horizontal lines straight or broken (chords short, long, and pulsed), diagonal (glissandos), or wavy (tremolos and oscillations).

The two complementary movements combine these continuously moving lines into blocks, using permutations to vary the orchestral colors while shifting the musical material in relation to itself, creating an aural moiré.

The title was suggested not only by the visual work of Riley and LeWitt but by Maria Gainza’s marvelous eponymous novel about observation and art, while also referencing Adrian Tomine’s long-running comics series of the same name with its hard black and white lines concealing stories of immense depth and perception.