I once had an argument about whether, in order to enjoy a piece of art, it was necessary to understand the piece. This was in an online forum, so you might think I would know better than to engage in futile dispute, but anyway…
My line was that it wasn’t really necessary. I can experience a piece by looking at it, or listening to it, and respond to it in my own personal way without being briefed on its entire back-story beforehand. After all, I still don’t really know what I’m doing here, but I’m not going to let that get in the way of having a good time.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to understand something, just that its not completely essential.
Which is how a piece like Black Refraction can be exciting as well as baffling, and strangely moving as well as confusing; always just out of reach, never quite fulfilling the promise of a steady rhythm, and, as with many of Canadian experimentalist Hecker’s pieces, decaying and dying rather than resolving itself.
The video for Black Refraction mimics the song’s life-cycle: hazy, barely focused images give way to nothingness as the film itself burns and decays.