The Composite Incompossible: Forbidden symmetries


  • Steve Tromans Independent researcher
  • Heidi Schmidt University of Kentucky



The fold, The tesseract, Sound Art, Philosophy, Composition, Deleuze studies


This work is a collaboration between Steve Tromans and Heidi Schmidt, and operates in the fold between sound art and philosophy. Both researchers recorded improvised monologues on themes of folding, the tesseract, space and time, and Tromans mixed these together in a composition that utilises time and pitch stretching, stereo-field panning, delay and echo-bounce effects, to provide for the listener an experience of “incompossibility” (cf. Deleuze 1988). The piece’s composite incompossibility is created through the superposition, unfolding, and enfolding of the voices – transforming their original space and time into a “forbidden” zone: the event of the piece’s tesseract. The final composition happens in the listening, rendering the listener a co-composer / compositor.

Author Biographies

Steve Tromans, Independent researcher

Steve Tromans is a UK professional musician (pianist and composer) who has been active since the 1990s in the fields of jazz, rock, improvised, Indian, Mongolian, folk, electronic, and experimental musics. He has given over 6,000 performances at festivals and venues (at national and international level) with his own projects and as part of others’ ensembles. As a composer, he has written 100+ works. Since the 2010s, he has been involved in artistic research in the intersection between music and philosophy, leading to the award of his PhD (University of Surrey, 2020) investigating a link between the practices of philosophy of time (via an array of concepts from Gilles Deleuze) and his own improvisation and composition for solo piano. In his doctorate, Tromans created a new, multimodal concept, Rhythmicity: a way of expressing “the musical-philosophical” in a complex mix of sound and word. His work can be heard online at: (Performance Philosophy readers may be especially interested in his triple album of piano and spoken word, ELLIPSES: notes musical & philosophical, available through his Bandcamp page.)

Heidi Schmidt, University of Kentucky

Heidi Schmidt, Becker Fellow, lives and writes in Roanoke, Virginia. She is pursuing her doctoral degree in Philosophy and Cultural Inquiry at the University of Kentucky.


Deleuze, Gilles. 1968. Différence et répétition. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

Deleuze, Gilles. 2004. Difference and Repetition. Translated by Paul Patton. London: Continuum.

Look, Brandon C. 2013. “Leibniz’s Modal Metaphysics.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.




How to Cite

Tromans, Steve, and Heidi Schmidt. 2022. “The Composite Incompossible: Forbidden Symmetries”. Performance Philosophy 7 (2):145-48.