Animism in electronic music
29th January @ 5.00pm
In acoustic music, the body of the performer is important in shaping and expressing the sounding music: the touch of the violinist’s fingers or the gestures of the marimba player both shape how the music sounds and how we perceive it to sound. In contrast, electroacoustic music typically under-‐uses the body and its corporeality as an asset: performance is predominantly carried out in front of a laptop with minimal bodily involvement.
My practice-‐based research problematises corporeality through the performance and composition of electronic music. To this end I have constructed a gestural electroacoustic feedback instrument that relies on the physical presence of the performer to shape and express the music. This instrument serves four purposes within my research:
- As a training device to develop a personal physical relation to sound/s (by engaging physically with them they become inscribed in my body):
- To activate the bodily experience already inscribed in my body
- For use in performance, which arguable enhances and at least modifies the perception of music.
- For generating material to explore the possibility of embedding traces of corporeality within electroacoustic composition, and notions of bodily listening that may result.
Through my research I have identified a number of different representations of corporeality in the sounding music. This presentation will focus on how these representations can be seen as vital parts of a form of animistic relation to sound, a relation that is not uncommon in music based on feedback.
Annelie Nederberg is a composer and performer from Sweden currently based in the UK, pursuing an AHRC funded PhD in Musical Composition at University of Surrey. Annelie has a passion for the performing arts and composes for contemporary dance, theatre and film as well as acousmatic music. She also performs with her self-‐developed gestural feedback instrument and other electronic sounds. Her works move freely between concrete and abstract sounds, between music and sound art, with the human body as an important component: a confluence between movement and electronics into poetic and often slowly evolving sonorous shapes. Annelie’s music has been represented at ICMC, at festivals in the UK and internationally, on radio in Europe and the USA, and in concerts internationally. She has been awarded numerous scholarships and stipends and is a member of the Swedish Society of Composers and SEAMS, the Swedish Electroacoustic Music Society.
Time-Specificity of Performance Future
29th January @ 6.00pm
This presentation delves into the possibilities of performance. It holds as an axiom that all that can be known about the future is that difference will continue. Specifically it considers how performance can instigate movement beyond its own aesthetic spatial and temporal boundaries. It thus considers how an artwork might be seen to have no ending. After the experience of a given performance ends it may continue to multiply and divide into potent virtualities that manifest as affirmative gestures in the social sphere (with which politics and ethics become imbricated). One method to consider how an artwork might be permitted to endure beyond its own material limits is to question how evolving, when considered in terms of adapting to conditions, might be a way to understand artistic development. If a performance, for example, is to make some impact on social life, that performance must succeed at the claims it makes, particularly if those claims involve failure, as contemporary practices often do. Not surprisingly the adaptations or evolutionary movements necessary for the conditions of a performance to be considered of some use are not dissimilar to the very movements that create sustainable social behaviour, such as empathy, care and trust. Thus, performance becomes real because the experience of it is only differentiated by the doubling of awareness brought about by the knowledge of direct human manipulation, which I argue probably differs now in degree, not in kind, from the rest of contemporary human life, given such developments in geology such as the theory of the anthropocene. The artwork of Janez Janša, Creative Evolution by Henri Bergson and my own future performance entitled Three: evolving fun time will each respond to and reflect various aspects of the issues of time-specificity of performance future.
Nik Wakefield works in the realm of performance philosophy. His practice-based PhD is titled Time-specificity of Performance: present, past and future. Recent solo works include 2: untitled, performed in London, Helsinki, California and New York. He participates in international conferences through presenting and organising, and recently founded a gallery of practice as research. Nik has worked professionally with Heritage Arts Company, Every House Has a Door, Robert Wilson and punchdrunk.
Criticism as a Political Event
Methodological and Theoretical Propositions
15th December @ 5.00pm
This paper explores criticism as a meeting point between performance theory and political philosophy. Drawing on the work of Jacques Rancière (particularly his conceptualisation of politics as dissensus and a strategy for the re-distribution of the ‘sensible’), I suggest an approach that might posit criticism as a political process in and of itself. I will begin by elaborating on the methodological concerns of my study, before proceeding to briefly touch on the ways in which the political is theorised in postdramatic performance practice. I will then look at the ways in which dissensus and the process of politics might provide a productive theoretical tool through which to construct a problematisation and politicisation of critical process. I will then extend my identification of criticism as political event by considering how further notions of policing, resistance and appearance might offer an insight into the politics of contemporary judgment. Criticism will thus be contextualised as a process at the meeting point between the legislated, the public and the visible.
Diana Damian is a London-based performance critic and dramaturg. She is currently a funded PhD candidate examining performance criticism through the lens of political philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a part-time Lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Guest Editor of academic journal Platform and Performance Editor at Exeunt Magazine. She has written for publications internationally in the UK, Germany, France, Romania and Czech Republic and is co-founder of Institute of Critical Practice, a nomadic organisation that aims to explore the ways in which criticism manifests itself in contemporary performance as mode of inquiry and production, strategy for visibility and practice of dissemination.