Summer Academy of Artistic Research (SAAR)

Summer Academy of Artistic Research (SAAR)

I took part in the Summer Academy for Artistic Research (SAAR) held in Stockholm this year. Inspiring to meet artists from other fields and discuss and work with each others project. Work formats included the use of staged experiments, or “actions” rather than just discussions and presentations. This inspired me to try out a “what if” idea, using the positioning of musicians in relation to each other as a suggestive way of scoring or scripting the music. This idea was based on the fact that I am using recorded conversations from different typical social ways of interacting as starting points for exploring the musical expression of speech connected to those situations. My thought was that perhaps the directed placement of musicians on the stage could create a frame of reference where the link to this social space could be apparent, calling for improvised music that would somehow reflect or express the suggested social situation.
However, just by placing the musicians in different suggestive positions, such as one facing the others back, two lying down besides each other, one sitting down before the other, both constantly moving around etc., the theatrical element introduced completely took over as the musicians in effect became actors with a strong presence of intention and persona, and the music was left to accompany this dramatic component and not the other way around.

SAAR-experimentThis theatrical element introduced when directing any human interaction on stage is exactly what I am trying to avoid, which is my reason for not using clear legible speech recordings but rather filter the sounds through the acousmatic curtain of abstracted musical representation. And this is perhaps what I seek in the formalistic removedness possible in non-vocal music: the ability to work with the esthetic qualities of a very direct and intimate mode of human communication without it needing to be about any persons or stories in particular.

In a scientific sense then, this experiment was successful in that it did not succeed, since through its failure it made me more aware about what I am actually looking for and trying to achieve.