We were all locked up at home in 2020. I spent some of that time developing new feedback work that suited the situation: Room Symphonies, a recycling of some of the feedback concepts I developed in the past, now in a less ‘pure’ form, combined with samples of acoustic instruments. The result is an auto-poetic installation that generates constantly changing mixtures of feedback tones and instrumental sounds, with a highly improvisational character. Musically, the results were not yet always convincing, but at times the unpredictable nature and often surprising harmonies and sonic blends kept me listening and tuning for hours. Work in progress… More background and test recordings can be found here.
Composer Fran MM Cabeza de Vaca recently posted a video of an audiovisual composition that focuses on the spatial metamorphosis in the moment just before the music begins, which I conceptualized in my PhD research as a the metamorphosis from a concrete sounding space into a ‘music of Somewhere’. I was grateful and positively surprised to discover artistic work that explicitly refers to the output of my research. Making an abstraction of this specific case, it set me thinking about the way we evaluate impact in the field of artistic research (even if this term doesn’t fit my own PhD research very well). In academia, measuring impact is almost synonymous to counting citations in peer-reviewed journals. Many artists today have also become familiar with doing research in academic formats. They write and publish papers about their experiments, creative process, sources of inspiration and artistic engagement. When artistic research is cited or mentioned as a source of inspiration, it is usually done by those colleagues who, as researcher-artists, substantiate their research with the research of peers. The danger of a self-affirming artistic research bubble, of artist-researchers responding to research by means of research, is something I have warned against elsewhere. However, artistic research that is mentioned as a source of inspiration for artistic work as such remains a rarity – and perhaps for more than one reason.
Do we pay enough attention to uses or influences of artistic research in artistic work without a ‘research label’? Can the conceptual, technical or poetic choice in an artistic work, insofar as it embodies an artistic response to artistic research by others, be considered as an artistic substitute to the academic citation? And what responsibility does this entail for those who make use of the knowledge, insights or sensitivities brought to light by artistic research? It is of course a cliché to claim that every artistic work is always already a response to a multitude of other and prior works. Before the advent of copyright, citation in music was long an honourable practice, without the need to cite sources. However, there are also the research cultures in niches such as early music or computer music where it is quite common to be explicit about how artistic choices are supported by the research of others – even if we can debate whether in many of these cases the nature of the research in question should be seen as ‘artistic’, or rather as historical, analytical or music-theoretical.
From the perspective of artistic research, it is worth reflecting on the need for a more visible exchange between artist-researchers and practitioners. Creative artists could contribute to the field by being more explicit about their using, transforming or challenging insights and sensibilities uncovered by others’ artistic research. This does not require an academisation of artistic practice, but perhaps more openness and transparency about sources and creative processes than is common in artistic creation. Not so much as a matter of paying respect to the work of artist-researchers, but most of all because the field of artistic research would greatly benefit from observing the intersubjective impact of research in artistic practice, in works or performances by others and outside the context of research.
In the past academic year I spent quite some time creating and teaching a new course ‘Values in Music’ as part of the new minor Music Studies at Leiden University. It was my first teaching experience with (mainly) non-music students and I must say that this has been very enriching. Not only were students open to study and discuss my classical and experimental music examples, through their personal assignments they also introduced me to some fascinating hip-hop, black metal, R&B, dance, funk, world music, etc. Interesting also to observe the interest of young adults in music from the seventies and eighties (from ABBA to Eno). Very happy with the positive evaluations and comments and looking forward to the next edition of the course, starting in 2021. An outline of all lectures in the course can be found here.
Een Nederlandstalige versie van mijn artikel ‘Artistic Research as an Integrative Force’ staat intussen online op Forum+
Enkele jaren geleden zag ik het indrukwekkende Mars II van Karl Van Welden en Frederik Croene tijdens het eerste Oortreders festival. Onlangs maakten beiden een nieuwe voorstelling, of althans een voorstudie daartoe. Een korte reflectie daarop, en een aansporing om het eindspel nog even uit te stellen.
click on the image for the full programme
It was a joy to perform Tubes again with Cathy van Eck, next to Cathy’s ‘Wings’ and a few other works at the Warsaw Autumn Festival. Also a great performance of Agostino di Scipio. More photo’s here.
Looking forward to contribute to a new minor Music Studies at Leiden University, as from next academic year: https://studiegids.universiteitleiden.nl/en/courses/96607/values-in-music
End 2009 Frederik Croene premiered my Das Wohlpreparierte Klavier I at Transit Festival. It was quite a success, but also marked the end of a period of radical experiment and intensive composing, before getting a phd and moving into other fields. Next performance of Elisa Medinilla and Frederik Croene in DeBijloke may sound like a wake-up call. Indeed, after a compositional break of almost 10 years, book II and III are in the making, hopefully to be premiered towards the end of 2019!
Looking forward to the start-up of three new research groups within my lectorate at the Royal Conservatoire: Fundamentals of Musical Training, Making in Music, Curation and Social Engagement. Festive presentation on January, Friday 25th.