Summer Term 2011
Wednesday May 18, 4pm in Arts A4 (basement of Arts A, opposite HAHP School Office).
Justin Grize. Good to Sing: The Animal on the Operatic Stage
While the history of literature is full of animals and animal representation, for most of the history of opera, animals are conspicuous by their absence. This is especially strange considering the importance of defining the human-animal boundary to the same humanist project which gave rise to opera as a form. Late twentieth-century developments in animal history, ethics, evolutionary psychology and opera theory, however, are paving the way for a new wave of music theatre works which address contemporary anxieties over human animality and animal humanity in ways that can shed light on both the genre and our ever-evolving relationship with non-human animals.
Suzanne Wilkins. Procol Harum’s A Salty Dog: Different versions, different listener experiences?
Procol Harum originally released the single A Salty Dog in 1969 but have continued to perform it frequently at live performances up until the present day. This presentation discusses my work-in-progress which examines and analyses a number of different recordings and live performances of A Salty Dog. It shows how the song is performed in three different versions, using different performing forces, lyrics and structure. In this way it questions how these changes are related to the expectations and aesthetic experiences of audiences, and in particular why the song has remained a firm favourite of so many fans for over 40 years, far exceeding the popularity of their huge commercial success, A Whiter Shade of Pale.
Wednesday May 25th, 4pm in Arts A4 (basement of Arts A, opposite HAHP School Office).
Dani Ploeger: work-in-progress: ELECTRODE
In this presentation, I will discuss my work-in-progress Electrode. Electrode is a performance installation encompassing me, video projection, an array of headphones, an anal electrode and its packaging and documentation material. Activity of my sphincter muscle is registered with an Anuform® anal electrode connected to a sensor interface. The electromyography (EMG) data thus obtained is used for digital sound synthesis. The work is focused on heightening the presence of my body’s interaction with the technology connected to it, as well as problematizing common expectations concerning the representation of bodies in a technological paradigm. In this context, using an anal electrode to obtain data from my body was a conscious decision: The Anuform® anal electrode is, on the one hand, a technological commodity that tends to be very conspicuous in a performance context (wiring coming out of my anus). On the other hand, this sort of taboo medical technology (people usually don’t publicly mention their use of a device like this) draws attention because it is usually excluded from the realm of stereotypical utopic visions of a future with superman-cyborgs and, accordingly, a lot of more widely-known digital performance practices (e.g. Stelarc, Eduardo Kac).
Wednesday June 15th, 4pm in David Osmond Smith Room, Falmer 120
Mick Feltham. Contingency, Agency and Algorithm: The Aesthetics of Conceptual Composition.
This paper explores the central tenet of my research as practice; exploring ways in which algorithmic techniques can be embedded into the compositional process specifically to maintain an ontological consistency in the indeterminate musical work. (By ontological consistency I mean that the possible outcomes are variations of a core artistic truth). I will locate this conceptual approach to a compositional aesthetic by examining specific works by composers including Xenakis, Cage and Eacott and discuss how these compositions are not necessarily derived from any intrinsic property of music or the aesthetic manipulation thereof but instead have arisen from an external agent; an extra-musical agency which modifies traditional relationships of the sonic properties of music. I will explore the various points in the compositional process that this extra-musical mediation can take place and, using examples of my own practice, examine the practical implications of embedding contingency within the compositional process and what impact this has on the finished work as an independent, cohesive musical object and its interaction with both performers, audience and performance space.