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Aesthetic Distinctions and Musical Lives
I do some sound installations... I’m doing workshops with Felicity Ford on
documenting sound art festivals with field recordings and workshops on radio
production, [and] I also founded Studio Urban Resonance with architect Olaf
Schäfer. Our idea is to focus on the sonic aspects of the built environment
in order to design urban space.52
Zazie united her activities under the umbrella of sound-based activities,53 and violinist
Biliana Voutchkova (who was also well known as an interpreter of Neue Musik and
worked extensively with dancers)54 described her musical life as:
I play the violin, and... I do all kind of musics, one being improvised. But
if I can generalise, overall, basically I do New Music. So classical new,
contemporary new music, or my own new music, or improvised new music.
[...] [It’s always] something that is somehow related to the now. [...] That’s
the connection between all the different genres, if you wanna call them
Like Thieke, this was related to a certain sense of identity:
You live a certain way and you have certain values in your life, and if they
are somewhat more modern in some way or... a bit more open-minded...
somehow that naturally leads into your artistic outcome. And I was playing
classical music... Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, which is completely not
corresponding to my lifestyle in general. I think that was also a way to
connect somehow, to make my life somewhat more coherant within this
And, just as musicians’ engagement with improvised forms varied, so did the diversity
of their non-improvised musical and artistic interests, these including:
– Neue Musik (Voutchkova, Mike Majkowski, Hannes Lingens, the Wandelweiser
Zazie elaborated, “For us sound is an important element to be considered during the planning
process, for better social living. In architecture and urban planning, sound is not much considered,
apart when it starts to be a problem (noise and social conflicts) or when it’s about building specific
architecture dedicated to performative activities (as theatres). With different approaches, we are trying
to define possible ways of doing it.. from the architectural one (I have also a background in architecture)
to the artistic one - related to site-specific projects (sound art) [and] to the practice of field recordings
as well.”
She also used field recordings from her architectural work in Improvised Music contexts.
Voutchkova organised the improvised dance/music series OSM (Open Sound and Music) and the
group Grapeshade.
Voutchkova added, “[I] incorporate certain things from the approach of playing improvisation into
my written music playing, and the other way round... There is [a] certain sense in being completely
concentrated, focussed, reading music, going through it and just being there, that you can somehow
transfer into improvisation... the precision in the clarity of what comes out [of the composed music]...
And at the same time... the freedom of improvisation that I could somehow transfer into written music
[is to] find this room - this volume into the notes and the precision, that I go around them somehow...
If there is a little phrase, somehow I phrase it in such a way that it’s a bit more free... it’s a sensitivity