Music in Movement (launched in 2011) is a multi-disciplinary research project funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR) initiated by the Swedish guitarist Stefan Östersjö. The project builds on an expanded notion of musical gesture and the concept of merging the practices of choreographer and composer in the production of musical works that are conceived not merely as sonic entities but as compound units of sound and visual gesture. Music in Movement attempts to develop artistic strategies that allow musical composition and choreography to amalgamate and give rise to novel modes of expression.
Building on a multimodal conception of human perception recent research on musical gesture finds gestural images to be integral to the perception of music. In musical performance, these visual gesture-types and the sounding result of the actions create compound units that Rolf-Inge Godøy calls gestural-sonic objects. However, the theory and terminology for these new approaches to musical gesture is still in progress.
The research methodology is characterised by hybrid methods merging artistic practice with qualitative and quantitative analytical tools. Within Music in Movement, composers from Asia, Europe and USA have collaborated with the Swedish/Vietnamese group The Six Tones and the choreographer Marie Fahlin, video artists, technicians, light designers etc. in the creation of a series of films, installation- and performance art and a triple concerto with film, choreography and orchestra.
The Anatomy of the Moment (launched in 2012 and funded by the Swedish Research Council) aims to research the possibilities for collaborations between dramatist, actors, composer, and musicians on the basis of the situation in the play.
Originally, in actors’ practice, the “situation” stands for the circumstances proposed for the character, both in a global perspective with a view to the play as a whole, and in the successive scenes. Thus also, the situation becomes the ground for the actor’s understanding of his/her lines and actions as the character.
It has turned out that this approach is not only useful for the actor’s work but also for the integration of other expressive means in the theatre performance. In this way, a leading idea for the research project is to create a living environment and a common ground for theatre work that transcends boundaries between different art forms.
Another aim is to find out points of contacts between artistic and scientific research. In this context contemporary cognitive science attracts particular interest, in the sense that theories in this field can help explain how artistic work can be a quest for knowledge in its own right.
The project is led by Jörgen Dahlqvist, Kent Olofsson and Erik Rynell, and includes a series of theatre performances, video installations and multimodal music/performance art.