Audio Papers #2
March 2nd 2018
10:00-16:00 Red Room, Inter Arts Center, Malmö
For the second time the Malmö Academy of Music and the department of Musicology, Lund University invite to a joint seminar on the publication format Audio Papers. The format of the seminar is that of a laboratory, discussing the concrete matter of each audio paper.
The production of an audio paper, is, like with a regular conference paper, carried by scientific question or argument. However, in an audio paper, multiple layers of sonic materials – voice over, interview materials, documentary materials, found sounds, sound souvenirs, soundscape recordings or compositions – are brought together to form a coherent whole. Hereby, documentation, reflection and analysis can be presented within an aesthetic framework with its roots in the radio play, sound art and the podcast. The audio paper is a format which does not give precedence to verbal discourse, but rather seeks to merge different forms of knowledge through the amalgamation of language and various sound sources.
During the seminar listening to presentations of prepared audio papers is foreseen, leaving enough time for joint discussions of the specific presentations and the format as such.
10:00 Per-Anders Nilsson: The Hour Record Game
10:30 Katt Hernandez: Imaginary Narrative in the Ephemeral City (2018)
11:00 Karin Johansson: Title TBA
13:30 Halla Steinunn Stefansdottir: H E (A) R – Audio Paper on the soundscape H e (a) r
14:00 Anders Hultqvist & Stefan Östersjö (2017). Invisible Sounds, Audio paper.
15:30 Summing up
Per-Anders Nilsson: The Hour Record Game (2018)
The Hour Record for bicycle is about to ride as long distance as possible in one hour on a velodrome. An hour record attempt demands performing on the edge of physical and mental capacity, and in order to beat the record the athlete has to prepare for months and years. As a simulacrum for such an attempt, as of 15th December 2015 at the A-Venue in Gothenburg, the composer, improviser, and in this case cyclist, Per Anders Nilsson challenged himself to cycle on an indoor trainer for 60 minutes at his acid-lactose threshold: an average heart rate of 180 bpm. Video snippets from previous “real” attempts, as well as his heart bpm was displayed and used in the live electronic music that accompanied the event. Nilsson succeeded to meet his challenge, averaging 181 bpm during 60 minutes. As a voice-over to a video documentary of the event, the author shares memories and reflections from the performance, interspersed with quotes from previous and present hour record holders, as well as theoretical perspectives on subject matter. The video displayed is an edited version of the whole performance, approx. 12 minutes. Video: Erik Jeppsson; Music: Palle Dahlstedt and Olle Petersson.
Katt Hernandez: Imaginary Narrative in the Ephemeral City (2018)
The steeples of Lutheran churches are prominent in the Stockholm skyline, yet the country is largely secular. The frequency and amplitude modulation apparatus of the Swedish Radio reach over the city alongside privatized spectrums and internet cables. As forces like gentrification and globalization affect the fabric of city life, it can grow difficult for a single individual to identify their own story, history or place, or shape any part of the cities where they live as unique from any other.
There is an improvisatory practice in how we relate to urban environments. Each individual draws a phantom set of memory images- or “ghosts”- onto the cityscape, which is played out in the psychogeography of everyday transit through the city. There are as many Stockholms as people living there, and it is through these imagined cities that individuals can have a stake in the ephemeral cities spinning out from the physical land or houses they cannot, perhaps, so easily take ownership of.
Here I will discuss some examples of the use of text in electroacoustic works that address place, as well as examples in my own work that utilize recorded text from Stockholm, from the perspectives fo psychogeography and what I have been terming psycho-sonic cartography, and through the lens of the ephemeral city. Can electroacoustic music be a way to map new psychogeographies, empowering listeners to create, learn or tell their own stories, beyond their material means? How does using text this way give the listener the possibility to traverse the lines of psycho-geography and psycho-sonic cartography?
By virtue of the ephemeral nature of their materials, music, sound art and related practices can empower the illumination of alternative stories and realities in places where there might have seemed no other possibility. And electroacoustic music, with its unique techniques around concrete sounds and spatilization, and its basic nature of decoupling sounds from their sources, is a particularly apt method for these activities. Just as these re-imagined places are illuminated and brought to life, so we live in as many cities as there are inhabitants, each disappearing into a myriad more new cities which form with every new memory, to be brought forth and understood anew in psycho-sonic cartographies the real world can only begin to imagine.
Karin Johansson: Ghost preludes for the organ: collaborative processes and the meeting of discourses
This audio paper focuses on the piece Ghost preludes and the collaborative process between composer Katt Hernandez and performer Karin Johansson. The piece was made as a part study of Hernandez’ PhD project Stories for the Ghost Quartet and of Johansson’s project Musical rhetoric in contemporary rituals .
Historically, two views on notated works co-exist in organists’ performing practice: (i) the score as the composer’s individual piece of art work, to be interpreted and executed, and (ii) the score as an example and a tool for developing improvisatory skills, to be copied and further developed. This dynamic forms part of the background to present-day performance practice and the interaction between composers and performers.
The Ghost prelude project was initiated by a dialogue between the performer’s combined improvisatory and interpretive playing praxis and the composer’s use of the organ for connecting the mechanical with electronic music technologies. During a period of two years, the interactive process included sessions playing together, workshops, recordings, discussions in seminars and individual reflection followed by evaluations of performances. Ghost preludes was performed in parts twice and as a whole once during this period.
The ongoing meeting between discourses in and on music and the ensuing knowledge formation will be exemplified in the audio paper.
Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir: H e (a) r
An audio paper on H e (a) r , a soundscape connected to ecology, acoustics and embodiment; drawing on encounters and what happens in the connection. A fluctuation between hear-here-hér-her.
Created originally as a quadrophonic soundscape for Nordic Affect’s concert at Nordic Music Days 2016 H e (a) r has now been revised into a work of seven movements for Nordic Affect’s upcoming album on the Sono Luminus label.
H e (a) r turns the spotlight toward the multi modal knowledge production of music and its links to the socio political sphere. The work also affirms that there is no ‘neutral stand point’ in this world (Denzin et al. 2006).
The work connects to my artistic research within the field of music at Lund University, Sweden.
As a piece of art-led research, my doctoral project, currently titled HÉR*! An Exploration of Artistic Agency , is an exploration of the dynamics between the practices of performer, composer and curator in the field of contemporary music and sound art. My work has led me to formulate the research question: How can an ecological perspective provide a different understanding of the agency of a performer?
Performers are Carina Ehrenholm, Angela Rawlings, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir and Liv Kaastrup Vesterskov. Text score extracted from writings and digital works by Angela Rawlings ( In Memory: Jökull **, Jöklar ***) as well as by Pauline Oliveros, R. Murray Schafer, David Suzuki, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir, Salomé Voegelin, Bernhard Leitner, Bruce Chatwin, Heidi Fast, Robert Macfarlane and Roni Horn. H e (a) r was directed and composed by Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir at Inter Arts Center in Malmö, Sweden.
The audio paper also includes Nordic Affect’s performance of Mirjam Tally’s Warm life at the foot of the iceberg. Recorded live in concert by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Readers in the audio paper are Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir and Elísabet Indra Ragnarsdóttir. It also includes testimonies by Guðný Guðmundsdóttir, artistic director of Nordic Music Days 2016 and poet performer Angela Rawlings.
*hér is the Iceland word for here.
**jökull is the Icelandic word for glacier. ***the piece Jöklar houses fifteen names of Icelandic glaciers, and the word play transforms
each glacial name in such a way that mimics the ecosystem shift due to climate change.
Denzin, Norman K., Yvonna S. Lincoln & Michael D. Giardina (2006). Disciplining Qualitative Research. In International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 19(6), 769–782.
Anders Hultqvist and Stefan Östersjö: Invisible Sounds in a nested ecological space (2017)
This audio paper is an exploration of the conceptual ideas for, and the sonic results of, a site-specific day-long installation/performance in the Gothenburg harbor presented at the Gothenburg Art Sound Festival in October 2016. The piece is titled Invisible Sounds, A ‘stethoscope’ towards sounds unheard , and its aim is to create a performative situation where the participating artists, as well as audience and by-passers, could explore the complexity of urban noise.
An aeolian guitar, performed by Östersjö, is strung with fishing line, as a means to interact with sonorities afforded by the wind. Similarly, ground vibrations are captured with an accelerometer, solar-wind data was collected to generate electronic sound and a hydrophone recorded sonic material from the harbor. All these materials were mixed live and projected through speakers spread around the site to make visible some of environmental sounds that otherwise are largely unnoticed.
The installation presents a widening of the performed space, such as defined by Denis Smalley. From three circles of performance space – Gestural space, Ensemble space, and Arena space –the project creates an expansion of these categories, originally created for the analysis of electroacoustic music performance in a concert space. With an Arena space set in an urban soundscape, and by making these ‘invisible’ sounds heard, the installation introduces what we would like to think of as a Nested Ecological Space . Or, more specifically in this setting: a nested ecological sound and performance space .
One of the exploratory targets of the installation was to highlight and make ‘visible’, or heard, this fourth conceptual circle of soundings in order to reveal “invisible mobility below the surface of a visual world” (Voegelin, 2014, p.3). Thereby, following Voegelin, we wish to challenge “its certain position, [and] to hear other possibilities that are probable too, but which, for reasons of ideology, power and coincidence do not take equal part in the production of knowledge, reality, value, and truth” (ibid, p.3).
The audio paper discusses the installation by revisiting its artistic materials but also through a multi-layered display of auto-ethnography, documentary materials and analysis.
Katt Hernandez moved to Stockholm in 2010, where she rapidly began performing and recording with many artists. In addition to her solo work on the violin, she co-founded the electro-acoustic ensemble The Schematics, joined Fredrik Ljungkvists 10-piece group Yun Kan 10, and has worked with many other musicians and artists since her arrival in Europe, including Daniel M Karlsson, Burkhardt Beins, Julia Strzalek, Wolfgang Lehman, Joel Grip, Niklas Barnö, Mats Erlandsson, Gus Loxbo, Henrik Olsson, Finn Loxbo, Isak Hedtjärn, Audrey Chen, Lisa Ullén and many others. She can regularly be found playing at festivals and venues in Stockholm and beyond. Katt began recording and composing at Stockholm’s Electronic Music Studio in 2008, and in 2014 earned a Masters degree in Electroacoustic Composition from KMH. She is one of the artistic researchers in Klas Nevrin’s “Music in Disorder” project, and has embarked on a PhD program in Music at Lund university, where her projects take the form of electroacoustic compositions, installations and work with organs and mechanical string instruments. Her work “Sånger för Spökkvarteren, Stockholm” was premiered at Audiorama and then featured on Elektronisk på P2 in 2014, and she has also created multi-channel and site-specific works for Norberg Festival, HagenExtensions and Intonal Festival.
Anders Hultqvist is a Composer, Sound artist, Phd and Professor of Composition at the Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg. Besides writing for different Orchestral-, Chamber music-, Electroacoustic and Sound art settings, he has since 2005 been involved in different artistic research projects concerning musical interpretation and sound in city spaces. He has a PhD in Musicology, artistic-creative track, from the University of Gothenburg. The thesis deals with different topics around musical composition and its artistic, philosophical, cognitive and social context. He was also one of the founders of the GAS-festival (Göteborg Art Sounds) and also served as its director during the period 1998-2004.
Currently he is working on the research project At the conceptual limits of composition. A shrinking emptiness – meaning, chaos and entropy . The project explores topics concerning the artistic creation of meaning in musical and literary composition. The investigations are based around some of the musical, literary, informational and cognitive conditions for artistic work.
Karin Johansson is professor of Music at Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University, Sweden, and a performing organist. After her PhD thesis Organ improvisation – activity, action and rhetorical practice (2008) she has worked in research projects such as (Re)thinking improvisation , funded by the Swedish Research Council and the international research network Choir in Focus . At present she is part of the project DAPHME (Discourses of Academization and the Music Profession in Higher Music Education), funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.
Per Anders Nilsson (1954) PhD. /Professor, Improvising electronic musician and electroacoustic composer. Studied saxophone and electroacoustic music from 1981-87 at the School of Music at University of Gothenburg. In 2011, he finished his PhD thesis A Field of Possibilities :
Designing and Playing Digital Musical Instruments . Was commissioned with the acousmatic piece La gamme voiture XM by GRM in Paris 1999. Has been played at several ICMC conferences as well as participating at NIME. Nilsson has also performed with improv musicians such as Evan Parker, Eddie Prévost, and John Tilbury in addition playing with his regularly groups duo pantoMorf and Natural Artefacts.
Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir is a performer, composer and curator based in Reykjavík & Malmö. Believing that the exciting things happen ‘in the connection’ Halla Steinunn’s work with ensemble Nordic Affect of which she’s the artistic director has has been a tour de force when it comes to collaborative relationships with composers, visual artists, and producers. In her activity as curator and composer Halla Steinunn has tapped into her extensive experience as radio producer and her output has spanned everything from quadrophonic and surround soundscapes to installation rooms and field recordings. Her playing is featured on albums on the Sono Luminus, Brilliant Classics, Bad Taste Records, Musmap and Deutsche Grammophon labels. Halla Steinunn holds a PhD position in artistic research at Lund University, in a time where the divide between creator and performer is being questioned in theoretical writings and in practice.
Stefan Östersjö is a leading classical guitarist specialized in the performance of contemporary music. Since his debut CD (Swedish Grammy in 1997) he has released 23 CDs and toured Europe, the US and Asia. He has been part of numerous collaborations with composers, but also in the creation of works involving choreography, film, video, performance art and music theatre. Since 2006 he has been developing inter-cultural artistic practices with the Vietnamese/Swedish group The Six Tones as a platform. He is associate professor of artistic research in music at the Malmö Academy of Music.
Further reading: Audio Papers: A Manifesto