RITCS Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema & Sound
PRAE-LUDIUM Welcome to this symposium on artistic research organized by Brussels Arts Platform, the first that is initiated by the research group ARTO – assembling all doctoral researchers of the Royal Conservatory Brussels and the Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema and Sound. Within these Schools of Art, artistic research is gathering an ever-growing community of artists daring to communicate about their artistry in the academic world – as re-searchers. Considering the preposition ‘re’ before ‘search’, a Dutch native speaker as myself must point out the difference with our own word ‘onder-zoek’: not ‘re-searching’ but ‘searching under’. Searching under the superficialities of both the artistic world (the ‘Performance’) and the academic world (the ‘Text’). Both have their comfort zone from which it is not easy to escape. Personally, I believe that the very core of fruitful artistic research is to be found out of these traditionally so nicely protected areas. In the zone ‘in between’ we encounter many difficulties, even impossibilities. But didn’t one of the greatest artistic researchers of the last decades – Nikolaus Harnoncourt – say that the impossibilities are the greatest possibilities? Imagine this symposium as a theatre ‘in between’, in which we all play our different roles in always changing (pre)positions. We all have at least two artistic practices in common – in sound, word or image: the art of listening and the art of playing. Allow me to finish this improvised prae-ludium: it’s Time to play (in) – it’s Time to listen (to). Jan Michiels
14TH OF DECEMBER VUB (U-Residence) 10.00 Introduction Jan Michiels, Ann Olaerts and Kathleen Coessens 10.20 Keynote speech Jean Paul Van Bendegem 10.50 Tomasz Konieczny 11.10 María Boto-Ordóñez 11.30 Coffee break 11.50 Koen Dries 12.10 Chrissy Dimitriou 12.30 Discussion 13.00 Lunch break 14.00 Keynote speech Clive Brown 14.30 Richard Sutcliffe 14.50 Jan De Winne 15.10 Jean-François Madeuf 15.30 Jeroen Billiet 15.50 Korneel Le Compte 16.10 Coffee break 16.30 Yiannis Efstathopoulos 16.50 Peter Van Heyghen 17.10 Kurt Bertels 17.30 Discussion
15TH OF DECEMBER Royal Conservatory Brussels 10.00 Keynote speech by Karel Vanhaesebrouck 10.30 Jeroen Boomgaard 10.50 Jan Geers 11.10 Coffee break 11.30 Tim De Keersmaecker 11.50 Ellen Vermeulen 12.10 Discussion 14.00 Keynote speech by Kathleen Coessens 14.30 Stephane Ginsburgh 14.50 Sarah Defrise 15.10 Nuno Cernadas 15.30 Coffee break 15.50 Christian Klinkenberg 16.10 Carolien Van Nerom 16.30 Philippe Lamouris 16.50 Korneel Le Compte plays, (CODA) 17.00 Discussion 18.00 Drink Victor Bozar CafĂŠ + book presentation Jan Michiels
Symposium “Prepositions in Artistic Research” The symposium Prepositions in Artistic Research proposes to deal with burning issues in the field of artistic, practice-based research. Keynote speakers and panelists tackle questions both of methodology and of epistemology, especially in the paradoxical relationship between research ‘of’ the arts – a traditional field of inquiry within academia – and research ‘in’ the arts – artists’ research practices with artistic means and ends. As all research purports to enhance the repertory of knowledge in a given field, questions of the epistemological tools used by artistic researchers are immediately present. What does an artistic researcher want to know, what does he know already from her/his artistic experience, how does this researcher try to objectify and to communicate his behavior towards her/his sources of knowledge? Is there a single paradigm or is there a plurality of methodological approaches to conduct successful research ‘in’ the arts, and how can those methods be distinguished from their neighboring tools in ‘traditional’ academic discourses? Our four keynote speakers will comment on these issues on different levels of abstraction. JEAN PAUL VAN BENDEGEM starts from a wordplay on the hyphenation of verbs, denoting research attitudes, to ask questions about the relationship between different forms of ‘presence’ of science in the arts, and of arts in science. When does a pre-position (prejudice?) transform into a pro-position (proposal?), and does this happen in a different way in scientific or in artistic research? And what about the idea to use artistic methods to approach a scientific topic, or vice versa? CLIVE BROWN situates the methodological idiosyncrasy of artistic research, in questions of historically informed musical performance, in a historical context. Whereas traditional research was focused on documentary and textual resources, artistic research looks for the confrontation between this hermeneutic approach
and actual performative practices. This interaction does not only allow to put musicological findings to the test – a kind of ‘reality check’ –, it also creates new possibilities to communicate research outcomes, both in the artistic field and in academia. The questions raised by KAREL VANHAESEBROUCK also deal with relationships between science and arts, in method and knowledge. In the field of ‘theatre’ – performance on stage and audiovisual representation – the previously strict distinction between fiction and reality becomes more and more troubled, resulting in ‘ontological theatrical doubt’ (the term of Carol Martin). Specific research strategies, particularly those borrowed from ethnography, could provide answers, for artists, to deal with this fundamental issue on a hands-on level. But these strategies also require, on the level of their artistic outcome, profound dramaturgical reflection: how do you translate your ‘raw’ material into a performative (live or audiovisual) presentation, without losing its links to the research endeavor as such? In her keynote, KATHLEEN COESSENS will situate artistic research in an ‘ecology of practices’, borrowing Isabelle Stengers’ term referring to the specificity of contextualization of scientific and artistic practices. How does artistic research, as an autonomous activity, relate to the larger field of artistic practice or, in other words, how should the ‘embeddedness’ of artistic research – with its own epistemological tools – be understood as a contribution to artistic practices? If the plus-value of artistic research consists in its explicit objectification of artistic tracks, how is the final artistic outcome influenced by and indebted to this embodied research, especially in contemporary music praxis – composition and performance? Klaas Tindemans
Pre-positions Prof. Jean Paul Van Bendegem - VUB
The insertion of the hyphen in ‘preposition’ generates an interesting play of words. On the one hand it means what it means without the hyphen, i.e., words such as ‘in’, ‘of’, ‘through’, ..., as they are used in any language, but on the other hand, it means with the hyphen a position one takes as an initial stance. The ground hypothesis of this presentation is that the hyphened version influences deeply the non-hyphened version. Or, expressed in different terms, one’s initial views determine to a large extent how one is going to express oneself in language or, perhaps, in propositions (changing now from ‘e’ to ‘o’). Formulated thus, it must be clear that this schema applies to any topic but here of course my primary interest will be in the relationships between the sciences (S), mathematics (M) and the arts (A). (Note the use in the previous sentence of ‘between’ – is this indeed the best ‘prepositional’ choice?) When we think about relations between S, M and A, an additional problem is what parts of these three ‘domains’ we want to investigate. What is being said by the expressions scientific, mathematical or artistic ‘research’, if we deliberately limit ourselves to this single topic? Among the host of questions that come up spontaneously, I will select three: QUESTION 1: is ‘research’ a general concept that is specified once S, M or A in put in front of it? Will we talk of ‘research in S’, ‘research in M’ and ‘research in A’ or shall we use indices, i.e., research-in-S, research-in-M, research-in-A? All this on the pre-position that we have a clear idea of what research is all about but do we? (Actually we do not, notwithstanding all the efforts of all philosophers of science, mathematics and the arts – and note the preposition ‘of’.) QUESTION 2: granted the pre-position that there are three different types of identifiable forms of research, how do we see
the interactions between them? Is it a mere matter of exchanges between them, noting similarities and differences, giving rise to such hybrid notions as ‘the artistic performance as a scientific experiment’ without it actually being such a thing? Or is it really importing one type of research into – yes, I willingly use ‘into’ and not ‘in’ here – the other? Do we want to create ‘hyphenless inbetween’ forms of research? Laboratory experiments in the arts, performances in mathematics, choreographies in science? QUESTION 3: to further complicate matters, the next and perhaps most fundamental question must be what the research is about? Most interestingly, this question gives access to the meta-level: research-in-S can be about research-in-A but also the inverse. There is a special form of research-in-S, -M or -A, and that is research-of-S, -M or -A. A discipline can be its own topic of research but the same goes for ‘crossover’ forms: research-in-S of research-in-A and, why not, research-in-S about research-in-A about M. In an indirect way, the subtone of this presentation will be a plea for the heterogeneity of research in, of, over, between, ... S, M and A, as this heterogeneity is already present in S, M and A themselves.
Epiphanies of modernism and the artistic turn Tomasz Konieczny - Royal Conservatory Brussels
Reflecting on the nature of human’s understanding, the authors of the book The artistic turn (K. Coessens, D. Crispin, A. Douglas) state that both the modes of understanding and its articulation exclude much from an original experience. The structure of mind, the linguistic processing and ways of expression distort, change or sometimes even falsify experience. A similar problem lied at the core of the reflection of Stéphane Mallarmé, a major figure of the Symbolists movement. His main poetic quest was to perfectly match expression and experience, and to bypass the distortions of the mind: to create a moment of a sudden, direct, and intuitive grasp of the fullness of lived reality. Charles Taylor – reflecting on the aesthetics of modernism - called such moment an epiphany. A metaphorical story of such epiphanic quest is told in Mallarmé’s famous poem L’après-midi d’un faune. Through the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune Claude Debussy introduced the poem to the history of music offering us a fascinating musical commentary on the subject. In the presentation, I will reflect on the poem and its musical setting. I will rise the question how the symbolists’ ideas might be translated into the present paradigm of artistic research in music, and how they may contribute to the construction of a methodological ground for a research project. Some of the specific musical examples used in the presentation will be taken from M. Trzęsiok’s text on Claude Debussy’s aesthetics, called Grammar of Imagination. 10
Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
LABORATORIUM: experimental biolab for Art-Science research. María Boto-Ordóñez - KASK /School of Arts of University College Ghent
Art-Science projects are becoming more and more popular. Scientific institutions are inviting artists to participate in their research, offering space, expertise and equipment. But what about performing scientific research within an artistic context as an art academy? What kind of cross- pollination will be the outcome? In 2016, the School of Arts KASK (Ghent) set up an experimental biolab, LABORATORIUM. LABORATORIUM works as an open space with accessible scientific tools for practice-based experimentation, research and education, inviting people from different backgrounds to work together. Nowadays, the primary research conducted in LABORATORIUM is “The color biolab”, a project that aims at joining disciplines by using color as a universal language: from experimental movies based on nonlinear chemical reactions to mycoremediation of color waste or muscovite interference color modification. Led by a scientist, the hybrid character of this research brings up questions around the methodology followed, the knowledge generated, as well as the language and context to present and communicate the outcomes. The color biolab project is financed by the Arts Research Fund of University College Ghent.
Transformation: duality in artistic research and performance. Koen Dries - Royal Conservatory Brussels
The objective of my PhD in Arts was to find a method to integrate existing scientific knowledge in the artistic practice of saxophone performers. What started out as a project with a strong emphasis on the intellect transformed into a project with an experience-based approach towards a hard-to-tackle problem: using knowledge from scientific papers in an artistic environment. This revealed a conflict between “head” and “hand” that characterized my project from the start: an inevitable duality between explicit and tacit dimensions is inherent in every artistic performance. The preposition of integrating science into arts gradually transformed into a new goal: connecting science and arts through artistic performance. This new and holistic approach, with a clear emphasis on the artistic performance as a unifying factor between the tacit and the explicit dimensions, formed the basis for my final PhD defense entitled Voyages. In addition to the artistic defense of this PhD, which was a series of concerts with symphony orchestra, I presented my strategies to cope with interdisciplinary research experiments in an artistic context. By using mediators, I allowed an experience-based approach towards explicit scientific knowledge.
This experience-based approach allows artists to expand their artistic possibilities and integrate this knowledge on the basis of experiences into their artistic performance. Additionally, I was able to show that a quantified approach towards validating these mediators is possible, offering us with material to write the sosought â€œA1-publicationsâ€? in academics. In my presentation, I will present the core of my PhD trajectory, the research output and several practical examples. Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a post-doctoral project.
The invisible action of the gaze: Memory of Shadows Chrissy Dimitriou - Royal Conservatory Brussels
“An early memory of shadows, which I am sure is neither remarkable nor unique: on the beach, trying to stamp on a sibling’s shadow and avoid having one’s own trodded on. And the extraordinary agility and speed that one’s shadows appeared to have; a much greater speed and agility than one could realistically lay claim to, yet this was one’s own speed too. Our relationship with our own shadow – not to be confused with oneself, which one does not own, but which is an inescapable attribute and accompaniment – was for me a memorable conundrum. A midpoint between a familiar self and the otherness of the rest of the world. The shadow immediately brings an other into the picture, the other being a source of light – and here we are at the start of the shadow paradox. It is both of one and separate to one. […] And what we do when we see is become connected to a measurable, objective world of optics, surface, light and physics, and become aware of something well beyond that.” William Kentridge, excerpt from In praise of Shadows. The birth of theater manifested above all the birth of the spectator: What do we do when we see? What happens when we observe a performance? What could we learn from this subtle ambiguity between what is there and what seems to be there? And, performance, as well as spectatorship, could they both take over selfhood?
Practice-led research into Classical and Romantic Performance Clive Brown - Emeritus Professor of Applied Musicology, University of Leeds
Academic research into historical performing practice was traditionally conducted solely, or primarily through the study of documentary evidence, and its conclusions presented through the medium of verbal texts. Professional performers drew upon these conclusions, often in a partial and inconsistent manner, to forge styles that have gained currency in the world of commercial music- making as historically-informed. More recent research by established scholars and their doctoral students has been undertaken through a combination of traditional academic study and practice; in this kind of research practice is not merely a product or response to academic findings, but an integral and essential aspect of the research process, allowing ideas and hypotheses to be tested and developed within the medium that is the focus of the research, as well as a vital element in the communication of findings. This talk will consider the value of such interactions, particularly for research into Classical and Romantic performance. It will look at the ways in which particular types of evidence â€“ treatises, books and journal articles on performance, musiciansâ€™ correspondence, reviews of concerts, annotated editions, performance material with manuscript additions, and early recordings â€“ can be combined in a research methodology, and will be illustrated with case studies from my own research and that of some of my practice-led research students.
Reconstructing 19th century violin shifting techniques from early 20th century sources Richard Sutcliffe - University of Birmingham
Shifting is a vital part of the violinâ€™s technique. It is what allowed virtuosi to take a leading role in the musical life of the 18th century until the present. Even though this technique is vital to performing music from the baroque to present day, it only began to be clearly defined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the French and Belgian schools of violin playing during the 19th century, the instrument did not yet have a chin rest and thus the manner of shifting the hand through the positions was more complicated than it is in modern technique. In the early 20th century several second and third generation violinists of the Belgian violin school began to publish clear instructions on how the shift was performed. Reconstructing this 19th century shifting technique gives insight into the use of portamento in the repertoire of the period, an essential stylistic element of the French and Belgian repertoire of the 19th century. The presentation will concentrate on several methodsâ€™ descriptions of the shifting technique demonstrated by the lecturer. Examples from the repertoire will illustrate how these techniques can make a difference in both HIPP and modern performances.
Controlling the uncontrollable: the fragile relationship between the flute, its music and playing techniques Jan De Winne - Royal Conservatory Brussels
Where are the limits of Historical Informed performance practice? Much has been written about the performers and their goal of ‘authenticity’ but my research puts the making of ‘authentic’ copies of historical instruments at its centre. In a creative process, some random lines on a white paper develop into a drawing, random words become alive and create a story… And for the luthiers: how much we try to reproduce exactly our example, at a certain stage the creative process goes its own way: the question is how far do we keep the process in gear and how far do we innovate? How to resist on one side the canonisation of what is supposed to be historical and on the other side the modernist expectations of our public that might expect a brilliant, loud and projecting instrument. Just as a written score is not the music, the reproduction of the exact dimensions of an instrument will not guarantee a convincing result. Where do we draw the line between reproduction and re-creation? Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
Historically Informed Practice meets modern pedagogy Jean-Franรงois Madeuf - Royal Conservatory Brussels
The purpose of my PhD-project is an artistically and theoretically in-depth research of the natural trumpet: its playing techniques and style, historical context, literature and repertoire. My research is not only based on historical research but, as a musician, I will also judge whether the given information in the historical treatises (or other sources) is valuable for the technique of the instrument and for the interpretation. In this paper I will focus on a few examples from the 17th and 18th century. More precisely I will analyse a chapter of the Harmonie Universelle (1636) of the theoretician Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) and I will be verifying his theoretical findings against at least three items of my historical practice performance. Another example will be taken from the repertoire at the end of the 18th Century.
Full Service History: A detailed insight into a century of brass instrument use in the Royal Ghent Conservatory. Jeroen Billiet – KASK /School of Arts of University College Ghent
Belgium developed a thriving brass playing tradition during the 19th and early 20th century. Besides the Brussels Royal Conservatoire, with eminent teachers as Artot, Duhem, Séha, Merck and Goeyens, two other schools had an important share in the development of brasswind training: the Conservatoires of Liège and Ghent. Brass teachers at these institutions —inspired by their visionary directors—acquired a high level of playing and would train some of the leading international brass players of the romantic era. The horn class that emerged at the Ghent conservatoire is in this context a fine example. Players from this institute obtained important positions worldwide during the romantic period, and inspired many composers to write a substantial and particular Ghentian repertoire. Their preference for horns of the Brussels-based manufacturer Ferdinand Van Cauwelaert is an important part of this artistic legacy. An important part of the Romantic Ghent conservatoire historical horn collection was retrieved and is now fully restored. The life path of these instruments is documented by a large amount of original invoices, notices of repairs, correspondence with teachers and manufacturers, reports, inventories, registers of use and much more, all preserved in an extraordinary condition in the school's comprehensive archives.
Researching this true time capsule reveals a highly detailed insight in brass instrument use during the romantic period. The combination of a "full service history" for brass instruments with surviving specimen from the original collection makes a unique resource for scholars wanting to link everyday instrumental practice with manufacture, repertoire and pedagogy. This lecture wants to provide an overview of interesting features concerning the historical Ghent brass instrument collection. Research funded by School of Arts Ghent as part of the doctoral project "Brave Belgians of the Belle Epoque", Ghent University 2015-2021
PREPOSITIONS Korneel Le Compte - Royal Conservatory Brussels
As a musician, one is always a researcher. In "classical music" or in any other style, the musician cannot escape the "research"- aspect. Over the years I wandered from my original infatuation with pop and rock into the worlds of classical and "Ancient Music". But most of the qualities I need as a classical musician, I acquired in rock bands. Not at the conservatory. After three decades as an opera bassist, I "fell out" of this classical comfort zone. The direct cause of this change was the 2011 Japan tsunami disaster. I felt helpless. What could a musician do? This question pushed me towards a different way of looking at music and its role in the real world. Looking back, this insight must have been the result of years of unconscious processes, of frustrations with the often limited, self-serving world of classical music. Sometimes at the opera, it felt like pleasure had left the building. I started a Duo with the Viennese Violone and the Viola d'Amore, and we discovered the world of benefit concerts, of playing in hospitals and schools, of touring through the disaster area of Fukushima. I also embarked upon an Artistic Doctorate entitled Building Bridges, exploring the connections between, say, a historical approach, and bringing a moment of beauty and hope to people who never listen to classical music. Between what Quantz and Leopold Mozart wrote and how audiences today perceive music. The audience is the one factor that never seems to matter in music education. But without an audience, there is no music.
Artistic Research, in my opinion, has to do with communication, with building bridges. The beauty is of course that we can start building from two points at the same time and see if both halves will meet, somewhere in the middle. And what's even more beautiful: it doesn't really matter if they do. The pleasure is in the building. Reasearch funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
“In gut we trust”Historical performance practice on Spanish guitar of the 20th century: the strings of change Yiannis Efstathopoulos - Royal Conservatory Brussels
Despite the guitar’s long history and its evolution since the Renaissance, the guitar world has faced the biggest changes after the World War II with the discovery and the spread of the nylon string in 1946. While until this point the gut was the only material to be used, the lack of strings in the United States brought the necessity of searching a new material that would fill the absence of strings and bring the change of the instrument. This change concerned first of all the construction of the guitar and the aesthetic of the sound. Although the guitar has found its “Stradivarius” in the emblematic figure of Antonio de Torres (1817-1892), who gave the final shape of the modern guitar, the new luthiers took a direction that would fit more to the elasticity and the rounded sound of the nylon string. Concerning the guitar playability, in order to create a louder instrument the string action was increased as well, making the fretboard harder. As a consequence the guitar technique started to be affected, changing the sound production, the posture and finally the movements of both hands. This evolution finally led to the creation of a new instrument, related to the invention of the term “classical” guitar, cutting the connection with the previous historical guitars.
However, did the nylon string become popular only because of necessity? How is this change connected with the guitar history and the international dissemination of the instrument? In this paper we will analyze those changes, comparing different types of instruments, different strings and how we can apply those results in the guitar performance practice and the relevant repertoire. Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
In Search of a historically accurate Recorder for the Performance of early-17th-century Italian Music Peter Van Heyghen - Royal Conservatory Brussels
The working title of my doctoral research project reads In Search of the Early Seventeenth Century flautino: Repertoire, Instruments and Performance Practice. The present paper will focus on just the second of the three major research areas referred to in the subtitle. Museums and private collections around the world house a wealth of extant historical recorders which can safely be dated to the sixteenth, the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries. In sharp contrast, no such instruments stemming from the first part of the seventeenth seem to have survived. For the performance of the often highly enticing Italian canzoni and sonate by composers of the Monteverdi era which were being rediscovered and added to the recorder repertoire since the late 1960s, recorder players have been using instrument sizes and types derived from earlier, later and non-Italian originals up till today. However, a re-evaluation of what the early 17th century Italian recorder repertoire really consisted of, followed by a careful analysis of the individual pieces in question did allow to establish which sizes and types of recorder were actually needed for its performance. And these sizes and types are mostly significantly different from the ones in current use.
Eventually, it was the slow process of visiting museums, obtaining measurements of original instruments and motivating many a recorder maker to make copies which led to my acquaintance with recorder maker Adrian Brown, the discovery of three exceptional, undated instruments by the same anonymous maker in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and our shared conviction that these instruments constitute the best possible basis for a modern reconstruction of an early seventeenth century Italian flautino capable of coping with even the more virtuoso part of the repertoire. Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
The nineteenth-century saxophone: towards a historically informed performance practice. Kurt Bertels â€“ Royal Conservatory Brussels
Historically informed performance practice (HIPP) is a major concept in today's music life. At first, its scope was restricted to Early music. Nowadays, this performance practice is being gradually applied to even twentieth century music. The essence of this concept is a historical awareness of music performance, which is not very common in the saxophone area. Although many scholars conducted research into the saxophone's (organologic) history, an exhaustive artistic investigation into the nineteenth century performance remains forthcoming. In order to fill this gap, the goal of this project is an in-depth artistic and theoretical research into the HIPP and the cultural-historical context of the nineteenth century saxophone. More particularly, a study of the saxophone class at the Brussels conservatory, a world's first reputed conservatory class founded by the first director FranĂ§ois-Joseph FĂŠtis (1784-1871). Even though this institution occupied an important place in the saxophone education between 1867 and 1903, it has not yet received the scholarly and artistic attention it deserves. This paper will discuss in general my doctoral artistic research and will focus in particular on the forgotten nineteenth-century saxophone practice. The main question is: what was the point of view on the sound ideal and embouchure? Can we discover an ancient practice, and in which way would it be an enrichment in preparation for the recordings and executions of the nineteenth century scores? Which where the conceptions in Brussels about the new instrument and in which way were these influenced by the Belgian culturohistorical context? What can we learn from the technique and the sound of a historical instrument?
To tackle these questions, the concept of a historically informed performance practice will play a key role in my research.This lecture will address some of these questions and challenges by means of until now unexplored or neglected historical sources. Belgian music periodicals and results from research in the records will serve as the most crucial documents to situate the Brussels saxophone class within its cultural-historical and artistic context. Sources as instrumental methods, historical recordings and historical saxophones will provide us with methodological insights and with valuable information on the saxophone's historically informed performance practice and will be quoted as an example for other saxophone compositions. A theoretical and practical approach will thus inspire each other and will allow me to go further than mere musicology or saxophone studies would do. Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
Getting your hands dirty: fieldwork and dramaturgy in artistic research Prof. Karel Vanhaesebrouck - ULB, RITCS and VUB
Almost all doctoral projects that I mentor as an academic promotor at RITCS relate to social reality in a specific way and look for other, new perspectives to represent that reality, sometimes through documentary strategies but also through fictionalization. Showing reality is not the first goal of these artist-researchers. Their work, that doesn’t need to have its finality in theatre, aims at what Carol Martin calls in her book The Theatre of the Real, “ontological theatre doubt”: consciously clouding the distinction between reality and fiction, like in our daily reality where the distinction is as blurred and our contact with the “real” is always mediated. In my contribution, I would like to focus on this form of research, one that is very specifically related to a specific social reality (the “real” might be a better description) and has its own methodological challenges. Fieldwork takes a central place in these research practices. Therefore, I want to consult the anthropological and the ethnographical research traditions that can provide specific strategies and protocols to artists with an interest in fieldwork and at the same time encourage a thorough reflection about ethical issues. Secondly, I will delve into the practice of the theatre, namely dramaturgy, or more generally: the translation of primary material to a form of interpersonal imagination, while keeping open as many options as possible, without losing sight of the initial urgency. Finally, I want to pay attention to the role of the thesis advisor for artistic doctoral trajectories. Each artistic research requires its own specific method, a different interaction between knowledge and feeling, another sort of intuition.
That method changes constantly, even within the same process. This is the biggest challenge: avoiding your work being oriented towards results solely, while at the same time never losing track of your goals. Rather than excluding options too easily, out of blindness or a sense of security, one must always keep searching. The thesis supervisor has to deal with that fundamental uncertainty as well, even if the institutional context in which they operate increasingly requires efficiency and a sense of purpose.
Exploring the Gap: The Difference Between Artistic and Academic Practice as Productive Zone Prof. Jeroen Boomgaard â€“ Jeroen Rietveld Academie, University of Amsterdam
In the Netherlands the discussion about PhDâ€™s in artistic research takes place in the context of the separation between the Research Universities and the Universities of Applied Science. Working in both institutions (University of Amsterdam and Gerrit Rietveld Acadetmy), I am in the middle of this discussion and I find myself confronted time and again with questions about ways to bridge the gap between academia and art, the necessity for artists to write a dissertation etc, etc. In this presentation I will explore the specific character of artistic research, discuss its historical background, research methods and the knowledge it produces. Main questions are: what is the quality of artistic research and how do we assess/guarantee that? What is the relation to existing academic research? And what are the results we can or hope to expect? I will conclude with laying out the plans for a separate research trajectory for the arts that would lead to a new title.
The impact and specificity of social-artistic work Jan Geers - RITCS
Samuel Beckett devoted his entire life to writing about homeless and elderly people, people who are not exactly glamorous, who you donâ€™t see on television, who, you know, are not the assumed image of the society. And yet why does virtually the most significant writer in French and English in this century create his whole body of work around absolutely voiceless people? Itâ€™s because the finding of a voice is the most important thing that can happen on the planet. Peter Sellars
The final goal of my research is to give a view on the human impact of social artistic projects at the level of the participants. As a researcher, I want to show the world behind my own social artistic practice and the projects of some of my colleagues. I record my research on video. During long interviews with the participant I try to note their own voice, their own opinion. Listening is the most important part of my work as a researcher. In my own artistic work, I give people a voice without putting my own words in their mouths. Also in my research work I try to give people a voice. Most of the selected participants have a very clever look at the specific artistic strategies. Research funded by RITCS as part of a doctoral project.
Trailers NMIAI and Passe-Partout Tim De Keersmaecker - RITCS
The last four/five years I have been working on two documentary films in the context of migration, identity and integration: No Man Is An Island and Passe-Partout. The films have been released and shown around the world. In my practice as a documentary maker I have always been struggling with the questions: what is reality? and what is the best possible way of representing reality? There has always been a relationship between reality itself and the manner in which it is interpreted by the maker. Merely by an editing process you get caught in the interpretation of reality. “Objectivity can only be the author's and therefore subjective, even if he is editing a newsreel.” Andrey Tarkovsky in Sculpting in Time. (p150) The central question in my research was therefore as complex as straightforward: what is the best possible way of portraying the refugee? I have chosen not to limit myself to the mere recording or observing of reality. Instead, I’ve used techniques from the broader film medium to express my vision of reality in a creative way. This involves the filming itself, the editing process and the sound design. My way of working is in this way influenced by both fiction and experimental film. As an author, I interpret reality because I believe that all creative expression owes its importance and historical interest to a certain autonomy- a freedom of interpretation and a willfulness. There is no right or wrong, there is only your own voice. I saw films where refugees were being filmed not closer than a medium shot or behind a closed door or in the dark, for all that matters.
There is not one Truth, there are only ethical and esthetical choices. I think it is better to speak about ‘realities’ instead of the reality. As a film maker you are first perceiving the world, and then framing it in a certain way. Afterwards there is another layer of perception/interpretation that takes place within your spectators, where they also contribute to the production of meaning. But your position as a filmmaker will anyway influence which kind of meaning. Through the process of making my films, I choose EMPATHY. This resulted in films narrated out of the perspective of the refugee. And visually as close as I could get to them. I can imagine that this approach is maybe problematic in the eyes of a scientific researcher, for whom objectivity is the highest goal. But at the end of the day, I’m a filmmaker who takes a stand. My intention to make a film about migration and identity comes largely from a deep dissatisfaction with the perception of migration. Because of the emergence of new media and journalism, a habituation occurred in the way we look at refugees. We are almost overrun with images of people in search of a better life, which only worked apathy in hand. There are too many generalizations, it is all too volatile and there is too little attention for to the ordinary, for how in the banality, reality itself most clearly emerges. That is also the reason why the focus of my two films lies on the everyday behaviour of my characters. It makes them human and it’s far away from the spectacle that is normally served to the audience. Since 2012, when I started working on these two films, the refugee crisis grew exponentially. The ‘refugee’ became a fashionable topic among artists, intellectuals and politicians. Ironically, because of that it also became an industry with its own neoliberal logics, marketing strategies and assertiveness. Although I had great and interested audiences around the world, that doesn’t live up to the uncomfortable feeling of being part of that industry. Research funded by RITCS as part of a doctoral project.
Barricade Ellen Vermeulen - RITCS
A group of people gathers around the fire, waiting for the bombs to fall. A woman leaves the inner circle; she mobilizes as many people as possible to follow her. An outsider, an observer, is following this group of people. A woman and the outsider, a guerrilla and a filmmaker. Connected by their position. A square. People breaking out street stones, throwing them on a big pile. The construction of a barricade. The guerrilla looks at the filmmaker, helping with the deconstruction of the street and the formation of the barricade. She laughs: ‘you are a guerrilla, join us’. Some months later the guerrilla is bombed to martyrdom. The filmmaker is trapped in doubt. It’s all about becoming. EXT. SQUARE. NIGHT While dozens of people break out stones to throw them on the raising barricade, the guerrilla leaves unnoticed. Research funded by RITCS as part of a doctoral project.
Artistic Research as a demonstration of an Ecology of Practices Prof. Kathleen Coessens - Royal Conservatory Brussels and VUB
An ecology of practices is a tool for understanding what is happening in a certain domain of action. An ecology means that the environment and context of the acting subject is of primordial importance to explain the practices. Moreover, the ecology of practices is not neutral, it has an ambition, the ambition of "the construction of new ‘practical identities’ for practices, that is, new possibilities for them to be present, or in other words to connect." (I. Stengers, 2005, An Ecology of Practices, p 186 in Cultural Studies Review, vol. 11, Nr1) A first question I will approach is: how to lay the ecology of an artistic practice open to feel and to understand? It is our hypothesis that all demonstration of research in art must occur in a double movement related to their ecologies of practices. At one hand the demonstration consists of a sensuous way of communicating: feeling and understanding the directness of what happens. On the other hand, a non-sensuous layer of understanding needs to be present: a layer that restitutes the relational capacities behind what happens — contextual, temporal, intellectual, spatial, cultural. This means that the demonstration of artistic research aims at a layered activation of both the ‘what’ of the experience as the ‘how/why’ behind the experience. Both experiencing and understanding lead to a ‘feeling of understanding’ that has to carry another level than an artistic manifestation: while an artistic manifestation is aimed at an understanding that links an aesthetic intention of the artist to a connotative context of interpretation of and by the audience, an artistic research demonstration should add to this an understanding of the method and process of creation, exploration and experimentation of the artist.
This leads to a second question: how are artistic practices informed by artistic research and vice versa? Here we want to enter into a reflection upon the potential transformation of artistic practice by way of artistic research. How to cope with the paradoxes of, at one side, the implicit, tacit, embodied, sensorial knowledge in the practice, and, at the other side, explicit significations and knowledge of the practice? What is kept, what is transformed, what is left out?
Artistic research Artistic practices
perform inform transfor m
Embedding artistic inresearch an artistic practice, to Embedding artistic research an artisticinpractice, means to inquiremeans into, share inquire into, share and perpetuate the artistic knowledge of and perpetuate the artistic knowledge of the creating and performing artist in the his/her work context on stage — andartist beforeinstage (or inwork the presentation of stage the creating and performing his/her context on — workand and before it). As this knowledge, and all its significations and connotations, before stage (or in the presentation of the work and before has both implicit explicit layers understanding and has both or it). As this and knowledge, andof all its significations andsensory connotations, embodied and intellectual and/or verbal ways of communication, multi-layered has both implicit and explicit layers of understanding and has ways of understanding influence both research and practice. The reflection on and both sensory or embodied and intellectual and/or verbal ways inquiry into a performance leads to new information that again leads to a of communication, multi-layered ways ofspecific understanding influtransformation of artist, knowledge and practice. The ecology of practices ence both research and practice. The reflection on and inquiry — and in a broader sense of artistic research and practice tout court — is enriched into a performance leads to new information and thatthe again leads to by this interaction between the sensory perception/practice understanding of itsaorigin and process. of artist, knowledge and practice. The specific transformation ecology of practices — and in a broader sense of artistic research and practice tout court — is enriched by this interaction between the sensory perception/practice and the understanding of its origin and process.
A transformation unfolds.
A transformation unfolds.
Instrumental hybridization with Stefan Prinsâ€™s Piano Hero Stephane Ginsburgh - Royal Conservatory Brussels
Piano Hero is a cycle for piano, MIDI keyboard, electronics, audio and video written between 2011 and 2017. The cycle includes four very distinctive sections and lasts approximately an hour. The general idea of the cycle is a recontextualization of the modern piano using technological artefacts such as an electronic keyboard, a computer, audio-video samples, and in particular the projected image of a virtual performer or avatar, doubling the actual one sitting onstage. The piece also questions the mechanism of observing and being observed, using several webcams but also an audio feedback system. In PIANO HERO #1, the performer is an operator of audio-video samples who has to use a new type of sounding instrument. In PIANO HERO #2, the grand piano is added, enhancing the tension between real and artificial, already present in PH#1. In PIANO HERO #3, an audio feedback system using the piano body creates a complex interaction between live electronics and field recording in which the pianist has to intervene. Finally, PIANO HERO #4 pushes even further, immersing the performer and the audience in a mutli-layered augmented reality. My work on the cycle includes a reflexion on the composition itself as a work producing an enhanced musical instrument with qualities resulting from the combination of technological devices
with the piano. But I also take the performerâ€™s point of view analysing how his playing has to adapt, or literally hydridize with the new instrumental apparatus. The idea is to show how this process is somewhat similar to what he had to do in order to perform e.g. Beethovenâ€™s Hammerklavier, one of Piano Heroâ€™s many musical references. Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
Joseph Jongenâ€™s forgotten songs, an interpretation diary Sarah Defrise - Royal Conservatory Brussels
Joseph Jongen was born in 1873 and died in 1953 at age 70. He is generally considered as one of the most prominent Belgian composers after CĂŠsar Franck. Particularly known for his organ and chamber music works, he also composed more than 50 art songs. The complete set of songs encompasses a wide scope of styles, from strophic romances to impressionist or Straussian-like songs, setting to music texts by various poets and writers - some famous ones such as Baudelaire, Hellens or Verhaeren, or others with whom he was acquainted. Not only more than one third of the songs has never been published nor recorded, In addition, the remaining two thirds are very seldom heard. I therefore decided to dedicate a doctoral research on the analysis and interpretation of these songs. On the one hand, it will bring back to life an unjustly forgotten part of Jongenâ€™s work and encourage young singers to perform his music, and on the other hand it will help me to refine my methodology as an interpreter in approaching a new repertoire.
Alexander Scriabin’s Piano Sonata Nr.1 in F minor op.6: a showcase of the interconnectivity between performance and investigative artistic research Nuno Cernadas - Royal Conservatory Brussels
Considering the theme of the ARTO/ Brussels Arts Platform symposium, “Prepositions in Artistic Research”, the researcher intends through a lecture recital to crystalize in a clear, articulated way, the scientific investigative processes that happen simultaneous to the musical performance of a piece. By positioning himself first and foremost as a performing musician, the researcher intends to show how artistic research can accomplish the purpose of informing and enhancing the interpretation and artistic expression, not by justifying the performance’s choices a posteriori, but as a conduit and driving force for artistic knowledge and insight. The focus of this lecture recital will be the first movement of Alexander Scriabin’s Piano Sonata Nr.1 in F minor op.6, which will be approached from a pianistic point of view. The performance of the movement will precede the discussion of the different interpretative choices and the analytical, expressive and aesthetical grounds that justify them. The researcher will thus highlight the synergistic effect between the intellectual and practical dimensions of musical performance and research, both in its conscious and unconscious forms.
Microtonality, videomusic notation and real time rhythm in Christian Klinkenberg’s opera “Das Kreuz der Verlobten” Christian Klinkenberg - Royal Conservatory Brussels
Since the 1900s, more and more composers started to liberate themselves from the imposed limitations of the twelve-tone equal temperament, reinforced and established by piano as the dominant musical instrument since the seventeenth century. Their liberation, however, have often led to the trap of the ideological use of one specific tone-system like 24 equal temperament, 11-limit, just intonation... throughout their whole life. In my PhD project, I argue for a free approach by using various sorts of microtonal concepts and techniques. My opera features diverse methods of implementing microtonal ideas. In this presentation, I expound upon the techniques of constructing microtonal fabrics with the support of video excerpts of the first performance of the opera. Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
From Sand to Glass: Approaching Philip Glass Operas Through Source Texts Carolien Van Nerom - VUB
Is it necessary to know what comes BEFORE the opera? As a literary scholar, I wonder about the narrative sources that inspire opera’s, but can such enterprises be useful to other fields as well? In this paper, I show how an analytical, musico-literary approach to Philip Glass’s minimalist operas can inform audiences and performers alike by going back to the source. Indeed, Philip Glass based many of his operas on literary works (e.g. by Coetzee, Kafka, or Ginsberg). He also composed three operas inspired by narratives by Jean Cocteau, namely Orphée (1993), La Belle et la Bête (1994), and Les Enfants Terribles (1996). The framework used to present this comparative analysis, stems from both the literary and the musical field. As such, it should become clear that narrative concepts can be illuminating in the musical field and vice versa. Admittedly, my ‘preposition’ towards my research questions is largely narratological, but I am convinced that intermedial analyses like this one can shape both performers and analysts.
The (un)importance of emotions in musical performance – Examining the performer. Philippe Lamouris - Royal Conservatory Brussels
The word “emotion” in the field of art and especially in music is a paradox. On the one hand it is widely avoided, on the other hand, ever-present. Emotion, in fact, is consistently present in music. Therefore, performing and composing music could be explained as research into emotion. However, we find it necessary to search for a more profound understanding of the connection between the participants (listener, performer, composer), musical parameters and emotion. In doing so, we aim to improve current artistic practices. The relation between music and emotions has been considered ambiguous throughout western history. During the last decades, the number of investigations on this subject has grown exponentially. The fields of psychology, philosophy and even neurology are interested in the relation between the human brain, mind, and body, concerning the influence of music on the mood. Researchers tend to use their own views on the term in search of results. Due to the lack of general terminology and various contradictions, words have been used both as synonyms and opposites. Moreover, the differences in inducing, evoking, affecting emotions, how music arouses the listener and which effect it has, illustrate the challenge of studying this subject, showing its diversity and complexity. While most people agree that the three important participants in a musical communication (the composer, performer, and listener) all relate to emotions, the importance of emotions for the “performer” has often been questioned.
Does the performer need to feel any emotions during a musical performance in order to create an emotional experience for the listener? Does the performer need to know and understand the emotions of the composer, or the emotions expressed by the musical parameters in the composition? What happens if the performer disregards the emotions of the composer? Does the artistic value of the performance become lower? And more importantly: Is there an audible difference in performance between an “emotional” performer and an “unemotional” performer? And if so, what are the differences? So many questions, yet I always return to the following: “Can we do artistic research about emotions even though we do not know what they exactly are?” That’s why I like to compare my research with astronomy: sometimes we do not know if it is a star or a planet, as physics, mathematics, and chemistry don't add up, and yet, the research itself remains fascinating and even more interesting. Research funded by Royal Conservatory Brussels as part of a doctoral project.
Teatro dell’ascoltopublication Jan Michiels
In Teatro dell’ ascolto, Jan Michiels takes the reader along on an adventurers journey through the mind of a musician. Which dreams, symbols, myths, memories are at the root of the creation and implementation process? With Prometeo by Luigi Nono as point of departure, Jan Michiels sketches a ‘tragedy of listening’. What does ‘listening’ still mean in the agitation of the contemporary society? Above all, Teatro dell’ascolto has become a multidimensional journey, one that demonstrates the necessity of music and, on a lager scale, of art in general in each person’s life. Jan Michiels is a Belgian music pedagogue and pianist. He regularly performs as a soloist, as well as forming a piano duo with Inge Spinette. His name has been associated with the dance productions of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker amongst others. In 2011 he obtained a PhD in the Arts with highest distinction. http://www.borgerhoff-lamberigts.be/boeken/p/detail/teatro-dell-ascolto
RITCS Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema & Sound
Published on Dec 12, 2017