Digital Culture Speaker Series: Beyond Skill Acquisition: Improvisation, Interdisciplinarity and Enactive Music Cognition
Abstract: The paradigm of enactive music cognition offers an anti-representational framework for understanding musical activity as both corporeal and culturally-situated. In this talk, Lauren Hayes will discuss live electronic musical improvisation as an exemplary model for the enactive framework in its ability to demonstrate the importance of participatory, relational, emergent and embodied musical activities and processes. Following Gallagher, she argues that the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition — where performers develop from novices to experts who may eventually achieve a state of "mindless flow" — does not adequately account for what can happen during various forms of musical play. A critical study of improvisation reveals that a more generous conception of meaningful musical activity is needed, particularly in terms of who is able to take part as an improviser. She contextualises these ideas from the position of being an improviser of live electronic music performed on self-built hybrid analogue/digital instruments, my background in creating expressive musical systems for people with profound and complex learning difficulties, and through my recent explorations of both pedagogical and research approaches to interdisciplinary improvisation.
Attendees are encouraged to bring something that can make a sound (small instruments or objects).
Speaker bio: Lauren Hayes is a Scottish musician and sound artist who builds hybrid analogue/digital instruments. She is a “positively ferocious improvisor” says Cycling ’74, and over the last decade she has developed an unpredictable performance system that explores the relationships between people, sounds and environments. She has created several haptic (touch-based) interfaces and composes music that can be experienced physically as vibration throughout the body. Grounded in the mutually affective relationship between theory and practice, her research explores embodied music cognition, enactive approaches to digital instrument design, haptic technologies and interdisciplinary improvisation. She is assistant professor of sound studies within the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University where she leads PARIESA (Practice and Research in Enactive Sonic Art). She is a member of the New BBC Radiophonic Workshop and at-alrge director of the International Computer Music Association.