Speaking and Listening, Improvised and Autonomous

September 15, 2017

ArtsEverywhere, and its host organization, Musagetes, are deeply invested in practices of improvisation, musically and otherwise. One of our partners, the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, based at the University of Guelph, has developed an extensive body of practice-based academic research on applications of improvisation in many fields of civic society: justice, health, technology, decolonization, interspecies communication, and so on. As a result of this research, numerous essays and commentaries on ArtsEverywhere reflect on vocality, performativity, communicating, and listening.

In What is the First Sound from the Future, ArtsEverywhere’s Editor-in-Chief, Shawn Van Sluys, wrote an editorial that asks, “Does technology give greater voice to the silent, the silenced, and the voiceless? Or does it subsume a plurality of expressions into one voice — the dull monotony of layered MIDI-synth’d oomph, constrained by the limitations of zeros and ones?”

In an excerpt from his book, Improvising Freely: The ABCs of an Experience, Lê Quan Ninh recommends cultivating a taste for autonomy through improvisation: “We can try to provide avenues which allow one to be more conscious of the need to listen, all the while knowing that this effort references the fundamental demands of a discipline that can only be learned very slowly, extremely slowly.”

Jeannette Hicks offers a taste of what she learned at Musical Improvisation at Land’s End (MILE) in Gaspé, Quebec: “Communicating across linguistic difference requires shifting the emphasis away from achieving ‘perfect’ linguistic performance and towards compassionate listening. We can never be ready enough, or perfect enough. But we can be present.”

Deep Listening at the End of the World

Jeannette Hicks, Guelph, Canada 

Deep Listening at the End of the World[1] I’m sitting beside the ocean at the end of the world singing with a wave. A rhythmic low whoosh, and a building sigh–             hhhhhwAAAAAAaaaannsss    ...

Improvising Freely: The ABCs of an Experience

Lê Quan Ninh, Saint-Silvain-sous-Toulx, France 
Karen Houle, Guelph, Canada 

The following text is excerpted from Lê Quan Ninh’s book, Improvising Freely: The ABCs of an Experience, translated from the French by Karen Houle with assistance from Pegleess Barrios & Melissa Chong Ah Yan. The book is available for purchase from...

From the Editors: What is the first sound from the future?

Shawn Van Sluys, Guelph, Canada 

When Musagetes conceptualized ArtsEverywhere in early 2015, we determined that many voices must be present side-by-side across all of the issues and themes that intersect throughout the online platform. (Read here about the themes of ArtsEverywhere.) We wanted ArtsEverywhere not...

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