But I couldn’t find you.
I wanted you. And I was looking for you.
But I couldn’t find you. I couldn’t find you.
And you don’t always realize it, but you’re always falling.
With each step, you fall forward slightly and then catch yourself from falling.
Over and over, you’re falling. And then catching yourself from falling.
And this is how you can be walking and falling at the same time.”
The prosaic fact that falling is a necessary part of bipedal locomotion is hardly what is communicated. As media theorist Sibylle Moser 7 has claimed: “By turning language into a sound gesture, the piece explores the interdependence of movement, perception and conceptual interpretation.” Anderson’s patiently timed voice marks the form of her motion across a cyclical electronic soundscape, bringing into sharp relief what musicologist Ainhoa Claver 8 has described as ‘the simultaneous presence and absence of ourselves in the course of our events.’
It is through this looking, or listening, while falling that the improvising musician shapes her discipline and her self. It is a response, in gender theorist Judith Butler’s 9 words: “to be addressed, claimed, bound to what is not me, but also to be moved, to be prompted to act, to address myself elsewhere, and so to vacate the self-sufficient ‘I’ as a kind of possession.” This is not a poetic metaphor but a real risk that is demanded in performance, be it the performance of gender or music.
In this network, I would like to further explore how improvising with machine perception systems can offer the possibility to transgress established personal and cultural identities; how our stories remain the same and how they change; how we reinvent ourselves in new listening situations, walking and falling at the same time.
Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žižek, 2000. Contingency, hegemony, universality: Contemporary dialogues on the left. ↩
John Bowers, 2002. Improvising Machines: Ethnographically Informed Design for Improvised Electro-acoustic Music. Masters in Music Dissertation, University of East Anglia, Norwich. ↩
Simon Waters, 2007. “Performance Ecosystems: Ecological approaches to musical interaction.” EMS: Electroacoustic Music Studies Network, pp1-20. ↩
William Gaver, Jacob Beaver & Steve Benford, 2003. Ambiguity as a resource for design. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, pp233-240. ↩
Paul Stapleton, Simon Waters, Nick Ward, and Owen Green, 2016. “Distributed Agency in Performance” in Proceedings of the International Conference on Live Interfaces, University of Sussex, pp329-330. ↩
Laurie Anderson, United States, 1981 and Big Science, 1982. ↩
Sibylle Moser, 2008. “Walking and Falling” Language as Media Embodied, in Constructivist Foundations 3:3, p262. ↩
Ainhoa Kaiero Claver, 2010. Technological fiction, recorded time and ‘replicants’ in the concerts of Laurie Anderson, in Trans. Revista Transcultural de Música 14, p10. ↩
Judith Butler, 2005. Giving an Acount of Oneself, p.136. ↩
Paul Stapleton INTRODUCTIONS