RUUKKU - Studies in Artistic Research

Sonic Art, Sonic Practice, and Sonic Thought: Artistic Research and Music

Sound is omnipresent, and we live, think, feel, and experience in and through sound every day. Sound studies have developed mainly in the disciplines of acoustics and music. The former defines sound as mechanical waves while the latter considers it as discrete sounds organised in time. Artistic Research offers us opportunities to study sound from a different perspective. How do we live, think, feel, and experience in and through sound as artistic practitioners? What constitutes such knowledge production, and how does this search for knowledge relate to the other modes of knowledge and experience often associated with ‘music'?

Lempeä nostattamassa - kansanmuusikko improvisoivana säveltäjänä (2020) Pauliina Syrjälä
Olen kansanmuusikko, joka säveltää materiaalia itselleen soitettavaksi. Tässä ekspositiossa avaan luovaa toimintaani, ja yhtenä teemana on myös säveltämiseeni vahvasti kietoutuva improvisaatio. Lähestyn aihetta oman taiteellisen tutkimuksen prosessini kautta ja olen tunnistanut työskentelyni keskeisimmät elementit, joihin perustuen nimeän käyttämäni säveltämisen menetelmän. Havainnollistan käytänteitäni tietyn teoksen, Lemmennoston, syntyprosessia kuvailemalla. Säveltäessäni kehitän myös Jooseppi Pohjolan kanteleelle uusia, kokeellisia soittotekniikoita ja esittelen niitä ekspositiossa videoklippien avulla.
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Sonic Empowerment: Reframing "atmosphere" through Sonic Urban Design (2020) Nicola Di Croce
“Urban atmosphere,” which concerns the intangible features that give “life” to everyday environments, provides an important means of appreciating the self-image and narratives of marginalized towns and localities. This paper posits listening critically to sonic environments as a means of exploring and reframing urban atmosphere. Listening practices with a sound art-oriented approach can empower local inhabitants and municipalities by inspiring the collaborative governance of immaterial commons. Sonic urban design, which converges sound art and planning, is presented as a tool for developing awareness of the “uniqueness” and fragility of urban atmosphere through listening activities and proposed community-based sonic guidelines. The initial outcomes of my participation as an artist in residence during the sound art festival Liminaria 2018 provides a recent example of sonic urban design in practice.
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Post-immersion: Towards a discursive situation in sound art (2020) Budhaditya Chattopadhyay
Immersion is a much-used word in the domain of sound-based media arts. It is through immersion that the audiences are often made to engage with the artworks, using technical devices and medial dispositive that are at the intersection of culture and materiality in a post-digital era. In this mode of artistic representation, immersion operates as a context for realizing the production of presence as an illusion of non-mediation (Reiter, Grimshaw et al). The main concern of this proposed article is whether the audience tends to become a passive and non-acting guest within the immersive space often constructed by an authoritarian and technocratic consumer-corporate culture. I will argue in the article that in this mode of non-activity the audience may lose the motivation to question the content and context of the work by falling into a sensual and indulgent mode of experience, therefore allowing the consumerist-corporate powers to take over the free will of the audience (Lukas et al). From the position of a socially and environmentally committed sound artist myself, I will argue for producing a discursive context rather than an immersive one in sound artworks that aim to represent contemporary crisis such as climate change critically engaging with the Anthropocenic conditions. I will examine the possibility to create artworks where the individuality of the audience is carefully considered and taken into account as a crucial parameter. I will discuss a number of my recent works to develop and substantiate the argument.
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Sculptural sounds: a co-compositional approach (2020) Eleni-Ira Panourgia
This article discusses a specific approach to sound from a sculptural perspective, based on an innovative process named "co-composition", in which physical and sonic material can be concurrently produced, rearranged and transformed in a solo environment. This approach investigates ways of working with the direct response of materials to performed actions by mapping actions of making in ways that can inform new actions through sound. I question the way sculptural sounds are caused and how sounds and their real-time transformation could influence the way I understand the process as a practitioner and researcher, and how this is experienced by the audience. How does the process change once sound is transformed to something different, new? How does this affect practising with sound as more than sound? To achieve this, I develop new ways of articulating aesthetic decisions from one medium to the other on the basis of their "stories" as they are manifested through traces of material manipulation.
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...CHE SONANDO APPARISCONO – desire for sounding meanings through a musician's practice (2020) Marianna Henriksson
The exposition presents a performer's perspective in studying Frescobaldi's toccatas. The concept of "desire" is applied to describe both the performer’s process and the internal structures of music: as a philosophical concept, desire describes a musician’s transcendental and procedural act of turning the written music into sounding music; as a musical concept in the context of early tonal music, it describes tensions, expectations and various ways to arrive to a release. The reflection of a musician’s process is supplemented by readings of research related to toccatas and Frescobaldi, and theoretical writings of the time such as Galilei, Zarlino, Descartes and of course, Frescobaldi himself. Associative verbalization is developed as a tool to aid the musician’s desiring process of leaping from notes to performance. The exposition is built around a brief central text acting as a frame, from which links on coloured words lead to further explorations. Some of them are lengthier, some shorter, touching the subject from different angles, sometimes erring to tangential thoughts. Together they form an essential part of the exposition and contain references to other research. The reader can either read the central text first and then come back to the links, or jump to the chapters as they appear. The exposition seeks to be enjoyable but somewhat wandering – it can be seen as a sort of a toccata itself.
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Sonic Conversations for Double Bass, Berimbau and Sámi Joik: Shaping Identity in the Third Space (2020) Nathan Riki Thomson
This exposition presents, unpacks and discusses the effects of intercultural dialogue and collaboration on the formation of an individual personal artistic identity, through the lens of two musical duets. These artistic research case studies are centred around the author in dialogue with a Brazilian berimbau player and a Sámi singer, which act as focal points to examine how intercultural dialogue and collaboration can impact on the formation of a personal artistic identity and how the third space emerging from a transcultural dialogue can be a catalyst for new musical discoveries. In addition, I consider the kinds of musical and communication skills that are needed to co-create music in a transcultural context and which kinds of ethical issues arise. The core thread of discussion and argumentation is centred firstly around the idea that by placing oneself in diverse and unknown musical environments and engaging in dialogue, a dynamic third space emerges, which holds within it the opportunity for new elements and approaches to surface and take shape in unexpected ways. And secondly, I propose that searching for points of resonance with the world around us may be crucial in the creation of meaning and the formation of a personal artistic identity. Although the practice of music making is at the core of this research, the work is viewed with a wide-angle lens, acknowledging findings that point to the importance and potential benefits of increasing intercultural dialogue, understanding, collaboration and resonance at all levels of society. Discoveries also emerge within the areas of extended instrumental techniques and an expanded sonic palette for the double bass, as well as the creation of new music. This exposition zooms in on two examples from my complete artistic doctoral project at Sibelius Academy, Uniarts, Helsinki, namely the two sonic conversations for double bass and berimbau, and double bass and Sámi joik.
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