Stockholm University of the Arts


Stockholm University of the Arts publication series: X-Position, ISSN 2002-603X;3

Monsters I Love: On Multivocal Arts (2019) Alex Nowitz
Proposing a ‘multivocal practice’ in the vocal arts, this exposition (documented artistic research project) embodies an inclusive approach to four core categories for the contemporary performance voice: the singing, speaking, extended and disembodied voice. The culmination of a four-year PhD project in Artistic Practices (Performative and Mediated Practices, with specialisations in choreography/film and media/opera /performing arts), it documents artistic research sub-projects through the presentation of multimedia material, interweaving performance recordings with reflective and contextualising texts. Multivocality addresses various models of virtuosity, all of which are informed by a multi-faceted artistic knowledge, whether experimental or experiential, technical or technological, improvisational or compositional. Contemporary vocal performance practices are loaded by questions pertaining to detecting and solving technical issues that span the vocal domains. Through a range of artistic practices—vocal, oral, bodily and technology-related—the research project unfolds what is conceived as a bountiful ‘vocal imaginary’. When voice and body meet technology-related practices that aim at the expansion of the vocal realm by using custom and gesture-controlled live electronics, a performance æsthetics of the in-between emerges. This is explored via the ‘strophonion’, formerly built at STEIM in Amsterdam and, during the course of the PhD, further developed by Berlin-based software programmer Sukandar Kartadinata who created an intricate configuration on the basis of the audio processing application Max/MSP. Through the formulation and performance of ‘The Manifesto for the Multivocal Voice’—a ‘discursive solo performance act’ that aims to provide insights into principles and premises, and to develop the discourse on the politics of today’s performance voice—the exposition attempts to establish a potential theoretical and philosophical grounding for multivocality. Its second major concern relates to the poetics of the voice, investigating the thresholds of highly individualised vocal practices by asking: what are the boundaries of the contemporary performance voice? The exposition (on the Research Catalogue) comprises video and audio documentation of public live performances, lectures and artists’ talks as well as studio productions and rehearsals. The user is invited to study scores and various texts, such as poems, extended programme notes, translations, performance instructions, comments and other reflections. The collection of essays and articles that guide the user through the edifice of ideas that the artistic research project has unveiled remains central to the endeavour.
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