This artistic research PhD project challenges classical music performance culture through a series of experimental collaborative projects. My particular interest lies in how this culture shapes the psychological experience of performance from the perspective of the individual musician. The project’s aims can be further defined through the following research questions: a) How can I better understand the psychological impact that the traditions and ceremonies of classical music have on my performance? b) Departing from my own practice, what other factors affect me emotionally during performance? c) How can experimentation with the traditions of performance culture in classical music provide different modes of emotional regulation in staged performance?
This thesis is a compilation of projects and publications in which I explore classical music performance through my individual experience as a soloist. Selected concert performances of classical works, experimentation with performance settings, and the creation of two commissioned works, play central roles.
The method and design builds on the qualitative study of several case studies of my practice as a concert pianist in collaboration with other musicians, choreographers and composers. The methodological approach entails combinations of autoethnographic methods, stimulated recall and thematic analysis. The theoretical framework is twofold, and rests on psychological and psychoanalytical perspectives as well as on a socio-historically driven analysis of the music-theoretical concept of Werktreue.
Some artistic results are available online in The Research Catalogue and others are published on the CD Notes from Endenich (Daphne Records). The combined outcomes of the project suggest, that musicians can benefit from an increased awareness of factors that affect the western classical music performer. While this thesis is specifically directed towards other musicians, it is also my hope that the findings can be valuable also in other research fields. Without the active contribution from musicians and artists into the investigation of how they function as performers, and of the values that accompany them on-stage, it is difficult to understand which needs should be addressed scientifically. For music researchers, there are many opportunities to dig into the different aspects of performance, but it is vital to let musicians show the way by collaborating within the field of Artistic Research, and thereby, together with musicians, find new ways to transform their experience of performing.
RESPONSIVT ROM - EN LYTTING INN I MATERIALITET er et dybdesøk inn i oss og våre omgivelser.
De kunstneriske arbeidene kan beskrives som større skulpturelle lydinstallasjoner som beveger seg mellom visuell kunst, scenekunst og lydkunst. Verkene utforsker rom, materiale, lyd, kropp og tid som likeverdige deler i en komposisjon.
Forskningens hovedverk INTERFERENS, RESONANS, SEDIMENT, STED 1 og STED 2 er på ulike vis henvendelser til en utvidet opplevelse av dialogen mellom tilstedeværelse og materialitet. De er omgivelser som søker å berøre nærhetssoner der vi som mennesker kan fornemme at vi inngår i en finmasket sammenfletting med det som omgir oss.
Å lytte er av sentral betydning i de kunstneriske undersøkelsene som arbeider med iscenesettelse av rom gjennom lyd, minimalistisk skulptur og dramaturgiske strukturer.
Eksposisjonen er skrevet på norsk.
RESPONSIVE SPACE – SOUNDING INTO MATERIALITY is an in-depth research project into the interrelationship between us and our surroundings.
The artworks can be described as large sculptural sound installations which blur the lines between visual art, performing arts and sound art. The works explore space, material, sound, body and time as equal parts in a composition.
The main artworks of the research INTERFERENCE, RESONANCE, SEDIMENT, PLACE 1 and PLACE 2 are in a variety of ways inquiries towards an expanded experience of the dialogue between presence and materiality. The artworks are composed environments which respond and take shape and form from their surroundings, seeking to touch proximity zones where we as humans can sense aspects of being closely intertwined with our surroundings.
The act of listening is of central importance in the artistic survey. Olaussen stages space utilising the mediums of sound, minimalistic sculpture and dramaturgical structures.
The exposition is written in Norwegian.
Creativity is seen as a fundamental human capacity which also seems to be very sensitive in escaping scientifically controlled conditions. During the last decades, musical improvisation has become a more and more interesting channel for studying the cognitive neuroscience of creativity. On 6 February 2017, I improvised for six hours without a break on eight different kanteles in the Black Box hall of the Musiikkitalo, Helsinki Music Centre. There were EEG caps on me and three listeners, and the data was recorded for about two hours from the beginning of the event.
From the musical perspective, my personal starting point for the six-hour improvisation was to test and experience the reactions of my mind and body to this way of making music in a time scale that was stretched close to the limits of my capacity. My text will look into the project and analyse it solely from my point of view: as a musician researching the process of long-lasting kantele improvisation based on ancient Finnic tradition.
The main questions in my study are: What is happening in the consciousness preceding and during the state of the so-called quiet exaltation? What are the elements or components needed to be able to achieve this kind of mental state? What is the meaning – the importance – of this music to its producer? What would be the relation of the musical elements and automatized finger movements stored in my long-term memory through the years of practise with the consciously invented and unconsciously produced music?
This exposition describes a game-artwork called Probationary, which was commissioned to present the 'lived experience' of men on probation. The game has been played by the men on probation ("on licence"), by criminologists at Liverpool John Moores University, by civil servants involved in probation services, and by a wide range of players in art and design contexts.
In the exposition we show how the question of who can and should play the game leads into fascinating critical trajectories unique to interactive arts of this nature: namely, if someone can interact with an artwork as an employee, how can the relation of art and work be recalibrated? What follows is a description of the theoretical basis for games as forms of critical media artwork, and a tentative framing of the concept of "Art for Civil Servants" as a method for social artivism. The exposition frames this example of "Art for Civil Servants" within a lineage of new media art, and socially engaged art, while seeking to distinguish an original methodology and emerging mandate for this form of artistic research.
The distinctive proposition of this exposition for the field of artistic research, is that art's utility as a research practice can be purposefully deployed outside of cultural fields. "Art for Civil Servants" is therefore a name for a speculative field of artistic research, which will draw on social science methodologies, and seek agency in the world in this way.