The point of departure for my artistic research project is the piece Ng, composed by me in 2014 for an ensemble of three musicians without instruments and three dancers. Having reached a critical point in my own practice as a saxophonist where the identity of my music and that of the instrument seemed too intricately intertwined and convoluted, I happened to attend a dance rehearsal where the choreography was rehearsed without accompanying music. I listened to the rehearsal with my eyes closed, activated the situation musically and suddenly found myself in a soundscape that was full of musical possibilities seemingly free of much of the problems with western music that the saxophone represented for me. Possibilities that I tried to make sense out of when composing Ng. Approaching an interdisciplinary perspective towards choreography and dance, the movement of the human body became the music material. The sounds that appeared did not originate from an instrument built with the purpose of projecting a certain sound on to the world; they were of this world and in that sense concrete. But they were also of human anatomy and in that sense, I believed, more malleable than other concrete sounds and already in a close relationship to human perception and understanding. I hoped that, by abandoning the music instrument and approaching a choreographic perspective, I would contribute to the theories and practices of western art music while also challenging conventions that I felt was weighing it down—just as the saxophone weighed around my neck.
During my artistic research project I intend to challenge Ng and investigate the concepts behind it more thoroughly before finally revisiting and reworking it with the knowledge gained during the research project. Does a choreographic approach offer a substantial addition to western art music theory and practice? Can such a premise challenge how music notation is approached and help expanding how music structure is thought of beyond how it is communicated through notation? Can it change time measuring mechanisms of music and advance the way space is approached?
The disposition of my research project is such that I can criticize the ideas of Ng in retrospect, while still actively working on refining them both in practice and theory through Ng revisited. In juxtaposing Ng and Ng revisited I hope that my research questions, my methods, the context of my research and whatever new knowledge my research project can offer will become clear while simultaneously activated by, and contained in, my own artistic practice. As such coalescing concept, form, theory, material and presentation; something that I believe is an important ambition of artistic research.