Music has the fundamental ability to open up spaces of intersubjectivity and social interaction. When two people engage in making music together, questions surrounding relationality arise: As a duo, the two individuals can musically act together in various ways. In fact, it is the wide range of relationality, from close attachment to the possibility of crisis, dissociation, or at least the struggle for togetherness, that unleashes the artistic potential.
Confronting a piece of music, the question of relationship is prompted by music itself. To answer this question, the duo negotiates relational qualities through the process of interpretation. Together with the violinist Johanna Ruppert, I aim to explore how a developing interpersonal dynamic can be challenged and how it may respond to an audience that is made aware of the relational potential in the duo situation.
In an open rehearsal format, we experiment with choreographic elements and
(extra-musical) objects that can facilitate interaction. This performative approach allows to shift focus between different aspects of relation, such as connectivity, trust, resonance, fragility, embodiment or shared space. Drawing on the concept of musical empathy (Deniz Peters 2017) and joint feeling (Angelika Krebs 2015), this also entails questioning how empathetic processes, between co-performers as well as performers and listener, can be induced or intensified, without construing an artificial narrative.
In a live research situation, the audience is called upon interfering and interacting with us as a duo. This may be by moving through the room, (re-)positioning us and/or themselves or intervening with vocal statements. Objects such as threads, ties, hoops or clothes can be used as additional provocative means. Venturing into a state of crisis, our relationship shall be put to the test, only to give rise to new possibilities of relation and eventually to come out of this crisis – strengthened in our togetherness.