Exposition

Hard Times. Lecture Performance as Gestural Approach to Develop Artistic Work-in-Progress (2015)

Falk Hubner

About this exposition

Artistic work is often an essential mode of articulation within artistic research, specifically when practice is understood as both source and target domain of the research. Therefore, within the performing arts, both process and product are essential gestures of artistic research and are indeed “justified and critical articulations of an interest in knowledge production." In this exposition, the format of a lecture performance is investigated and discussed as an explicit articulation through which the process of both artistic work and research is shared, rather than functioning merely as a format for disseminating findings. The format of lecture performance that is investigated here frames the artistic work and theoretical-conceptual framework as two distinct, yet interrelated, processes shared with a conference audience. This includes the deliberate choice for a live performance of artistic work-in-progress, adding a gestural and at times very kinaesthetic aspect to otherwise textually-dominated forms of presentation. The exposition as such has two focuses that are strongly related to each other, approaching the form of a feedback loop: on the one hand, the creation process of a new experimental performance work by Falk Hübner is investigated. "Hard Times" refers to the title of this artistic work: I will carry you over hard times. The performance itself is part of an artistic research into reduction in music, a continuation of the completed PhD research of the author (Hübner 2014). On the other hand, the lecture performance that employs this artistic work-in-progress as "material" as well as the related discussions with conference audiences is also explored. The exposition will demonstrate how these conference discussions strongly inform the work process of the specific artistic work in question and attempt to shed an alternative light on the well-known concept of "audience talks", which typically serve to generate feedback and insights into audience perspectives for artists after tryouts or performances of unfinished work. The audiences of conferences are, in most cases, considerably different in nature than "standard" audiences, offering the possibility of insightful input on quite different facets of both artistic work and research process––provoked by the very form of a lecture performance as described above. The exposition suggests that this type of lecture performance, explicitly including the audience at a conference as important source of information, feedback and peer-review, forms a gestural method of artistic research in itself, whose full potential within artistic research is yet to be explored.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsreduction, absence, music, performance, music theater
date09/06/2015
statuspublished
affiliationUtrecht University of the Arts
urlhttps://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/158044/158045
doihttps://doi.org/10.22501/ruu.158044
published inRuukku
connected toRuukku
external linkhubnerfalk.com

Ruukku portal comments: 1
Anu Vehviläinen 05/02/2016 at 09:46

The exposition Hard Times: Lecture performance as gestural approach to developing artistic work-in-progress⁠ is relevant regarding the idea of the Ruukku vol 5 Call for Papers. In the Call the editors point out that the concept of ”a gesture” is wide: sometimes accurate and sometimes “empty”.

 

The writer understands the lecture performance itself as a gesture:

The exposition suggests that this type of lecture performance (…) forms a gestural method of artistic research in itself (Hübner, summary).” The exposition also deals with a musician’s physical gestures in an interesting way, which adds another perspective on the concept of “a gesture”.

 

The overall readability is good: the exposition benefits from the possibilities of a multimedia publication. For instance the videos and other links are easy to read with the body text.

 

The idea of sharing an incomplete artwork and the process of research with the audience is inspiring. This removes the unnecessary mystique from the artistic work and offers plenty of new perspectives: it benefits both the artist and the member of the audience. The artist’s relationship with the audience is an area, which still lacks research, though the art scene has shown an interest towards this topic during recent years. The exposition encourages the artists to find new research methods in the area of interaction with the audience.

 

The artistic performance itself – what the musician actually did with the music coming from the loudspeakers – was quite interesting. The capability of the percussionist to “play” the music without the instruments was astonishing.

 

In this exposition the writer puts together the art making and the research process. There is the musical-choreographical work Hard Times, which is studied and which is still in process. On the other hand, there is the lecture performance, which tries to show the audience what kind of a work there is (in process) and what theoretical questions there are connected to it. The exposition does not discuss the actual artistic-research process much – such as how does the composer-designer make his artistic decisions during the research process. It is possible that the actual lecture performance explained a great deal about the theoretical ideas behind the artistic work. If so, the audience is more informed about process than the reader of this exposition.

 

The methods used in this research are only little articulated. The writer probably means that the lecture performance itself is a method, but the methodological strategies should be explained in a more detailed way.

 

The discussion with “informed audience” is underlined in the exposition: the reader gets an impression that the audience has a lot to do with the process. Nevertheless, this discussion with the audience stays mysterious in the exposition. Only two topics, “the exhaustion” and the “imperfection”, are discussed, but the audience’s role is still not clear. “Positive feedback” doesn’t clarify sufficiently the audience’s impact.

 

If the writer is willing to develop the research project further, it might benefit several art areas, especially the performing arts such as theatre, music, dance etc. The exposition refers also to the artist-audience relationship, though yet quite vaguely. The writer collaborates with a musician, a percussionist, and it would be essential to point out how music would learn from this research.

 

The exposition discusses the research questions in a slightly unclear way. The core topic is the lecture performance as a performance of a work (called Hard Times) and as an example of artistic research. What is actually studied about the lecture performance is not analysed in a detailed manner. On the other hand, the exposition offers an interesting insight into the concepts of lecture performance as well as musical choreography. The video links help to read the whole exposition.

 

The exposition discusses quite clearly about the tradition of the key concept, “lecture performance”. It presents also some theoretical thinking about identity (Butler). In the beginning of the text the writer discusses about the tradition of artistic research, but this discussion could be more detailed. The exposition presents fruitfully other artists’ works (in text links, videos), which are related to this particular research.

 

The artistic performance (the percussionist playing without instruments, with the loudspeakers) is very interesting, virtuosic and fascinating. This exposition’s clear strength is the way it introduces this kind of art in general. The knowledge on the actual research topic, the lecture performance, is not shared enough.

 

I would like to encourage the writer to go deeper with this research. Maybe there is a lot of information, which was dealt during the actual lecture performance but is not fully articulated in this written text. I would also like to know a lot more about the artistic decisions, which were made based on the discussion with audience. The new ideas, decisions and changes in an artist’s routine are the most interesting moments in regarding the artistic research.

 

I interpret this exposition more as a report of an interesting process than a research article. The exposition is one medium of introducing a very interesting artistic-research work: composing + designing musical choreography.

 

Anu Vehviläinen

comments: 1 (last entry by Falk Hubner - 08/02/2016 at 10:04)


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