In my practice of using Spaces as Voice Teachers (2019), it becomes clear how unique spaces are in their (acoustic) feedback. The solid structure of the architecture and the spaces that the architecture frames are selective. They support some sonic expressions more than others. Simultaneously, they control the temporal existence of different sounds. In Spaces as Voice Teachers the different spaces stimulated the further exploration of certain vocal expressions more than others. Site-specificity turns here into site-determinacy, as an understanding of the music that the architecture holds space for, which is the priority in my artistic expression. (See Spaces as Voice Teachers)
I see here parallels to the work of Alvin Lucier. Lucier creates both music inside space and space inside music. He engages with sound, architecture, acoustics, and perception. In his I Am Sitting in a Room (1969) he starts from the investigation of the music inside the space by recording his voice in the space. By playing the sound that was recorded in the space back to the space and recording it over and over again, he more and more reveals the music inside the space while the sonic traces of the space become the space inside the music. His approach is closely informed by acoustics and audio engineering knowledge and research. He makes this knowledge experienceable for the audience, but he does not engage with the communal aspects and the lived dimensions. The latter are important to me and my work.
Pauline Oliveros also finds music inside spaces and spaces inside music. Her Deep Listening (1988) is a spatial listening and a bodily listening. Similarly to my practice, her exercises engage with the space and the way our listening and sounding relates to it. Pauline Oliveros interacted with spaces and created possibilities for transforming the space through sounding. She saw “space as a musical partner” and she improvised with her accordion and in collaboration with other instrumentalists acoustically in real spaces (Oliveros, 2006). In this way, she deeply investigated the music inside space. The atmosphere her work radiates is meditative and aims to stimulate wellbeing. Even though the involvement of all senses is important in my work, it is not as introspective. The ways in which the performances are shared is active and explorative on the performers’ and the audience’s side.
In my work the space inside music is created by the sonic scenography. I understand it as a flexible sonic space inside a fixed space which co-creates the sonic space and in this way simultaneously reveals the music inside space. The performances are informed by the people, the performer as well as the audience, who are involved in the project as much as by the space. Their musical capacities are explored in collaboration with the space, and define the building material for the sonic scenographies (dictionary).