This exposition looks into the multilayered potentials of solo performance in both acoustic piano and samplebased audio-visual formats. The artistic research project, which ran from 2016-2018, was funded by the Danish Ministry of Culture's national program for artistic research (KUV) and was carried out as part of my tenure at Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen as associate professor.
As a pianist, I am engaged in how I can work with concepts of multilayeredness within the single player limitations of solo performance and in the connecting processual stages of the research practice. How can this apparent solitude be transformed into a dialogical situation of manifold relations between player-piano, body-instrument, audio-visual, documentation-presentation, practice-performance, practitioner-performer?
The research practice investigates these relations through a variety of instrumental approaches which are documented in sound and on video. Through experiments with different ways of listening and looking (back) into the process, I attempt to find ways of creating dynamic and dialogic circuits in the practice between the reflexive modes of play and the reflective modes before and after play, again hoping to elucidate some of the multilayered potentials within the work.
During the research I also began to work with audio-visual sampling leading to the development of the Video Keyboard. On the surface the the digital video keyboard and the acoustic piano share the same keyboard design of 88 black and white keys, but in terms of their deeper mechanical and programmic architecture, they differ on most levels. Across these two basic formats, I explored different approaches to the mobility of form and flexibility of structure by converging various elements, both documentation, sample-based, instrument-technical and embodied, into an improvisational situation where the various elements are recontextualized and given (new) form.
The project has resulted in a series of published works that are manifestations around the main field of focus, solo performance, displaying different variations on the core questions of the research: How can one work with multilayeredness as a solo performer by entering into a dynamic and dialogic interaction with one's own materials and ideas? And how can this be unfolded in a performative situation played out between the compositional and the improvisational?
This exposition is composed of a short introductory Prologue (present page), followed by an essay On Multilayeredness in Solo Performance which reflects on the title and research topic. Process map gives an overview of the project's over-all development. Practice grounds illustrates the interlinked areas of the research practice – the so-called "works" (stickworks, footworks, fieldworks, frameworks etc.) which include both core instrumental practice(s) and relating perspectives such as documentation, listening, coding and contextualization. The Video Keyboard page is dedicated to an in-depth presentation of the prototypical instrument, which could be said to be the most significant contribution of the project. Published works presents the artistic results and the exposition closes off with an Epilogue that seeks to weave together the manifold threads of the project in a final coda.