The Orna/Mentor: I care and cure for making meaning at the very beginning. This is the process of performing-as-doing: Everything begins again and again. Always a new beginning. A new encounter…
The Chorus of Unknown Reviewers: I would like to understand more about the process itself. The process of thinking, analyzing and arguing.
The Orna/Mentor: First, I don’t separate caring and curing. Instead I will continue to make them become one. Ca/u/re is the paradoxical act of caressing, shaping, caring for, curing, healing, encountering, hand-ling with care, as well as thinking, analyzing, and even arguing… there is no end to all -ings that keep on becoming new over and over. In each moment I meet You. As in ”The You encounters me by grace – it cannot be found by seeking. But that I speak the basic word to it is a deed of my whole being, is my essential deed.” (Buber 1970/1996:62) My shaping becomes a meaningful gift. An existential meaning-making mattering. Not a thing in itself, but a relational mattering full of meaning. I hold it in my hands. It vibrates. I can feel the warmth. Or the Cold. Warm. Cold. Warm/cold. And this process cannot be explained. It is a mystery that can be found without seeking. Found in a smile. In the eyes of whoever smiles. In the sounding tears of a heart. In the shape of a letter. In the meaning of words. In the sense of a sentence. In these relational acts I find meaning, and in many more. Because as an orna/mentor I am t/here to ca/u/re in any and every sense. I li/o/ve my task. And love is all t/here is, as a continuum. (This is also the connection to the concept of Nothingness, which is All and Nothing as a continuum).
The Chorus of Unknown Reviewers: As research this exposition would need more interpretation and contextualization.
The Orna/Mentor: This is the one reason we here and now perform our dialogue together. Not me as separated from you. But here and now. Making art is to leave space for the unknown to happen. For me to be able to meet here and now in the moment is perhaps the most important. It is not about the exposition in itself, but the way we understand our different ways of thinking as-part-of-the-exposition. The way we relate. I will not hesitate or move away. I will move directly into whatever you ask me to encounter. It is a critical moment, which in an existential dialogue can’t be avoided. We need to figure out, and re-configure out again as-part-of a dialogue. Meaning will never become the same. Always new. Only in an explorative collaboration will we reach our full potential. The relations I propose are fragmented, yes, I know they are. The reason for these fragments to be exposed in this way is to make space for more-than-one possibility. But they are not at all simply disconnected elements, too vague or too initial. It is in fact up to you/us/me to see, to hear and to recognize. Consider this ca/u/ring as a gift-exchanging process, as pointed out by Terra S. Rowe in her paper on Grace in intra-action (2017). She refers to intra-action as ”a process of continual reciprocal relations of exchange with the other-than-human world, emphasizing that we all fully rely on an exchange of gifts with others”. We may contribute with fragmented sentences for us to start playing, discovering, relating, becoming alive as-part-of, battling as-part-of, fighting as-part-of, making peace as-part-of, making sense of as-part-of … You see, the context is part of us in this very present moment. This situation. Where I am encountering you. You are encountering I. We could potentially call it an intrapretation. I think that would be a better word. And I can tell that in this situated intra-active process arguing becomes the sort of lo/i/ving battle that has no intention to put A against B or C against A. In this sort of battling process, we have nothing to lose. Arguing is dissolved into a stubborn, curious and intense desire to see and sense. Leaving harming comments or bullying attitudes out the context.
The Chorus of Unknown Reviewers: Then what about the many links to lengthy theoretical texts or videos with theoretical content, which you don’t not really elaborate on in their own words…? An I am a bit exhausted to pop up to the hyperlinks, especially if they have a long inserts.
The Orna/Mentor: Your question is important. My behavior to throw you out into completely exhausting wordy situations - I do understand that can be frustrating. I give you a problem. I place it like a stone right in front of you on your path. But you see, I think it is actually a gift for you from me to critically care for the problem. If my act comes from me to you in an honest caring gesture, you have the choice to meet me. To care for what has been given. And I – as I do now in this dialogue – care for your comments. You don’t have to take in all theory. Not right now. Perhaps you would like to do so later on, at a different time. If you are in that mood, you can enter the theory in a different occasion and merge within it. But if I didn’t give you the opportunity it would have been lost. You would have come to a different point which would have brought you to different conclusions. You might then also think that I don’t elaborate enough on certain theories or issues, and also here you have a point which I follow with interest. Perhaps my thoughts can be explained as follow: In the moment of an encounter a world of possibilities open all around, in all directions. I need to taste the many different flavours given. Like a little child who encounters the world in new ways. Eyes wide open I take it to my heart and soul. I might show no sign of action, but inside of me something happens. Silent thoughts connect and disconnect. One thought is added to another. The process is ir/rational. I am myself a laboratory set up for unknown results.
Perhaps I need to prepare my reader better for the journey into the unknown. But who can ever be prepared for the unknown? Perhaps I ought to prepare the reader that it will become an exhausting adventure. But who can prepare for the unexpected and exhausting adventures in life? Perhaps I ought to tell that it will be ir/rational. Though in this case the ir/rational is presented in the title… and following the ir/rational can certainly become an exhausting process. I can only agree. But if you as a reader is able to tune into the world offered to you as a small child – perhaps you will see something new in the given chaotic situation.
The Chorus of Unknown Reviewers: Yet what is currently missing in this exposition almost entirely, or at least for the most part, are links to previous research on the performance of so-called early (vocal) music as well as a more detailed documentation of the actual artistic processes of working with specific materials, which inspired the you toward the conceptual reflections offered in the expo. These connections and frameworks are among the aspects that would need to be developed further in order for this exposition to become a more fully-fledged piece of artistic research.
The Orna/Mentor: This is a tricky issue you bring to the surface. Something I consider continuously. Remember, as an orna/mentor I listen and sense whatever I encounter. I try to deal with the issue of goal-oriented expectations, such as “fully-fledged” pieces of artistic research. My references include whatever the situation is offering. Of course if the situation highlight previous historically informed performance issues, these would then be what I would see and sense. But I think that practice-led artistic research offers a much richer framework than one might expect. Even perhaps an endless framework, allowing me as a researcher to explore unknown connections rather than connection that are already visible and give. As you would expect in a practice-based research situation. This is also the reason why I use the term ir/rational in this presentation. The process of orna/menting can involve a practice of imitating what has already been produced. But slightly varied. Since, nothing can never be reproduced exactly the same - as we all know - when made by a living being ( or lets say handmade). It is also important to understand what exactly is at issues. What is it I want to know? The 17th century performance practice or the practice of a voice-artist today? My references will obviously not be the same, even if the sources and the research frames might overlap. If we move into the frame of how the voices did it then, how the situation was then – in these cases we will use the references for that kind of research. But if we ask questions about the unknown, about listening and voicing, about Nothingness, about meaning-making as orna/menting and caring – in that case our framework and references might become a totally different one. Artistic research allows for this kind of ir/rational movements. If you as a reader – with all your own thoughts and ideas - become part of what you read or experience with you whole being, only then can artistic research become a more fully-fledged piece of research. When research results become part of society, part of the universal (instead of being left aside and separated in a box) then we are dealing with something existentially important.
The Chorus of Unknown Reviewers: The result you are presenting is more a rich ensemble of notes – however engaging and thoughtfully drafted those notes may be – than a fully developed contribution to artistic practice-related methodological and theoretical debates. It is not yet clear how exactly different conceptual elements or lines of exploration interrelate. For example, what is the relationship between the concept of orna/menting and the idea of voice as nothingness, the latter of which is central to the kind of musical material you have been working with? How does the idea and praxis of orna/menting relate to 17th-century vocal music: does it have a specific relation to this type of repertoire and the kinds of questions, challenges or possibilities it offers for the practitioner, or what is the concept’s scope of applicability? Further, how do the ideas and/or practices of acting-intuition, translation and diffraction contribute to the mix? The exposition surely includes glimpses into how these different elements do, or might, inform each other and work together, but you could make this significantly clearer by explaining the connections explicitly. There is nothing wrong with a ‘work in progress’ or with the evocative poetic language you deploy, but at present the main points you wish to make simply remain somewhat too opaque. The exposition would also benefit from a more careful contextualisation in relation to studies of vocal/musical performance (concerning especially early music, where possible), and to your own artistic practice.
Another key thing that would also increase the clarity of the argument and make the whole exposition more convincing, would be a more careful unpacking of the many quotes and links in your own words; that is, their more fully elaborated weaving into your own, original, approach.
The Orna/Mentor: I am taking all your thoughts to my heart and mind. I am grateful that something has triggered all these questions. First of all you make me wonder what “a fully developed contribution to artistic practice-related methodological and theoretical debates” could be… But I suggest that we together take a step away and observe what we have produced together in this dialogue.
Because I think I see what you mean and ask for. I will make an attempt to be more clear: We know that (artistic) research is an extremely complex issue. Some results are driven by quantitative strategies, others by more qualitative or performative strategies (Haseman 2006). It is important to come back to this ‘root’ because something fundamental happens right there. It is about encountering ‘as part of’ something or not. In research based on quantitative and qualitative strategies we (as researchers/ readers co/researchers etc.) are not considered part of the same picture. We are sort of all separated into categories that divide us into readers and authors, objects and subjects. We expect results to be fully explained contributions to a discourse or a debate. Measurable and fully unpacked. All facts should at the very best be presented only as ‘final’, and an ‘ensemble of notes’ is never enough. Vagueness is a no-no way in research.
Though working with performative strategies allow for very different ideas to take shape. I don’t consider myself or anything I do as something separated, even if I also relate to frames and structures. Relating as a meaning-making praxis is perhaps what suits me the very best. For this reason, a performance becomes a doing that can only be done as a continuum. I would like to think that overvocalisation as performed in 17th century academic gatherings was a way of orna/menting everyday meaning. One ornament led to another. One saying would always lead further, being caught up by another being’s complex mind or system. One fragmented sigh was attaching to another being’s responding sigh. One comment became part of another comment. You can hear the sound of such ornamenting praxis in composed dialogues by for example Monteverdi. One sigh turns into an ornamented variation by a responding other. An impulse is given, even if it is brief and almost unheard. Opaque, if you would like to use that word. The respondent in an ornamented dialogue must consider him/her/itself as performatively part-of the same image, the same situation, the same breath. Never separated. Never fully apart. Never fully developed. The moment something is considered fully developed something has died. A performative strategy is depending on the doing-as-part-of…. And because we never know exactly our future, the doing itself can’t be anything other than vague, opaque, unclear or whatever words we want to use. Irrational. Disturbing. Mad. Something we should try to fix. Something that needs to be controlled. But I rather like to use the term ir/rational with a slash. Because for the one who includes him/her/itself as-part-of the ongoing performance or the continuum of doing, reason is obvious within the unreason. The rational is always part of the irrational. I hope you can see my point. For me this is artistic research. An ir/rational performative continuum of doing (new) wisdom and knowledge.
So, I haven’t explained the details you are asking for in your comment, but I have tried to make you see the way I think and I invite you to be part of this thinking continuum. We can together move into every detail – together in conversation, or at a distance each of us following our thinking processing. We can invite others to join. The ornamenting act will then spin off into new forms and shapes. Or we can remain in silence. Our breathing will keep on making silent ornaments. Orna/menting in this sense becomes a meditation driven by desire and longing for knowing more and more. Some would say there is a sense of care and love involved. A c/a/u/rating act performed out of love for others and other ways of doing-as-part-of living. As-part-of-lo/i/ving. Inclusively.