Looking forward, it is worth briefly discussing an as-yet-untitled new work for Benjamin and Kanga to be performed in 2022. This new work builds a system where a violin feeds into a resonator to influence and interfere with a piano, thereby overlapping and multiplying human and material agencies. The resonator will receive signals from both the piano and from the violin, while an onstage mixer (under Kanga’s control) will allow dynamic and performative attenuation of the resonator by mixing more or less of the violin. As such, the two human agencies join to become that strange kind of team where both members are working to the same goal but can only communicate through their actions; and their actions are only experienced as a single continuous sonic amalgam, filtered through the resonant-material topology of the instruments. The point here is that the material agency is not in opposition to the human team, but rather it keeps its place as the mix of force and environment in a constant ‘dance’ with the players’ mutualised agency. Both players navigate the dynamic space of possibilities supporting each other and also the material agency of their assemblage-instrument.
Like The endless mobility of listening and In the unknown…, this piece will unfold as players participate in a relational dynamic through a sustained rigorous practice of listening and responding. This nexus of interaction can result in various ‘ruptures’ (Schwab, 2015: 122) from which new epistemic objects and pathways emerge. The practice of such a work is thus carried from what Knorr Cetina calls ‘habitual’ into ‘objectual’ practice, in which ‘objects of knowledge appear to have the capacity to unfold indefinitely’. Such a practice is ‘always in the process of being materially defined’ and thus its epistemic objects ‘continually acquire new properties and change the ones they have’ (Cetina, 2001: 181).
In the spirit of Philip Agre's ‘critical technical practice’, this exposition has outlined an artistic practice developed by three artists inhabiting an entanglement of technique across perceived domains of composition and performance by ‘embrac[ing] the impossibility of foundations’. Across these pieces, the compositional constraints and forces drive the indeterminacy to be generative, creating vibrant structures within the work where the human agency is bound to the material rather than simply producing sound as a by-product of indeterminacy. The generative structuring of the indeterminacy both arises from and further pushes the player’s embodied technique. The composition and performance techniques exist in a knowledge feedback loop around the fulcrum of material indeterminacy.
→ Technique I: The endless mobility of listening
→ Techniques II: In the unknown there is already a script for transcendence
→ Entangled Technique