Up Down Left Right was an 18-month practice-based research project (March 2016 – September 2017) that culminated in two creative outcomes:
- A 3-minute video work
- A 42-page printed publication
This exposition provides contextual information to support the two creative outcomes.
My intention in this project was to explore alternative ways of being a composer by:
- collaborating with a performing ensemble that is tied to a specific locality;
- engaging with the history and traditions of the organisation associated with the ensemble;
- including the wider community of that locality as participants in the creative process.
This provided material for creation of the 3-minute video and 42-page printed publication through an extensive process of selection, re-presentation and re-performance.
On Saturday 11th March 2017 I invited members of the public without prior conducting experience to individually conduct the Salvation Army brass band at the Bristol Citadel in the St Paul's area of the city. The project was made in association with art producers Situations. I engaged with the history of the Salvation Army and the practices and routines of the Bristol Citadel corps, combining this with my knowledge of 20th century experimental and avant-garde musical traditions to create a piece of music shaped by place and locality. By working closely with the Salvation Army brass band and Situations, and sharing ownership of the project with them, I demonstrated an alternative way of being a composer. This was an alternative to the solitary composer who writes a piece in isolation then presents it to the band after it has been written.
In this project the spotlight is passed to the audience so that they can see the effect of their own actions on a piece of music by inhabiting the character of a brass band conductor. The band read the actions of the conductor whilst trying to play their music as best they can. This leads to a situation where both conductor and band are engaged in indeterminate play, almost like directed improvisation. The roles of audience and performer are blurred within the piece. The band is an audience to the participant-conductor, and the participant-conductor is an audience to the band.