ClownDown 1 (Price 2021, Vigil, :5-6 Sept.)

Soothing  (Laasonen Belgrano 2021, early morning, 6 Sept.

ClownDown 2 (Price 2021, Vigil, :6-7 Sept.)

The presentation is a performance philosophical exploration problematizing the non-conceptual potentials of ornamentation-as-methodology (Belgrano 2018, 2020)  and the role of apophenia in the process of ornamenting. Through an act of over-spilling, over-abundance and over-vocalization a problem emerges modestly: a desire to investigate the relation between two simple notes and a space-in-between. This simple beginning is the base from which to study the 'between-worlds' of what is known and unknown, sensed and non-sensed, between reason and imagination, between self and other.  The methodological point of departure is the Seventeenth century concept of 'ornamentation': a music manuscript, performed as a research-meditation-through-action. This seems necessary because much like the 'ripening' of trauma, 'what a piece of ornamented music' IS can never be decided in advance. It is a becoming, not a being. 'Ornament' may be a term associated with the frivolous in propositional philosophy, but in music 'ornament' is profound. Pursuing the methods of ornamentation with commitment entails an open-ness to the totally UNKNOWN.  As a method it is commutable between philosophy, empirical science and music. Like alchemy, it is entirely non-doctrinal and experimental. It forces the participants to reflect on some fundamental questions which transect disciplines: What in any encounter causes acts to change direction and transform? What is the significance of touch in an encounter? How do parts relate to wholes? How are we to judge if these connections are significant? To what extent does apophenia play a role in the process of ornamenting? The term 'apophenia' is most often deployed as a psychiatric concept for the abnormal heightening of significant connections. Building on the later phases of Lenkiewicz's work, Price's research (2017) demonstrated several techniques by which it might be induced. It may be a useful corrective to pathological under-connection. This research aims to explore how such a heightening of sensed connectivity is both necessary and desirable in musical performance, and perhaps (though we can not say in advance) in broader therapeutic interventions. We aim to show how methods of musical ornamentation and 'hyper-connectivity' may contribute to the harmonious development of inter-disciplinary research in general.


This project develops two previous doctoral investigations (Belgrano 2011 and Price 2015). Both dealt with the concept of 'the UNKNOWN' as a developmental force in performance methods as art results/art works. Both challenged academic research traditions. Both re-evaluated artistic practice and questioned the institutional norms of its performance and presentation.

In an interesting case of parallel-processing both projects (unaware of each other’s existence) were boldly curated and met with similarly hard institutional resistances. Both were driven by a maximum openness towards all possible forms of transformation. Both separately explored cross-disciplinary interventions, inter-actions and intra-actions spoken of by Barad (2012) and did so in ways which were openly 'heretical' within academia: not least because of their obviously mystical tendencies. Universities may encourage the referencing of mystics such as Theresa of Avila or A.O, Spare or Robert Lenkiewicz as 'historical examples', but few institutions have the courage to promote practical experimentation with their methods.

By chance or by fate, the separate Belgrano/ Price search projects collided, inter-acted and merged via the Performance Philosophy Network. A riotously productive art-making process ensued. Collaborations rather than confrontations multiplied - despite (or perhaps because of) profound philosophical and theological differences informing the two PhD projects. In terms of 'ideology' the collaborators might be cast as enemies. Dr Belgrano is a committed Christian cleric with interests in early Renaissance music and mysticism, whereas Dr Price self-describes as a 'base materialist and libidinal alchemist'. These axiomatic differences aside, there is a strange and fertile over-lap: a yet-to-be mapped liminal zone between their approaches. From Belgrano's side this productivity takes its bearings from Renaissance musicology, the Christian mystical tradition, and a profound faith in the relation of 'Logos' to 'Incarnation'. Price worked as an assistant to Robert Lenkiewicz for several years, and he approaches the un-mapped territory via the creative practices of Hermeticism, Paganism and Alchemy, each considered as political-materialist arts and points of resistance to 'the judgment of God' (Nietzsche, Bataille, Deleuze). This makes for unusual dialogues between the researchers, to say the very least.

Like the sea hitting a cliff-face, the online conversation created intricate and powerful new patterns in a manner which is obviously related to Belgrano's work on 'Ornamentation as Methodology' (Belgrano 2018, 2019), via the open-ness to fundamental disagreements about values, and due to our conflicting axioms, the conversation shaped new perspectives. It points towards truly UNKNOWN connections. The traces (results) of poetry, sound, images and survival-narratives have led the researchers to this current application. The proposed research is informed by deep trust of the 'Unknown Other' (Lingis, 'Trust', 2004). Belgrano and Price contact each other only at a distance, via computer, allowing unconditional editing of each other's materials. Price writes incessantly but seldom speaks on telephones or any other social media, unless it is to music. It may be that he uses a specific mode of silence as a means of 'haunting' the collaborations. The Belgrano/ Price musical projects develop an aesthetic intimacy (if we define 'aesthetic' as 'embodied knowledge') which is more often embedded in somatic (live) performance.

In their research collaboration Belgrano & Price are exploring four main objectives:

1. To investigate relationships between sound, meaning, touch and the sense(s) of self. This sense of self of

course implies 'the sense of an encounter (or being touched) by/with/through the 'Other'.

2. To investigate how we make sense of Otherness via processes akin to musical praxis: most notably

consonance, dissonance, 'pure voice' and ornamentation.

3. To investigate the cancelling of normal time-conditions in a variety of 'non-normal'

situations: trauma, dementia and other mental conditions, ecstasis and so-called 'mystical experiences'.

4. To investigate the relationship of this non-linear temporality to trans-generational trauma, especially where

collective trauma 'ripens' long after the empirical events.