ABSTRACT


The research explores artistic/philosophical aspects of 'ornamenting' as a method for the de-creation

and re-creation of vital connections. Starting modestly by investigating relations between two simple

notes and a space-in-between, we extend the method far beyond its traditional musical setting. We

develop this via an investigation of memory, trauma, and exile, with a view to discovering techniques

to alleviate personal and social dis-location.


The project divides into four related areas. Firstly, an investigation of the relationships between

sound, meaning, and the sense(s) of self. This sense of self entails significant encounters

by/with/through the 'Other'. This in turn requires an examination of how we make sense of Otherness

via processes akin to musical praxis: most notably consonance, dissonance, 'pure voice' and

ornamentation. Secondly, to map experiences of Exile in all its forms: forced re-location, spiritual

homelessness', 'existential isolation', excommunication, and experiences of 'Othering'. Thirdly, to

investigate the canceling of normal time-conditions in crisis situations such as trauma, dementia,

and so-called 'mystical experiences', and relate this non-linear temporality to creative endeavors and

healing. Fourthly, to develop practical testable, transferable and teach-able interventions to mitigate

''exile-related traumas'' in the broadest sense.

NO SELF CAN TELL /  INTET JAG  KAN NÄMNA


PROJECT DESCRIPTION  (Submitted to The Swedish Research Council /Vetenskapsrådet / Artistic Research, March 2021)

POPULAR SCIENTIFIC DESCRIPTION  


This project aims to develop new methods of in-depth communication.
Digital technologies create an ever-increasing flow of messages,
images, emails, chat and tweets. The constant noise of sales and
advertising notices threatens to bury meaningful communication.
Politics and spirituality, love and sexuality, culture and education
are increasingly presented as consumer choices. In the old-fashioned
language of left-wing politics this fragmentation, exile and
meaninglessness is due to the fact that "capitalism makes everything
solid evaporate". At the same time, expressed in a right-wing
political voice, it is because we have allowed foreign ideas to
dissolve our traditions, nations, religions and families. Regardless
of political affiliation a consensus emerges: we are losing our
ability to make meaningful connections. This is where the design of
this research project begins.

When facing new dangers we often instinctively retreat. Biologically,
the older systems in our bodies take over: heart rate increases, blood
pressure rises, the amygdala, the deep and automatic systems of the
brain buzz. In times of cultural crisis, we do the same. When
Christian civil wars ravaged Europe during the late Middle Ages,
artists and philosophers sought refuge in ancient Greece and Rome.
Through encounters with the past, something new occurred: the
renaissance: a rebirth and a revival. Biologically as well as
culturally we retreat to move forward, as a preparation for a long
jump into the future. Faced with lethal nihilism, our research
tactically retreats into forms of knowledge which are generally
considered obsolete: religious mysticism, Renaissance music, alchemy,
and other forms of practice long been banished from scientific and
social acceptance.

Our main approach is taken directly from Renaissance music: we talk
about "ornamentation" as a method.To modern ears the term 'ornament'
is often associated with unnecessary details. But in the renaissance
sense, the term invokes what is most foundational: a way of returning
to basics in order to reconstruct new meanings. It starts with the
simplest possible elements: sing two notes at any tempo. Repeat,
repeat, repeat. No matter how skilled the singer, noticeable changes
emerge, often starting with tiny differences in duration, volume, and
pitch. Willed or not-willed, the differences grow from within the
repetitions, just as surely as variations in a biological mutation
move from plankton to humans. No single organism could predict or
consciously perceive which path life will take. This partly explains
the project's title "No Self Can Tell/Nothing I can mention".

We use "ornamentation" to create captivating poetic and musical works,
but these are of limited importance compared to where the methods
themselves might lead. Belgrano's activities in existential guidance
and pastoral care, as well as Price's work with second - generation
Holocaust victims, cancer survivors and the socially disadvantaged,
point to larger and more urgent tasks of re-connection. Today we also
see that the corona pandemic has created isolation and human exile in
ways which we cannot yet fully understand. Can people who have been
injured and traumatized by experiences of loss, exclusion and
isolation be helped by ornamentation as a connective method? Can
artistic research methodology be adapted to create relief in crises
and traumatic events? How might such methods be applied to social
vulnerability, disjunction, and exile? Ornamentation as a method
demands that we try to relate to what we know nothing about. We do not
know where the method will lead. But we know how to begin finding out:
in the movement between two tones.



In Swedish:

Syftet med detta projekt är att utveckla nya sätt till fördjupad kommunikation. Ny teknik i vårt samhälle skapar ett ökat flöde av sms, epost, chattande och twittrande. Ett ständigt oväsen av reklam och notiser konkurrerar ut meningsfulla möten. Politik och andlighet, kärlek och sexualitet, kultur och bildning presenteras alltmer som nya konsumtionsmöjligheter. Med gammaldags vänsterpolitiskt ordalag beror denna fragmentering, exil och meningslöshet på att ”kapitalismen får allt av värde att dunsta'’. Samtidigt uttryckt med högerpolitisk röst beror det på att vi tillåtit främmande idéer att upplösa våra traditioner, nationer, religioner och familjer. Oavsett politisk förankring visar sig däremot ett visst enhetligt samförstånd. Mitt i en kris infinner sig förmågan att  faktiskt skapa mening. Här börjar utformandet av detta forskningsprojekt.

 

När vi möter ett dilemma drar vi oss ofta först instinktivt tillbaka.              Biologiskt sett tar de äldre systemen i våra kroppar över: hjärtfrekvensen ökar. I tider av kulturell kris gör vi på liknande sätt. När de kristna korstågen under sen medeltid härjade i Europa sökte konstnärer och filosofer sin tillflykt till det antika Grekland och Rom. Genom möten med det förgångna inträffade något nytt: renässansen, dvs en återfödelse och ett återuppvaknande. Biologiskt så väl som kulturellt drar vi oss tillbaka för att i nästa skede röra oss framåt, som en slags förberedelse inför ett stort kliv in i framtiden. I mötet med meningslöshet retirerar denna forskning taktiskt till visdom som allmänt anses vara föråldrad: religiös mysticism, renässansmusik, alkemi och andra former av agerande som länge förvisats från vetenskaplig och social acceptans. Precis som Europa på 1500-talet återförenades med antikens konst och idéer utan att för den skull hänge sig åt de gamla gudarna, kan vi återförenas med ett ”förflutet meningsskapande'' för att låta historiska metoder anpassa sig till vår egen samtid.

 

Vårt främsta tillvägagångssätt hämtas direkt från renässansmusiken: vi talar om ”ornamenterande” som metod. Denna metod kan te sig både omodern och förbryllande. Dessutom är ett ornament ofta förknippat med onödiga detaljer. Med vår forskning vill vi förespråka ornamenterandet som ett sätt att återvända till tingets ursprung för att därur omforma och rekonstruera ny mening. Allt börjar med det enklast möjliga: att sjunga två toner i vilket tempo som helst. Upprepa. Repetera om och om igen. Hur skicklig sångaren än är kommer märkbara förändringar att uppstå. Några av dessa förändringar innebär skillnader i styrka och tonhöjd. Lusten att ”variera” tränger sig på. Att göra något annorlunda. Lika säkert som att ''variationer” i en biologisk mutation  förflyttar sig från plankton till människor. Ingen enskild organism kan förutsäga eller medvetet förnimma vilken väg livet  kommer att ta. Detta förklarar delvis projektets titel ”Intet jag kan nämna”.


Vi använder”ornamenterandet” för att skapa fängslande poetiska och musikaliska konstverk, men dessa är av begränsad betydelse i jämförelse med vart metoderna i sig kan leda. Belgranos verksamhet inom existentiell vägledning och själavård, liksom Prices arbete med andra generationens förintelseoffer, canceröverlevare och socialt utsatta visar på en större och mer brådskande uppgift. I dag ser vi också att coronapandemin skapat isolering och mänsklig exil på sätt som vi ännu inte fullt ut kan förstå. Kan människor som sårats och traumatiseras av upplevelser av förlust, utestängning och isolering hjälpas av ornamenterande som metod? Kan konstnärlig forskningsmetodik anpassas för att skapa lindring vid kriser och traumatiska händelser? Hur kan gestaltande metoder tillämpas på en bredare front gentemot social utsatthet, isolering och förlust av konvivialitet och fördjupad mening? Ornamenterande som metod innebär att vi måste förhålla oss till det vi ännu inte vet något om. Till det okända. Men vi vet hur vi ska börja: i rörelsen mellan två toner.


 



RESEARCH PLAN


PURPOSE AND AIMS

 

The primary aim is to investigate the fundamental issues of how meaning is made, un-made, and re-made. We do not presume that 'making meaning' is univocally ''good''. Some pathways of meaning are disastrous, some are tactically useful, and others are strategically viable and convivial. By 'convivial' we mean those meanings which allow selves and Others, culture and nature, pasts, presents, and futures to live together, and live together well. This may seem a huge ambition for a project which begins by exploring differences emerging from two musical notes. But we take our inspiration from 'hard science' as much as art. Our knowledge of distant stars is largely based on research into the micro-behaviours of the photon and the electron. While the artistic research contributes to performance philosophy and epistemology, our impetus is to take the research in therapeutic as well as creative directions, working on three levels.  

 

At a micro level, we will explore ornamenting as, a 'way of doing' detailed ornaments in music and poetry performance. This is for the purpose of discovering and re-configuring methods in artistic research, using musical/artistic/performance terminology. At this level it is a way of exploring our own traumas, but reaching beyond our personal concerns as artist-researchers to connect with other practitioners in new ways. 

 

At a meso level we aim to move from our specific method to a broader methodology. This will be explored by applying out processes to interactions with other artists and institutional dialogues. We hope to work with peers and students via mini-symposia and artistic research sessions. We will gear ornamentation practices to areas beyond music – performance philosophy, theology, and artistic research in academic settings. This could involve developing new courses and curricula in Higher education such as an MA in Art and Theology at UCS, or courses linking cultural expression, epistemology, and human rights.

 

At a macro level we aim to test the methodology in wider social settings, far outside of academia. We hope to extend our techniques beyond artistic research to make connections between disparate academic fields, educational institutions, sub-cultures, inter-faith dialogues, wider society, and those who are exiled from those zones. We hope the artistic research can develop a set of testable and transferable procedures for making meaningful connections.

Belgrano has extensive experience of vocal performance as a connection to ‘the Unknown’ and non-linear ‘space-time travelling’ via lamentation (Belgrano 2011, 2016, 2020, Uehara & Belgrano 2020), and also therapeutic interventions, pastoral care and counselling with palliative patients, and elders suffering from memory-deterioration and dementia. Considered physiologically, hearing is one of the 'deepest' senses. It is certainly with us before we are born, and recent electro-physiological research (Blunden et al, 2020) supports a position long-known to end-of-life carers: hearing is among the last of the senses to fail.

 

The relationship of basic rhythms, words and songs music to memory and health is an under-explored therapeutic avenue. There are philosophical as well as scientific precursors to our artistic research. Schopenhauer figures music as the most perfect embodiment of the noumenal 'Will': madness is a 'break in the thread of memory', such that the relation of the self to time is disrupted (Schopenhauer, World As Will and Representation, chpt.32). The suggestion is developed in Freud's concept of trauma and 'Nachtraglichkeit' – a dislocation of the normal rhythm and direction of time. Commentators on 'hauntology' such as Barad (2010) and Derrida (1993) note this uncanny tendency of meaning become 'non-self present', to float forwards and backwards in time: especially when related to trauma.

 

Dr Price's work on the Lenkiewicz Biography project, independently of Dr Belgrano's work, discovered similar accounts of deep temporal disjunction. What was more surprising was how many of the second-and even third-generation Holocaust survivors he interviewed expressed a sense of temporal as well as geographical exile. Many did not feel in the least traumatised until much later in life when the phenomena suddenly 'ripened'. Thus the four main objectives of the research are:

 

1. To investigate relationships between sound, meaning, and the sense(s) of self. This sense of self of course implies significant encounters by/with/through the 'Other'. This in turn requires an examination of how we make sense of Otherness via processes akin to musical praxis: consonance, dissonance, 'pure voice' and ornamentation.

2. To use our artistic research to map experiences of trauma and Exile in all forms: forced physical re-location, 'spiritual homelessness' and 'existential isolation', loss of meaning, excommunication, experiences of social 'Othering' - many of which necessarily overlap.   

3. To investigate the cancelling of normal time-conditions in a variety of 'non-normal' situations: trauma, dementia, ecstasis, so-called 'mystical experiences', prolonged social isolation: and to investigate the relationship of this non-linear temporality to trans-generational and social trauma: especially where collective trauma 'ripens' long after the empirical events.

4. To develop and refine practical testable and teach-able interventions to mitigate ''Exile-related traumas'' in the broadest sense. We have realistic hopes that at least some of the harms done by social isolation, ex-communication, fragmentation and forced displacement are amenable to creative and positive interventions.     

 

The answer to the question of why this should be studied is tragically timely. Beyond the implications our art/practice has for individual therapies, the year 2020 has provided ample materials requiring large-scale analysis. Although it is too early to guess the extent of the social trauma linked to the Covid pandemic, it is likely that the collective harms will cast huge shadows through time. In many countries the inability to bury and mourn the dead in a meaningful, collective manner is already a problem. There also exists a quiet but large-scale catastrophe of isolation and loss of agency in old age, culminating in the 'social exile' of end-of life care. This was announced in the late twentieth century by Phillippe Aries (The Hour of Our Death, 1981). The 'medicalisation of Death' has worsened since then (Sjöberg et al. 2018, Sundström et al. 2018), and has reached a crisis point with the current pandemic.

 

STATE-OF-THE-ART

The ethico-political vocal intervention of Daimanda Galas' ''Plague Mass' (1991) but must be noted as foundational. Her performances for the dead and dying were crucial at a time when fear and hatred were at the front of public perceptions of AIDS/HIV. Her later work 'Defixiones' is similarly relevant. For Galas, the work of lamentation is 'separate from a safe and useless concept of ''music''' and aimed 'to encourage action rather than passivity' in the face of trauma and death (Galas, in RE/Search, 'Angry Women', San Francisco, 1991).

For evidence for sonic arts research as therapeutic intervention, we note the documentary film 'Alive Inside' (2014). This records the work of the social worker Dan Cohen who was among the first to use music to 'revive' people with chronic memory problems such as dementia. There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support his approach:

 ''Listening to and performing music reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion, and reward. Two recent studies—one in the United States and the other in Japan— found that music doesn't just help us retrieve stored memories, it also helps us lay down new ones […] Researchers at the music and neuroimaging laboratory at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have shown that singing lyrics can be especially helpful to people who are recovering from a stroke or brain injury.'' (Music as Medicine: The Impact of Healing Harmonies Longwood Seminars, April 14, 2015).

 

More recently we have musicandmemory.org, a pioneering musico-social work dealing with Covid isolation. Similar research is being undertaken by the Music Therapy Association in the USA: (https://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/MT_Crisis_2006). Of course memory-loss need not be all negative, pathological, or privative. Habits of thought and embodied practice need to be forgotten in order to develop new ones. This strikes us as an opportunity to share and cross-pollinate our investigations with the researchers Lindal, Larsson and Jutterström who are presently investigating the positive role of forgetting in their project ''Lethe''. Belgrano's research practice is at the forefront of these new sonic possibilities (Belgrano 2016, 2020, Uehara & Belgrano 2020) but as we have already stressed, and in keeping with Galas' intentions, the work here is wider and more important than 'music'. We hope to weave the artistic research practice with a wide range of philosophical, theological, sociological and scientific material, following clues provided by neurological research (Blunden et al, 2020).

 

SIGNIFICANCE AND NOVELTY

To the best of our knowledge nobody else is exploring the wider implications of ornamentation-as-methodology. Some are of course pursuing it in terms of musicology, but our aim is different. We expect our methods to offer new roads for connectivity beyond the ambit of 'the individual' or 'academia'. Taking up a well-known theme from Deleuze and Guattari the key significance of our research is a voyage into rhizomes, diffraction, virulent ecology. The research is practice led. The artistic, intellectual, and therapeutic ornaments of this project should and will curate us at least as much as we curate them. Whatever happens, happens in between the 'fixed notes' and definitions.       

One of the most significant uses of our approach is the utilization of ornamentation to bridge disciplinary gaps which have in some cases widened to chasms. This fragmentation of knowledge has been noted as a problem by the theologian Alan J. Torrance who writes:

'Scholars are often reluctant to listen to, or indeed respect, the voices of other disciplines as much as the familiar voices within their own. This is especially the case when those from another discipline are perceived as challenging established beliefs and practices. When this happens, it can be enormously tempting for scholars to withdraw into the comfortable echo chambers of their own fields. '' ('Clarity is a Virtue', Alan J. Torrance, St Andrews University.  https://templetonreligiontrust.org/explore/clarity-is-a-virtue ).

Fragmentation is not in and of itself a problem. But psychologically and socially, a poverty of communication routes between the fragments is dangerous. We explore the cross-connecting several disciplines in novel ways via our methodology. If our efforts are successful and transferable, we will make a strong and significant contribution to the restoration of dialogues between zones which have largely ex-communicated each other.

An equally significant branch of the research is the application of ornamentation and diffractive practices to trauma and temporality. This strikes us as an urgent area of inquiry a time when for many people, death-rates have overtaken our ability to make sense of the immediate past. Medics now see ten of twelve people die in a single shift (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-55579660). Care workers are in a similar position, and rising demand among care workers for spiritual care has been noted in a recent report by Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities (https://www.myndighetensst.se/om-oss/nyheter/nyhetsarkiv-aktuellt/2021-02-04-andlig-vard-under-covid-19.html). Fast-track funerals limited to a handful of attendees have challenged how we mourn the dead. The situation generates personal and collective trauma on a scale more often associated with all-out warfare. At some point people will try to make peace with their memories of the pandemic. It is hoped the research develops ways to help them.   

Thirdly, we believe the methods of ornamentation are significant moves towards new artistic and therapeutic ways of thinking about and experiencing time. Be it personal or global, trauma and historical injustice is often deemed untreatable due to a dominant, masculinist model of temporality. ''The past is the past, we can do nothing about it'' and ''What can not be cured must be endured'' are anthems of socio-political apathy and moral surrender. In figuring the past as an inert and unchangeable lump of facts, we risk paralysing present action - and thus do no service to the future. In proposing alternative and oblique models of time we hope to develop a closer community of ''artist/ performer/celebrant'' and ''reader/listener/congregation'', in which each makes essential contributions to the production of meaning. We hope the research stimulates reflection upon creativity and history as zones for collective action, acknowledging how 'what is past' is of significance for the present, but also allowing that the meaning of the past can always be de-created and re-created.  

 

PRELIMINARY AND PREVIOUS RESULTS

Using the ornamentation method we have already generated a large body of writings on topics as diverse as alchemy, apophenia, apodictic theology and idolatry, anabasis and ecstasy, katabasis and depression, prayer and ritual, memory-work and imagination, creative therapies, the metaphysics of music and philosophy. Ornamental traces of the pilot study are collected, curated, mediated and exposed in the open-access RC artistic database, preparing the ground for future international peer-review publications as well as live performance expositions for presenting the final research results in 2024. The RC expo “No Self Can Tell” is providing opportunities to show how artistic research may expand and grow into an ornamented tapestry of all kinds of colours, shades and shapes, providing audio- visual- and verbal landscapes for the visitor to explore while making meaning of exile and trauma in the broadest sense. https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/980511/988893)

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The project title ''No Self Can Tell' is a reminder that ''the'' self is a grammatical fiction. Any self exists relationally, which is to say: subjectivity is ecology. The ''I'' is formed by complex inter-dependent networks. Any 'borders' between inner and outer systems are of necessity porous. For these reasons, aesthetics (conscious or unconscious sensate encounters with an 'Other') seems the most fruitful zone of exploration for trauma-related disorders of identity. The words 'no self can tell' suggest that resources for healing and re-connecting damaged psycho-social ecologies exist. The world, the Other– the 'not self' – can tell us what these resources are... if we connect with them in appropriate ways. As Terence McKenna said of Sartre's ideas of the exiled and excommunicated individual - ''It is not nature which is mute [as Sartre claims] - it is we who are deaf''. 

Our preliminary research suggests methods for establishing this re-connection. We build on two PhDs - Price's work on apophenia and Belgrano's work on ornamentation – as well as their post-doctoral performance research (Belgrano 2011 and Price 2017). Both deal with the concept of 'the UNKNOWN' as a developmental force in performance methods and art results / art works. Both re-evaluated artistic practice and questioned the institutional norms of its performance and presentation. In an interesting case of parallel-processing both projects explored the cross-disciplinary interventions, inter-actions and intra-actions spoken of by Barad (2012), and did so in ways which were openly 'heretical' within academia.

By chance, the separate Belgrano/ Price research projects inter-acted and merged via the Performance Philosophy Network. Collaborations multiplied - despite (or perhaps because of) profound philosophical and theological differences. 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), The traces (results) of poetry, sound, images and survival-narratives led the researchers to this current application. The proposed research is informed by deep trust of the 'Unknown Other' (Lingis, 'Trust', 2004). The methods are highly syncretic, ranging from phenomenological and hermeneutic approaches, to diffractive arts practice, to textual exegesis and depth-psychology. These are the spokes of the wheel. The hub of the research is the Seventeenth century concept of 'ornamentation'. 

This traditionally begins with a music manuscript, which is performed as a research-meditation-through-action. We believe it can be applied to any ''text'', and by text we mean any system of signification: we have yet to find limits. This method seems especially relevant to issues of exile and trauma because much like the 'ripening' of trauma, what a piece of ornamented music is can not be decided in advance. It is a becoming, not a being.

'Ornament' may be a term usually associated with the frivolous, 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? 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 Camillo's Memory Theatre and the later phases of Lenkiewicz's work, Price's research (2017) demonstrated several techniques by which it can be induced. It may be a useful corrective to traumatic under-connection. We propose methods of ornamentation and 'hyper-connectivity' as contributions to the   development of inter-disciplinary research. We aim to find some solutions to the social  'exile' and disconnection of the present pandemic. 

 

In terms of theoretical perspectives, we can set out three main strands of inquiry:

 

1) Philosophical and Theological Aspects of the Project

In monotheistic history and doctrine, the narrative of ''humanity'' begins with the Exile from Eden. Natural sciences have toppled the Abrahamic world-view. We now know the planet is far older than the Holy Books attest. 'The heavens' are not a place above, but an immense abyss extending in all directions. In terms of the monotheistic territories of time and cosmology we have suffered a double trauma. This 'Exile from the Exile'  is linked to personal 'spiritual'  crises and cultural disintegration. 

 

In a series of notes from 1885-6 Nietzsche presciently comments on nihilism as the greatest risk for the European cultures which were already well advanced in their ''globalisation'' by missionary work, commerce and colonial violence: "Everything lacks meaning" (the untenability of one interpretation of the world, upon which a tremendous amount of energy has been lavished, awakens the suspicion that all interpretations of the world are false)'' (Nietzsche, WP, Book 1, 6. 'European Nihilism'). Taken in its epistemological and ethical registers, nihilism is a terrifying black-hole into which all values disappear without trace. Some philosophers reacted with unconcealed horror (Kierkegaard, MacIntyre) and others with hope and affirmation (Benjamin Noys, Jill Marsden, Judith Butler) occasionally bordering on joyful thanatropism (Nick Land). What seems general is an agreement that 'big meanings' are nowhere to be found. The philosophical aspect of our own research takes this nihilism as a starting point. Ornamenation starts with the barest minimum of differences.

 

2.  Aesthetic-Experiential Aspects of the Project

Fortunately, ''meaning'' is not to the only star by which cultures navigate. There are other values which are essential to human flourishing:  aesthetic values.           

Alphoso Lingis, Jill Marsden and Jane Bennet's researches engage with the self-organising powers of matter without the need for an 'architect' or directing consciousness. Our research explores how performances 'compose themselves' in ways which can not be planned or predicted. Allowing the 'raw material' to take an active role in the research involves a certain abdication of authority – an admission that there will be many occasions when the researchers literally do not know what they are doing. We wish to allow the research materials as full and free a life as possible, observing whatever connections they make between themselves. The aim is to 'honour the phenomena as they emerge' rather than pre-determine which conceptual frameworks they will work for when they 'grow up'.

One of the key territories we wish to explore is the 'missing community' and the cross-cultural drive to find some kind of deeper communion via artistic practices. By the 'missing community' we mean more than the alienation of contemporary capitalist-nihilism: we hope to explore the wider drives we have towards understanding that which is-not-yet / ‘that which is missing’/ the sacred-mysterious, the unknown-uncertain. In many ways the ornamentation methods are centrally concerned with opening the artist/ researcher to new kinds of material encounters with the unknown.  


3. Therapeutic/Communitarian Aspects of the Project

Several practical/communitarian issues are raised by the philosophical and aesthetic issues. 

Instead of the 'standard model' of community as based on the idea of self-same 'individuals', we will explore newly emerging models of community which make use of the ideas of 'sympathy', and 'intimacy' and 'inclusion' beyond the humanist principle of (self) identity. As Jane Bennet has shown, there is a democratic but anti-humanist impetus to be found in 'an older, more bodily definition of sympathy as a physics or network of affinities between natural bodies'' (Bennet, Whitman's Sympathies, p. 610). What implications do these thoughts have for our research? The obvious starting point is that an aesthetic engagement with the notion of 'self' and 'community' gives us a different grammar of thought to work with. To have 'aesthetic' or 'musical' relationships to others is to connect in ways which do not reduce their differences from us to sameness. To connect aesthetically is a strange and powerful form of intimacy, a connection which takes place via currents of sound and movement which transverse the borders of bodies and 'separate communities' all the time - but are seldom consciously noticed. Ornamentation suggests ways to re-think and re-encounter 'self' and 'community'. 

 

TIME PLAN AND IMPLEMENTATION

On-going activities throughout the full period (Jan. 2022-Dec. 2024):

• Previous communication between researchers has been intra-acted via digital media and will primarily continue in this way. This will also be the case for communication with advisory group and peers.

• Seminars and workshops will be organized on-line as well as live through EHS.

• Documentation of Ornamenting process: we will develop the ideas/praxis and explore connections with any and all related fields: music, theology, performance/philosophy, therapeutics history, sociology: there are doubtless more avenues than we are presently aware of. Research Catalogue will be used as an on-line exposition space and database. This will be continuously updated and made available OPEN-ACCESS, though with some EXPO-rooms accessible only for advisory group and collaborating peers.

• The performance venue ‘Kulturtemplet’ (https://www.kulturtemplet.org/) in Gothenburg will be used for recording as well as experimental open laboratories throughout the whole project period. This venue (a converted water cistern from 1901) is unique as a performance space due to is 20 sec. natural reverb.

Year One (2022):

March. A re-construction of the deportation journey of Belgrano’s father as a child from Karelia (Finland) to Gothenburg/Öckerö by train. Performance ornamentations (multimedia-composing-writing) of this reconstructed trip will be documented and made available in the RC.

October. A three days hybrid (live/on-line) mini-symposium on the theme “LAMENTATIONS as EXILE” will be organized for a restricted number of invited peers at Swedish Theological Institute, Jerusalem (https://www.svenskakyrkan.se/STI).

October. Rehearsal and recording of M. Lambert Lamentations (c.1662) “Leçons de Ténèbres” in Jerusalem during seven days.

• Publications:

-three pieces of music/performance incl. documentation of ornamented process will be produced and distributed to gain feedback from the student body, wider audiences and performance peers;

- one international conference performance presentation;

- an academic paper will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication, hopefully to appear early in 2022 to allow us early feedback from the scholarly community.

Year Two (2023):

As above, but with the benefit of peer feedback we should be able to refine and intensify the research outputs. By the end of the second year we should have a clearer idea of what therapeutic and social functions are latent in the work.

March-December. Interviews will be held, gathering relevant information from persons willing to talk about their experiences of exile/trauma and begin to formulate ideas for practices which might assist them. Nothing is decided in advance and we may pursue any line of approach from song, poetry, memory work, creative practices of prayer, and so on.

May.  A series of fact-finding visits to places of 'interior exile' to establish what, if any, are the current phenomenological 'common denominators' of long-term homelessness in the cities closest to the researchers. As well as generating interview data to inform an academic paper, this will serve as a test-run for gathering information in Calais, France. This is the most extreme situation available for study. After the forced break-up of 'The Jungle' migrant camp in 2016 the authorities imposed a policy of "no fixation points" for migrants to settle in, aiming to prevent other large camps forming. We aim to survey the situation closely for six days and listen to some of the most socially excluded people on the planet.   

• Publications:

- six pieces of music/performance with a critical commentary will be produced and distributed to gain feedback from the student body, wider audiences and performance peers;

- two conference presentations/performances. One of these will almost certainly be with the charity 'Cardboard Citizens', with whom Price has worked via the Lenkieiwcz Foundation's 'Vagrancy 2' project.

- at least one more journal article will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

Year Three (2024)

February. Ongoing social performances, including 'music-and-memory-workshops’.

June. A final international 3 days hybrid colloquium take place at Sigtunastiftelsen (https://sigtunastiftelsen.se). Three invited international keynote speakers.

August. A series of specific engagements with genuinely un-known territories in which we can test our methods to their limits. These might be geographical territories, or social situations such as a previously unknown religious ceremony, or explorations of 'personal' psychic space. The rationale for this is to try to maximally connect 'two worlds' just as the musical process of ornamentation connects and complexifies and makes new sense, starting with two notes. .

December. Presentation and distribution of final results:

- A song-cycle, 'We Have Nothing to Say Without Each Other' combining music from the researchers with words from the interviews according to ornamentation methods. This can be distributed via Price's current record label, Black Box Recordings.  

- The RC EXPO “No Self can Tell” will be submitted, peer-reveiwed and published (ex.in JAR). The expo will be made available also as a hybrid performance-installation to be take on tour. An EXPO catalogue will printed and distributed.

Above all we want the 'ornamentations-as-research-results' to be a transferable methodology. With this aim in mind we will produce:

- An academic/practical research book detailing "Ornamentation-as-Methodology", our methods, set-backs, successes, research conclusions and suggestions for future research and learning in higher education (Performance/Art/Theology). Potential publisher: Performance Philosophy Book Series/ Rowman & Littlefield

.- A course on “Performing ART and THEOLOGY” (advanced level), EHS from fall term (HT24).

 

PROJECT ORGANISATION

RESEARCH GROUP

-       Elisabeth Laasonen Belgrano, PhD in Theatre and music Drama (Univ. of Gothenburg, 2011). Project leader. Research activity incl. equally shared project coordination: 50%.

-       Mark D. Price, PhD in Philosophy (2002), PhD in Poetics (2017). Research activity incl. equally shared project coordination: 50%.

 

ADVISORY GROUP

-       Petra Carlsson, PhD (Radical Theology/Art/Ecology),

-       Will Daddario, PhD (Theatre/Performance Philosophy/Psychotherapy)

-       Rick Dolphijn, PhD (Philosophy)

 

INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL COLLABORATIONS

Karen Barad (Gender Studies / Philosophy / Physics/Justice)

Alphonso Lingis, (Philosophy)

Silvia Battista, PhD (Performance, Religion and Spirituality/Experimental Theatre/ Activism

Maria Leppäkari (theology/intercultural-religious studies/director STI Jerusalem)

Claire-Maria Chambers (PP/theatre studies/theology/existential therapy)

Johannes Landgren (Artistic Research / Church musician)

Anna Lindal (Artistic Research / violin)

Will Self (Literature / Philosophy)

Jill Marsden (Literature / Philosophy)

Lars Iyer (Literature / Philosophy)

Laura Cull O'Mallarche (Performance Philosophy)

Kerstin Dillmar (Priest, Sigtunastiftelsen/ Theology / Art/ Palliative Spiritual Care)

 

 

EQUIPMENT

Basic needs: Computers, microphones for recording, software, literature.


NEED FOR  RESEARCH INFRASTUCTURE

University College Stockholm (EHS), Sigtuna Foundation and Swedish Theological Institute Jerusalem (STI) have all agreed to provide our project with relevant research infrastructures including libraries and study space. We are at present working online at a distance which will continue throughout the full project period.

 

REFERENCES and SOURCES

Barad, K. (2014), Diffracting Diffraction: Cutting Together/Apart, Parallax, 20-3, 169-187

Bataille, G.(1986), Eroticism (1986) trans. Mary Dalwood. City Lights Books, ISBN 10:0872861902.

Belgrano, E. (2011) Lasciatemi morire’ o farò ‘La Finta Pazza’: Embodying Vocal Nothingness on Stage in 17th Century Italian and French Operatic Laments and Mad Scenes, ArtMonitor, doct. diss. Gothenburg, 2011, ISBN 97891-978477-42. 

Belgrano, E. (2016) Vocalizing Nothingness: (Re) configuring vocality inside the spacetime of Ottavia, Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies, Vol. 1 Number 2, pp. 183-195,

Belgrano, E. (2018), Ornamenting Vocality: Intra-Active Methodology for Vocal Meaning-Making. Ruukku Studies in Artistic Research, Vol. 9 https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/370801/370802

Belgrano, E. L. (2019) A Singing Orna/Mentor's Performance or Ir/rational Practice, Ruukku Studies in Artistic Research, Vol. 11  https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/402061/402062

Belgrano, E. L. (October 2020) Mapping the Burden of Vocality: French 17th Century Vocal Lamentations, Somatic Practice and the Japanese Concept of Basho, in: Somatic Voices in Performance Research, Kapadocha, Christina. (ed), Routledge Voice Studies: Research Monographs.

Uehara, Mayuko & Belgrano, Elisabeth L. (2020) Performance philosophy seen through Nishida’s ‘Acting Intuition’, in: The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy, Cull, L. & Lagaay, A. (eds), Routledge Press.

Bennett, J. (2016), Whitman's Sympathies, Political Research quarterly, volume 69 issue 3: 607-620, Utah University Press.

Bennett, J. (2010) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things Duke University Press Books, ISBN 10:0822346338.

Blundon, E. G. et al, Electrophysiological evidence of preserved hearing at the end of life, Scientific Reports (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-67234-9

Butler, J. (2000) Ethical ambivalence. In: M. Garber, B. Hanssen and R. Walkowitz (eds.) The Turn to Ethics. Culture Works. New York: Routledge, pp. 15–28.

Butler, J. and Connolly, W. (2000) Interview. In: W. Connolly (ed.) Politics, Power and Ethics: A Discussion Between Judith Butler and William Connolly, Theory & Event 4(2).

Carson, A. (2006) Eros the Bittersweet, Dalkey Archive Press, ISBN 10:1564781887

Chambers, S. and Carver, T. (2008) Judith Butler and Political Theory: Troubling Politics. New York: Routledge.

Deleuze, G. (1988) Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. Translated by Hurley, Robert. San Francisco: City Lights Books.

Kant, I. (2011) Metaphysical Foundations of the Natural Sciences Cambridge University Press ISBN 10- 0521544750

Kierkegaard, S. (1992) Either/Or, Penguin Classics, ISBN 10-97801404457-70

Land, N. (1992) The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism, Routledge; ISBN 10- 041505608X

Lambert, M. (c. 1660) Lecons de Ténèbres (musical Easter lamentations)

Lenkiewicz, R. (1973) The Vagrancy Project, paintings and extensive sociological notes.

Lenkiewicz, R. (2000) The Addictive Behaviour Project, paintings and extensive sociological notes.

Lingis, A. (1994) The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common, Indiana University Press, ISBN 10 -0253208521

Lingis, A. (2011) Violence and Splendor, Northwestern University Press, ISBN-10 -0810127520

MacIntyre, A. (2013) After Virtue, Bloomsbury Academic; ISBN 10- 9781780936-25

Marsden, J. (2002) After Nietzsche: Notes Towards a Philosophy of Ecstasy, Palgrave-MacMillan, ISBN 10-0333918762

Nietzsche, F. (2013) The Will To Power Book One – European Nihilism, Barnes and Nobel, ISBN 10-0760777772

Noys, B. (2014) Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism, Zero Books, ISBN 10-1782793003

Price, M. D. (2002) PhD 1 Violence and Value in Post Kantian Philosophies. Bolton Institute (BIHE). 

Price, M. D. (2017) PhD 2 50% Death. Manchester Metropolitan University

Price, M. D. (forthcoming, March 2021) Studies in Exile and Flesh: The Life of Robert Lenkiewicz, Vol. One, White Lane Press, Plymouth.  

Price, M. D. (2021) Dekalog, https://blackboxrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/dekalog

Sartre, J.-P. (2007) Existentialism Is a Humanism, Yale University Press ISBN 10 – 0300115466.

Sjöberg, M.et al. (2018). Being disconnected from life: meanings of existential loneliness as narrated by frail older people. Aging & Mental Health: 10.1080/13607863.2017.1348481.

Sundström, M. et al. (2018). Encountering existential loneliness among older people: Perspectives of health care professionals. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Wellbeing, 13(1): 1474673.