EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Electroacoustic Performance Practice in Interdisciplinary Improvisation

James Andean

James Andean, Centre for Music & Technology, Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki PL 30, 00097 Taideyliopisto, Finland


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The increasing mobility and accessibility of electroacoustic tools in recent decades has brought electroacoustic performance practice into ever-closer contact and collaboration with a broad range of other performance paradigms and art forms. This paper examines some of the issues this implies for electroacoustic performance practice, focusing specifically on the context of free interdisciplinary improvisation, which arguably represents a particularly clear case of a fluid performance situation and the dissolution or renegotiation of boundaries between practices and art forms.
A number of central issues emerge, including:
– the clash between the extemporaneous nature of free improvisation and the need to prepare certain electroacoustic tools in advance, by coding, mapping, patching, etc., potentially resulting in problems of cognitive shift and delayed response;
– problems in communication between performers that can arise from the use of non-gestural or non-demonstrative tools, such as the laptop, together with a questioning of the prioritization of communication between performers over other elements;
– a distinction between ’multidisciplinary’ and ’non-disciplinary’ performance practices; and,
– issues of mobility and localization.

EMS13 Proceedings