Notes on a Distributed Composition
In 2018 I was appointed to the position of Glasgow’s first UNESCO City of Music artist-in-residence. Over the course of a year I worked with numerous community groups and choirs across the city to collaboratively devise and realise a new choral/film work, titled Åčçëñtß, which was performed by an audience of over three hundred and fifty people at its premiere at the Glasgow Royal Concert Halls in 2019. Åčçëñtß explores accents as a sonorous social matter – staccatos and lilts, patterns of difference in our voices, as sonic markers of place and community – sounds that I have come to understand as resonating between our individual and collective identities. This paper presents some of the thoery orientating my compositional praxis, speaking nearby a reflective account of some of the compositional considerations and processes undertaken through the project. Through it I explore Karen Barad’s methodology of diffractive thought, Trinh T. Minh-ha’s notion of speaking nearby within the interval, Pauline Oliveros’ practice of Deep Listening, thinking towards how these might meet through my praxis to come close to Timothy Corrigan’s Refractive Cinema. Åčçëñtß speaks to the complexity of authorship and agency in distributed, collaborative composition and the motive relationships between sound and image, spectacle and spectator – between the individual and the communal.
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