Submission for Co-Incidence Festival 2020
My artistic practice is about the emergent relationships between myself, instrumentality, materials and uncovering pathways to communicate the ineffable. The state of becoming and oscillations within a threshold are core elements in my work. My compositions focus on textures of sound, rhythm, minimalism and the present moment to uncover this becoming state in sonic worlds.
Using materials, such as shells and rocks found from coastlines, placed inside a piano, creates a dynamic which blurs the lines between improvisation and composition. Preparing the piano with chosen materials, not only allows for discovery of new sounds, but also new techniques through the alchemic relationship of myself, materials and the piano. Is it music? Is it sound art? This aspect of my practice obscures the ontologies of music and sound, which is yet another way the in-between and holding a sense of plurality is embedded into the fabric of what I do.
I am drawn to the in-between and liminality in my work, because of my experience as a non-binary trans person existing in a binary society every day. The art I make now aims to uncover the in-between space, so that it may offer another alternative world to inhabit outside of fixed realities.
This submission comes in two parts.
Part one, “do not be afraid of unstable sounds” is a graphic score, which could be preformed for any instrument, material, or the body. This score is meant for any interested collaborators to interpret and perform as a solo performance.
Part two, “Coastlines” is a performance, for piano (baby grand or grand), materials from coastlines and myself.
Context of the work
This graphic score and live performance (see below) explore the in-between, liminal spaces, thresholds, and live edges. The live edge represents the in-between, a space where we can inhabit. Where edge implies a certain kind of binary, either you are on the edge or you are off, a live edge is a “porous membrane”, a non-binary space we can inhabit, and is a place where we can develop skill (Sennett, p 229).
In my artistic practice, I have been enquiring into how creative resistance can act as a tool and an entry point into a live edge. A tool that doesn’t obstruct performance, but one that “takes hold of that potential obstruction and puts it to use”. To adopt this kind of attitude that resistance can be a cooperation with one’s materials, “a distrust of the self-evident” and a “technique of investigation” (Callis et al).
This kind of attitude toward discovery is one that aligns itself with the in-between and a state of palpable potentialities. Practicing creative resistance is also a kind of political response which does not take things as they are, but allows for what is in front of us to speak with us in new ways. Perhaps also in ways we didn’t realize were possible or could have imagined. To emerge with new ways of creating and becoming in sound through various types of relationship.
Through Coastlines as well as participation in do not be afraid of unstable sounds, I intend to challenge the listener into what the in-between might sound like, and aim to leave a sense of imagination, possibility and presence into the space through the conduit of sound.
Callis, Sarah, et al. “Creative Resistance as a Performance Tool.” Music and Practice, vol. 2,
Sennett, Richard. The Craftsman. Yale University Press, 2008.
Part one: “do not be afraid of unstable sounds”
This graphic score debuted as part of the Freedom of Movement Festival curated by Jan Hendrickse and Nell Catchpole at Iklektik Art Lab in London, U.K., which focused on the medium of sound and its capacity to disrupt, permeate, or circumvent perceived boundaries and norms.
Originally written for prepared violin, this score has been adapted and performed with a small wooden beam, flute, body movement, and a record player.
Here is an excerpt of Angharad Davies performing this score for prepared violin at Iklektik Art Lab in March 2019, London U.K.
Part two: Coastlines
“‘Between’ articulates a divided world that is already carved at the joints.
’In-Between’ by contrast, is a movement of generation and dissolution in a world of becoming where things are not yet given”
This performance is a “trio” between myself, materials from coastlines, and a piano being prepared live with rocks and shells. The musical structure is one piece in thirty minutes which doesn’t necessarily have a beginning middle or end. The performance blurs the boundary of improvisation and composition, indeterminacy and developed technique, with sections more defined in their sound world throughout the thirty minutes.
Technical requirements for this performance:
Access to a baby grand piano.
This piece can be performed acoustic in a resonant space, or could be amplified gently to fill a larger space, as there can be very quiet moments in this piece.
A listening space, ideally in a dim setting.
Hear a recording from one version of a live performance of this piece below.