Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Physical Interaction with Electronic Instruments in Devised Performance
Dr Neal Spowage
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
De Montford University
Thesis Supervisor
Dr John Richards
Supervisor e-mail
jrich AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Professor Simon Emmerson
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Music Technology
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
Interaction, documentation, collaboration, devising, Effort, Work, Labour, Gender, performance, dance, music.
Abstract: 200-500 words
This thesis describes how I took part in a series of collaborations with dancers Danai Pappa and Katie Hall, musician George Williams and video artist Julie Kuzminska. To realise our collaborations, I built electronic sculptural instruments from junk using bricolage, the act of subversion, skip diving and appropriation. From an auto-ethnographic viewpoint, I explored how collaborations began, how relationships developed and how various levels of expertise across different disciplines were negotiated. I examined how the documentation of the performances related to, and could be realised as, video art in their own right. I investigated the themes of work, labour and effort that are used in the process of producing and documenting these works in order to better understand how to ‘create’. I analysed the gender dynamics that existed between my collaborators and myself, which led to the exploration of issues around interaction and intimacy, democratic roles and live art. The resulting works challenged gender stereotypes, the notion of what a musical instrument can be and how sound is produced through action/interaction. I found that reflective time was imperative; serendipity, constant awareness of one’s environment, community and intimate relationships greatly enhanced the success of the collaborations. Instruments became conduits and instigators with shifting implied genders based on their context or creative use. As well as sound being a product of movement, effort and interaction, I realised it was also an artefact of the instruments.