Rachel Elliott
Brandon University
There is increasing appreciation for the role that location plays in the experience of a musical event. This paper seeks to understand this role in terms of our habitual relationships to place, asking whether and how being musical somewhere can expand and transform our habituated comportment there, and with what consequences. This inquiry is anchored in a series of site-specific improvised performances by Jen Reimer and Max Stein, and the theory and practice of the late experimental music pioneer Pauline Oliveros. The argument made interpreting these performances is grounded in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of embodiment, and Alia Al-Saji’s reception of it. This paper claims that such site-specific improvised performances can elicit a sort of hesitation in our everyday style of sensory-motor conditioning, and, concomitantly, awaken a layer of sensory living amenable to radically new sonic and behavioural configurations.
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