Tools and Material(itie)s Research Seminar, University of Leeds, March 7th 5-7pm

You are warmly invited to the next School of Performance and Cultural Industries research seminar –

Tools and Material(itie)s      
Dr Scott McLaughlin (School of Music), Dr Maria Kapsali (School of PCI), Dr Joslin Mckinney (School of PCI)

Tuesday 7th March 5pm-7pm
Lecture Theatre 2, School of Music, University of Leeds
Please book a place with Linda Watson – All Welcome

The three papers in this seminar aim at highlighting the way in which theories and discourses on tools and material(itie)s inform practice and thinking in music, somatic work and scenography. Apart from positioning the overall enquiry in relation to specific disciplines, this research seminar also aims to put forward a set of questions that deal with wider, cross-disciplinary themes: In what ways do theories of materiality shed light on artistic processes?  What is the relationship between tool and tool user? How does a non-anthropocentric view inform understanding of experience and perception?

Scott McLaughlin, Lecturer in Composition and Music Technology, University of Leeds

I work with objects that sound, finding ways to explore their materiality such that music emerges as a negotiation between human intention and ‘thing-power’ (Jane Bennett). In this way, composition becomes an exploratory process, a performative rather than representational idiom wherein composer and performer ‘surf the contours of material agency’ (Andrew Pickering). I work by finding metastable sounding states in instruments and other vibrant things, exposing heterogeneities that offer the performer multiple paths and dynamic exploration. Composition is the act of creating frameworks and constraints within which these spaces can be explored.

Maria Kapsali, Lecturer in Physical Performance, University of Leeds
I am a practitioner of somatics and a researcher of performer training with a particular interest in the way these practices shape modes of intentionality and (self)understandings of subjectivity. This paper will explore the use and making of tools in somatic practice and performer training. It will consider the ways in which different somatic practices render a diverse set of biological and psychophysical processes as ‘intra-organic’ tools  (Hickman 1992) as well as the ways in which they develop distinct modes of intentionality that lead to the re-appropriation of common objects as tools and/or the design of new ones. In what sense, could somatic practices be considered a technology and how adequate are existing critiques of technology to interrogate the use of tools within such practices?

Joslin McKinney, Associate Professor in Scenography, University of Leeds

In the theatre, as Rebecca Schneider has pointed out, we have tended to think of material as inert until human agents infuse it with life. Yet designers, performers, technicians and audiences are all affected by what Jane Bennett calls the ‘vibrant’ nature of matter. In my presentation I look at the scenography of Katrin Brack to consider the ‘ecstasy of things’ (Gernot Böhme) and the process of intra-action (Karan Barad) that allows matter to be given its due. Brack’s excessive use of material challenges the usual, highly controlled, theatre space and draws attention to unruly matter that is fully part of a performance’s becoming.

Best wishes,

Scott, Joslin and Maria

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.