Interface: Sounding and the body. Infrastructure: Sounding in society.
Modern tools for music composition, recording interfaces and hardware are moving further from interaction with the body, or from being informed by movement. As a result so are the performances.
Sounds’ means of transmission is moving further and further away from an object moving in physical space. Both the action of striking an object, and the space within which it is vibrating has been almost entirely removed from physical reality. Music process and it’s means of consumption have become almost entirely physically passive, with almost no influence of physical movement. When we rely exclusively on electronic tools of production and consumption, we lose a significant amount of information sonically, and even more experientially. Something has come between us and direct experience and we have been pushed to the limits of abstraction. * What are we losing in the process?
I began to research how cultures have historically interacted with music, sound and dance. This led me almost directly to ritual. Interestingly, ritual places it’s emphasis on participatory ceremony instead of spectacle. It has the power to affect change on an individual and collective basis. It can unite and create community. It helps us to remain connected to our environment, our ideals and to each other. Modern music, despite sharing this power, has trouble sustaining community in a meaningful way. This may be because emphasis has been placed on aspiration of the individual, rather than unity of shared belief.
By shifting our intention to include the physical experience, we open all of our senses and create a fully embodied experience. This can be extremely transformative as it exists on multiple levels of being, both psychological and physical which in combination evokes something in between. This escapes our ability to confine it in fixed form and is the source of inspiration itself.
This leads to the question — What is this driving force within creative aspiration? Where is it coming from? How do we master its expression? Why and how should we? This line of inquiry lead me to take another look at the sciences, philosophy, the arts, spiritual practices and finally esoteric studies outside of the confines of politicised distribution channels such as universities and ‘larger authorities’. Searching for an answer to what this force might be. In the past, the arts and sciences had been driven by a desire to grasp higher principles, in order to venerate larger ideas of life. This, in turn, creates a more meaningful motivation for these practices.
Initially I was looking for a new way to make and perform music within an industry which did not share any of my ideals. ** It tends to homogenise for ease which I found at odds with the pursuit of inspiration and meaningful experience. Which is inherent in its description as an ‘industry’. We need to create outlets for the arts to exist in more meaningful ways. Without the liberated artistic impulse operating within society, our culture becomes increasingly consumerist and utilitarian, without the understanding or the means, to interact and express the more nuanced parts of our psyche. It is hugely problematic as the expression of this very impulse in the past has been the means by which we infuse our basic needs with inspirational ideals and thus keep our focus on that which inspires and motivates us. Again, something has come between us and direct experience. In short we are all acting out the beliefs imposed on us, until we realise that these thoughts and ideals are not our own, and we have increasingly less reminders within our culture or traditions to indicate otherwise. ***
This indoctrination can happen in any context. My findings therefore lead me to a new way of thinking entirely, and to become passionate about removing indoctrination and unwanted beliefs from our psyches in order to express who we really are, and what is truly meaningful to us, on an individual, and collective level. This applies outside of the realm of my personal interest in music and performance, and can be generalised to any experience in life. It ignited a new passion for sharing and applying this knowledge through study of psychology and therapy.
In terms of how we create meaning and make decisions, the conscious mind is much more subject to such manipulation as it is constructed by additive experience or exposure. **** It acts more as a processing tool than an accumulative resource, and is confined to the limits of language and personal experience. The unconscious is where we store information which contributes to a bigger picture, the meaning between the lines so to speak. It also contains the experiential knowledge of the body which cannot necessarily always be expressed through language. It is the wellspring of intuition, in my opinion. This conclusion inspired me to study therapy focused on the unconscious, the inner dreamer / creator, and to train to operate as a practitioner in Hypnotherapy and Sound Therapy. Thereby exploring the inherent power of language and sound to induce and direct unconscious processes to affect change.
Alongside my therapeutic practice, I will examine the role and infrastructure of the arts and the artist in society, it’s relationship to creation of culture and community, and bring any relevant findings from my philosophical and therapeutic investigations into the context of performance in order to try and contribute to the re-instatement of this spirit into the arts.
I am passionate about empowering individuals and communities to embrace their own creative potential as a psychological mechanism for creating change within their own lives. I believe the practice of the arts is a healing tool in itself.
Manage the generation and purity of ideas, motivation and beliefs: Hypnosis.
Apply the affective use of sound without infrastructure: Sound Therapy.
Explore a generative means of creating, sharing and participating in culture: Ritual and its underlying philosophy.
- * Thanks to certain influential philosophers, we have the tendency to dismiss the experience of the body until it has been qualified by the mind. A huge mistake which leaves us vulnerable to manipulation and subject to increasingly superficial experiences. Much like all things in this dualistic existence, we need both sides of the coin to reach a well rounded whole.
- ** Some elements of culture, philosophy and spiritual tradition have in the past been (and in some cases continue to be) extremely oppressive. Particularly in relation to gender, race and caste. Nature and health was seen as an impenetrable enigma, unpredictable and thus possessed a certain brutality. Individualism, consumerism, atheism and industrialisation were in some ways a response to manage that. However, I believe that the initial value inherent in these old systems and practices do need to be re-explored, evolved, updated and re-distributed in a more inclusive manner.
- *** Through exploring new ways of sounding in society and investigating the source of inspiration and creativity, I arrived at a new way of seeing, thinking and living generally. Tracing the source of our creative practices lead me to a fertile history of spiritual aspiration which was almost entirely absent from the surface of our culture/s.
- **** The conscious mind operates more like a computer, and is by and large pre-occupied with our survival. Thus as we go through life the information presented to us creates a “sustain life” mode that edits our experience as we move through it. Unfortunately the parameters of this mode are set by incoming experience which is not always true, ideal or even useful.