The Film Sextet: a performance malfunction and the wrong audience

Ghikas, P. (2015) The Film Sextet: a performance malfunction and the wrong audience. In: GLITCH 2015: The Politics and Poetics of Failure, Error, Disorder and Noise, 14th December, 2015, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK.

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This presentation / performance tracks the story of a musical composition’s unintentional capacity to mislead both its performers and its audience. At rehearsal, the first run-through of The Film Sextet produced an event that could only have been the result of multiple and continuing failures in a process that typically should have lead the work to a performance-ready status. This aimless, structure-less, emotionless and intention-less version of The Film Sextet bared no resemblance to the composer’s idea of purposed control within a broader scheme of free agency for the performers.

For a work inspired by the performance-driven, improvised narratives found in John Cassavetes’ films, this first take seemed to resemble the anti-language, non-narrative conceptual approach found in The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (Handke, 1970 – Wenders, 1972). The reasons for this generic “malfunction” are multiple: a partly instructions-based score, reliance on non-traditional performance practices, the ensemble is used to playing specific kinds of “new music”, the performers expect a linearity in the score’s presentation. As the composer listens back to the recording, there is a hopeless realisation: like any work, ownership ends at the performance, but how could one replicate this “failure”? How can one intentionally design the absence of intentionality in a musical performance?

The Film Sextet received a “successful” performance, now publicly available to view and listen to online. The viewing statistics are uncharacteristic for this kind of marginal work: a title similarity has exposed thousands of viewers to the wrong Film Sextet. What where they thinking?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Composition; mobile form; improvisation; performance; notation; instructions-based score; improvised narrative
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Music and Performing Arts
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Panos Ghikas
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2016 13:07
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2016 09:13

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00