Keynote Symposium Composition and Research, GMPU Klagenfurt

On composition as ecology. A posthuman tractate.


Posthuman thought calls for polyphonic and integrationist approaches. In reference to the philosopher Rosi Braidotti, I propose that composition is a compound field of art-with-research-practices, opening up terrains where artistic activity and knowledge production can co-emerge and interact. My practice of composing and researching is grounded in listening perception, as I connect with the world through my ears, tuning into a situation. This idea resonates with indigenous positions (Robinson, 2020) and with feminist listening. From here, I will critically investigate the traditional art/science binary. Understood as a posthuman practice and activity, composition cross-pollinates and ferments disciplines, genres, and cultures in a positive way. It motivates and empowers us to think, and act beyond binaries: beyond the art/science and art/nature binaries, beyond the binary of living/non-living.

Since the 1960’s, composers have used the term ecology in connection with music. Models from ecology enlighten my situation as artist within the surrounding culture and environment and contribute conceptions for compositions and staging. Defining my works as theatrical or performative ecologies allows me to handle the interrelation of human and non-human agencies. This tractate will further discuss how decomposition, a core concept in ecology, becomes an artistic method. In my practice, I collect and carry ideas with me for some time (Latin tractare—to carry, to handle). Developing a life of their own, the diverse materials in my mind interact and inwardly heat up like Haraway’s compost pile. They mature, decompose, and re-assemble in a flow that contributes to my compositional process as ecology.