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Tactile Paths is an artistic research project that articulates and expands the nexus of notation and improvisation in contemporary and experimental music. The project interweaves direct artistic experience with insights from improvisation studies, the social sciences, philosophy, and various scholarship in the arts to reveal methodological connections among diverse artists such as Richard Barrett, Cornelius Cardew, Malcolm Goldstein, Lawrence Halprin, Bob Ostertag, Ben Patterson, and the author. By focusing on how notation is used, rather than on what it represents in an abstract sense, the author shows how written scores emerge from and feed back on ongoing improvisational processes. Thus, it is argued, they are not fixed texts whose primary purpose is to prescribe and preserve, but rather tactile paths in the improviser’s ever-crescent musical and social environment. This practice-based approach aims to lay the conceptual groundwork for theorizing and broadening the creative relevance of work whose importance to practitioners belies its marginal presence in academia and institutions.
PhD Dissertation, University of Leiden, 2019

The Digital Dissertation: History, Theory, Practice Ed. by Katherine Gosset and Virginia Kuhn (forthcoming), 2019

Visionary landscape architect Lawrence Halprin’s The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment (1969) is an interdisciplinary model for collaborating through and with notation. In this article, I outline RSVP’s potential to articulate undertheorized connections between notation, collectivity, and improvisation in the work of a number of present-day composer-performers through the case study of British composer-improviser Richard Barrett’s fOKT series (2005). At the same time, I show this music can help redress a number of blind spots in Halprin’s own ideas about scores – especially the inclusive, participatory political vision that grounded them.
Contemporary Music Review (forthcoming), 2019

Music that features the interface of notation and improvisation tends to dwell in liminal regions of musical labour. It thus calls much entrenched musical vocabulary into question. The word score is one such example. What seems like a synonym for notation in everyday parlance turns out to be something quite different on closer inspection – more regulatory, yet at the same time more inclusive. This article explores three different meanings of the word score through the lens of composer-improviser Bob Ostertag’s 1990s tetralogy Say No More: a cut, an index of a game, and a record kept. Say No More consists of a chain of tape pieces and ensemble pieces in which performers Joey Baron, Mark Dresser, Gerry Hemingway and Phil Minton were put in front of a machine-made mirror of themselves … with wacky lenses that distorted the image into something superhuman. In the performances the musicians tried to keep up with their digital reflection, a task at which they could only fail. Although the notation seems to play a minor role in this dynamic, its usage in the score as a whole offers important lessons on what writing might still have to offer composers in the digital era.
Tempo 72 (283), pp. 21–33, 2018

Here I employ techniques of anarchiving to explore the dynamics of notation, improvisatory performance, and analysis in Fluxus artist Ben Patterson’s Variations for Double-Bass (1961). Coined by process philosophers Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, the concept of the anarchive refers to “a repertory of traces of collaborative research-creation events. The traces are not inert, but are carriers of potential.” Variations’ proto-anarchival qualities drive the structure of the exposition, which includes superimposed video documentation from my own performances, as well as brief analytical texts and performance instructions for the reader. I hope that this meta-anarchival process both sheds light on Patterson’s work, and shows how documentation and analysis in the spirit of the anarchive can propel experimental (musical) practice forward in unexpected ways.
Journal for Artistic Research, 2018

Journal of Sonic Studies, 2017

“Three performances: a virtual (musical) improvisation” is an artistic experiment that the authors call a ‘performance-reading’. It delineates three different stages of liveness by combining and interweaving a verbal/ graphic transcription of a recorded musical improvisation by the authors with an analytical text. We open with a discussion of liveness in the initial improvisation – the first performance – of which the chapter is considered a mediatized representation. Following the possibility that liveness may also inhere to mediatized representations, the text and score themselves are then presented as the second performance. Drawing on theories of reader-response criticism, we explore how the reader becomes the audience, interacting with the written artifacts in the co-construction of meaning. Thirdly, the text and score are offered to the reader as actual (re)creative performance materials, extending into realtime and phyiscal space the virtual performance in which they have been involved throughout throughout the chapter. On the whole the authors argue for a conception of liveness beyond temporal-spatial attendance and situate the experience of liveness right within the aesthetic experience of the individual.
Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance. Ed. by Matthew Reason and Anja Mølle Lindelof. London: Routledge, pp. 242–253., 2016

When we improvise together in music and dance, our bodies, instruments, and environments not only interact; they become mutually dependent. A bassist’s shoulder shifts, bow slides, instrument rings… vibrations bounce off the walls, reach the dancer’s inner ear, filling the lungs, lunging toward the bassist’s shoulder: these sounds, movements, spaces, and perceptions form a real-time feedback loop that blurs where you end and I begin. Recent research in embodied and situated cognition by scholars such as Clark and Chalmers (1998), Gallagher (2005, 2007), Hutchins (1995), Noë (2004), and Suchman (2007) provides a theoretical foundation for formalizing this continuity. This literature has inspired us to reconsider how cognitive processes we tacitly know within a specific aesthetic framework are in fact at work throughout everyday life. In four videos taken from an hour-long studio session recorded in February 2012, we explore these processes once again in our own practice, and offer reflections in the form of program notes that invite the audience to perform these connections themselves.
Critical Studies in Improvisation | Études Critiques en Improvisation 8.2, 2012

Proceeding of the (Re)thinking Improvisation Conference 2011. Ed. by Henrik Frisk and Stefan Östersjö. Malmö: University of Lund, 2012

Critical Studies in Improvisation | Études Critiques en Improvisation 7.2, 2011

The Improvisor, 2004

Open Space Magazine 5, pp. 231–250, 2003

Open Space Magazine 5, pp. 231–250, 2002