Anarchiving (in) Ben Patterson's Variations for Double-Bass


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