What does performance art tell us about the world we inhabit?

We’re always glad to see the outputs from people using the collections, and a few months ago composer Amble Skuse explored the British Music Collection for a curated series commissioned by our partners Sound and Music.

Amble’s series of pieces can be read in full at https://britishmusiccollection.org.uk/article-category/amble-skuse-curation Her series begins:

I’m interested in power and how it manifests. So the choice to curate the Experimental box from the British Music Collection may seem a little counterintuitive. After all, power stems from big concertos, commissions from kings, and requiems for great people, doesn’t it? Well, that is one way of looking at power, but if we want to critique it perhaps we need to look at composers who are not taking this top down approach to composing. Not asserting control over the players with every minutiae of notation.

In the experimental box we find composers whose work explores the usual musical considerations, tone, melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, colour etc, but also are aware of the structures around how we make music. These experimental composers are exploring ways in which we can subvert traditional hierarchical music composition using techniques from cultural theory. In this box we find approaches from Marxism, Anarchy, Feminism, Disability Theory, and Globalisation applied to the music making environment.

I’m interested in the ways in which music can incorporate broader socio-political themes, through its performance direction. Personally, I work somewhere between composer and performance artist, using music and sound in a performance art context, imbuing the ‘performance’ of the work with further readings related to socio-political context. I find that this approach allows me to use context to add meaning to my performances.

Explore Amble’s series further.

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