Preston, Julieanna. Vital Tones [performance], Voice and the Unknown, Inter Arts Centre, Lund University, Malmo, Sweden, 28-30 January 2019.
The aim of this artistic research symposium was to allow for VOICE to act as a guide into the UKNOWN. Through an entangled mishmash of intra-active events (performances, installations, workshop and seminars) participants were invited to explore the potential power of VOICE and its impact on the UNKNOWN or ’that which is yet to be known’. In 17th century Venetian academic circles VOICE was considered to be a symbol of NOTHINGNESS (Calcagno 2003). VOICE was also the primary tool in the creation of the opera genre (Belgrano 2011). Questions driving the event include: how can we understand VOICE in contemporary every day performances, based on both sensuous and intellectual knowledge? What specific vocal features will emerge if we allow VOICE to be the guide into the UNKNOWN aspects of life and living? The symposium was staged as the first one out of three events, allowing for the project to eventually grow into an international platform for Vocal Performance Philosophy, based at IAC. This first event is a seed highlighting the significance of the theme; the second event will be presented as an intra-active performance workshop; the final event will be organised as an international symposia.
The symposium is curated by Nordic Network for Vocal Performance Research, Nordic Network for Early Opera, as well as the Research Network for Performance Philosophy.
Vital Tones critically reflected on four videos that amplify the experience of an original performance work in another media, to another audiences. I contextualised each work in the field(s) of performance/sound theory to highlight the power of sonic works to draw out and disrupt deep-seated emotions towards materials as dead things.
Each work bore out the affective quality of voice, not as song, but as guttural tones, which pointed to a material’s life and plight, and tell a story aurally rather than through verbal language. Consistent amongst these works is a reoccurring sense of grief, sorrow, or lament for a material’s (ill) health and well-being. And they did so in relation to the specific acoustic attributes and architectural features of the venue, The Red Room at the Inter Arts Centre on a winter’s morning.