‘(Musical) Improvisation and Ethics’ is an interdisciplinary, practice-oriented research project funded by the Austrian Science fund (FWF, grant ZK93). Over four years, the researchers will investigate the improvised nature of ethical behavior, using live encounters with musical ensembles as case studies.

Improvisation and ethics are everywhere. People improvise in so many practices – from cooking to sports to migration policy – that it often goes unnoticed. The same is true of ethics; as self-interpreting animals, humans reveal and develop ethical values in practices as diverse as democracy, empirical science, and punk rock.

But the role of improvisation within ethics is often overlooked. Instead, many people and institutions tend to characterize ethics as a matter of consciously, rationally adhering to known norms and rules. Disputes over the content of such rules manifest as the ideological tribalism of our era.

In this project, we pursue an alternative understanding of ethics as an ongoing process. We take as our starting point an understanding of this process as a combination of habitual actions and the spontaneous refinement of those very actions, all driven by a sensitivity to social and environmental context: in a word, improvisation.

To test and develop this idea, we will engage with a practice in which improvisational qualities of ethics are unmistakable: experimental improvised music. The framework is a series of seven, 10-day-long sessions – a ‘musical ethics laboratory’ (Lab) – in collaboration with three leading improvising ensembles: the Splitter Orchester (Berlin), the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra (Norway), and the klingt collective (Vienna). Each ensemble will first participate alone, then in subsequent Labs with each of the others in turn, and finally all together.

In the Lab, musical ensembles improvise with and against given situations, structures, and interventions, in private and public settings. We will design the Lab collaboratively, drawing on our backgrounds in philosophy, anthropology, critical improvisation studies, and artistic research in music and theatre. Musicians will also shape the Lab, proposing their own ideas and reflecting on the work as it unfolds. We will interact with the musicians creatively, and through interviews and observation. Each session will result in public concerts and talks.

Our analysis of documentation from the Lab will focus on three things: (1) the evolution of musicians’ own materials and practical working methods; (2) their ‘improvising mindset’, including values, habits, and senses of self; and (3) the way they attend to each other and to other-than-human elements in their environments. This analysis will both inform future Lab sessions and ground a new, holistic conceptual framework for understanding the ethical significance of improvisation across a range of human activity. We hope this framework will be of interest to artists, scholars, and lay people alike.

The project is based at the Doctoral School for Artistic Research at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at University of Graz, and the Department of Philosophy at the the University of Vienna.



Research team

Joshua Bergamin
Co-PI
Phenomenologist and Philosopher of Mind
University of Vienna

Joshua Bergamin is a philosopher at the University of Vienna. His scholarly work has been guided by the question: (How) can we think without language?, leading to explorations on such diverse topics as skill acquisition, psychological disorders, animal cognition, and of course, improvisation.

Josh was awarded a PhD from Durham University, for a thesis written in the Philosophy Department’s ‘Applied Phenomenology’ research cluster. His work is highly interdisciplinary, combining analytic philosophy of mind with insights from continental phenomenology, supported by rigorous interpretations of empirical evidence from psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics, as well as anthropology and ethnomusicology.

Josh’s philosophical work forms part of a broader engagement with the political and ethical concerns that inspire it. In various former lives, he has worked as an advisor in the Parliament of New South Wales, and as a performance artist and percussionist in Edinburgh.

His artistic training and practice, particularly in improvised music and dance, complement his research themes and have inspired elements of his published work, which has appeared in both scholarly and literary journals.

Selected publications
Joshua A. Bergamin
'An Excess of Meaning: Conceptual Over-Interpretation in Confabulation and Schizophrenia'
Topoi (39) 1
2020
URL
Joshua A. Bergamin
'Being-in-the-flow: expert coping as beyond both thought and automaticity'
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (16) 3
2017
URL
Joshua A. Bergamin
'To Know and To Be: Second-Person Knowledge and the Intersubjective Self, A Reply to Talbot.'
Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective (6) 10
2017
Joshua A. Bergamin
'Bridging the Abyss: Re-interpreting Heidegger’s animals as a basis for inter-species understanding.'
The Human-Animal Boundary, ed. Nandita Batra, Mario Wenning
Lexington/Rowman & Littlefield
2019
Joshua A. Bergamin
'An Excess of Meaning: Interpretation and the Cut-Up'
Beatdom (21)
2021
Joshua A. Bergamin
'Kurt Cobain: Martyr of Authenticity'
Overland
2021
Caroline Gatt
Co-PI
Anthropologist, performer
University of Graz

Caroline Gatt is Senior Postdoctoral Research, Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology, University of Graz and Co-Investigator on the project ‘(Musical) Improvisation and Ethics’ funded by the Austrian Science Fund.

Gatt is an anthropologist and performer focusing on ontological politics, laboratory theater and song, co-design, and collaborative processes. Her publications include ethnographic and theoretical texts, practice-based multimodal essays, and experimental and collaborative projects exploring the potentials of printed ‘books’. Her book ‘An Ethnography of Global Environmentalism: Becoming Friends of the Earth’, published by Routledge, based on her doctoral research is the first in-depth ethnographic study of an international environmental organization. The book presents an account of the daily life and the ethical strivings of environmental activist members of FoEI, exploring how a transnational federation is constituted and maintained.

As a trained laboratory theater practitioner, Gatt developed a research project entitled ‘Crafting Anthropology in Practice’ (a subproject of ‘Knowing from the Inside’, Tim Ingold PI, European Research Council). This project focused on the ethical and political potential of responsive listening practices developed in laboratory theatre for anthropology. As part of this project, Gatt organised five international workshops exploring collaborative processes across different ways of knowing. The scholarly outputs included anthropological texts in international journals, as well as experimental publications such as the book ‘The Voices of the Pages’ (2017) and collaborative multi-modal essays such as ‘A Video Triptych: Genesis, Kavana, Sabbath’. Through this project, Gatt developed a form of performance lecture exploring an ethical/decolonizing approach to bring together different ways of knowing through anthropology and laboratory theater improvisation, with presentations in Cambridge (2014), Aberdeen (2016, 2017, 2018), Huddersfield (2016), Irvine (2016), London (2018), and Mainz (2019).

In collaboration with Valeria Lembo, Gatt organized the panel ‘Knowing by Singing’ at the Royal Anthropological Institute biennial conference 2018, and is currently editing, also with Lembo, a special issue for American Anthropologist entitled ‘Knowing by Singing: Ontological Politics, Logocentrism, and the Other-Than-Human’, which will include written as well as multimodal contributions.

Selected publications
Gey Pin Ang, Caroline Gatt
'Collaboration and Emergence: The Paradox of Presence and Surrender'
Collaborative Anthropologies (10) 1
2017
URL
Gey Pin Ang, Caroline Gatt
'Crafting Anthropology Otherwise: Alterity and Performance'
Who are 'We'? Reimagining Alterity and Affinity in Anthropology, ed. L Chua, N Mathur
Berghahn Books
2018
Caroline Gatt
'The Anthropologist as Member of the Ensemble: Anthropological Experiments with Theatre Makers'
Theatre as change: The Transformative Potential of Performance, ed. Alex Flynn, Jonas Tinius
Palgrave
2015
Caroline Gatt
'Breathing beyond Embodiment: Exploring Emergence, Grieving and Song in Laboratory Theatre'
Body & Society (26) 2
2020
URL
Caroline Gatt, Tim Ingold
'From description to correspondence: Anthropology in real time'
Design Anthropology: Juxtaposing theory and practice, ed. Wendy Gunn, Ton Otto, Rachel Smith
Berg Publishers
2013
Caroline Gatt
'Enlivening the Supra-personal Actor: Vectors at Work in a Transnational Environmentalist Federation'
Anthropology in Action (20) 2
2013
URL
Caroline Gatt, Diego Galafassi, Gey Pin Ang
'From an Ethics of Estrangement to an Anthropology in Life'
Journal of Embodied Research (4) 2
2021
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Gender, the Environment, and Ecofeminism'
The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, ed.
2021
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Introduction to the Special Issue'
Collaborative Anthropologies (10) 1
2017
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Living Atmospheres: Breath and Permeation through Song-action in Experimental Theatre'
Exploring Atmospheres Ethnographically, ed. S Schmitt, S Schroer
Ashgate
2017
Caroline Gatt
'Performance'
The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, ed.
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
2019
URL
'Sketches for Regenerative Scholarship'
Caroline Gatt, Joss Allen
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Teaching and Learning Anthropology Otherwise: Lessons from a Collaboration between Laboratory Theatre and Anthropology'
Knowing from the Inside: Design for a Curriculum, ed. Tim Ingold
Bloomsbury
2022
Caroline Gatt
'Vectors, direction of attention and unprotected backs: Re-specifying relations in anthropology'
Anthropological Theory (13) 4
2013
Caroline Gatt (ed.)
The Voices of the Pages
University of Aberdeen Press
2017
URL
B Spatz, N. E. Erçin, C. Gatt, A Mendel
'He Almost Forgets That There is a Maker of the World'
Journal of Embodied Research (4) 2
2021
URL
Ben Spatz, N. Eda Erçin, Caroline Gatt, Agnieszka Mendel
'Triptych: Genesis, Kavana, Sabbath'
PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research (2) 2
2019
URL
Christopher A. Williams
Coordinator, Co-PI
Composer/contrabassist, artistic researcher
University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

Christopher A. Williams (1981, San Diego) makes and researches (mostly) experimental music. From 2021-2025 he will lead the research project ‘(Musical) Improvisation and Ethics’ (Austrian Science Fund ZK 93) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.

As a composer and contrabassist, his work runs the gamut from chamber music, improvisation, and radio art to collaborations with dancers, sound artists, and visual artists. Performances and collaborations with Derek Bailey, Compagnie Ouie/Dire, Charles Curtis, LaMonte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music, Ferran Fages, Robin Hayward (as Reidemeister Move), Barbara Held, Christian Kesten, Christina Kubisch, Liminar, Maulwerker, Charlie Morrow, David Moss, Andrea Neumann, Mary Oliver and Rozemarie Heggen, Ben Patterson, Robyn Schulkowsky, Ensemble SuperMusique, Vocal Constructivists, dancers Jadi Carboni and Martin Sonderkamp, filmmaker Zachary Kerschberg, and painters Sebastian Dacey and Tanja Smit. This work has appeared in various North American and European experimental music circuits, as well as on VPRO Radio 6 (Holland), Deutschlandfunk Kultur, the Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, Volksbühne Berlin, and the American Documentary Film Festival.

Williams’ artistic research takes the form of both conventional academic publications and practice-based multimedia projects. His writings appear in journals such as the Journal for Artistic Research, Critical Studies in Improvisation, TEMPO, Contemporary Music Review, Journal of Sonic Studies, Open Space Magazine, and diverse anthologies.

He co-curates the Berlin concert series KONTRAKLANG. From 2009-2015 he co-curated the salon series Certain Sundays.

Williams holds a B.A. from the University of California San Diego (Charles Curtis, Chaya Czernowin, and Bertram Turetzky); and a Ph.D. from the University of Leiden (Marcel Cobussen and Richard Barrett). His native digital dissertation is Tactile Paths: on and through Notation for Improvisers.

Selected publications
Mathias Maschat, Christopher Williams
'Three Performances: A Virtual (Musical) Improvisation'
Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance, ed. Matthew Reason, Anja Mølle Lindelof
Routledge
2016
Christopher Williams
'Anarchiving (in) Ben Patterson's Variations for Double-Bass'
Journal for Artistic Research (16)
2018
Christopher Williams, Chris Heenan
'Certain Sundays: Altmodische Gastfreundschaft, neumodische Überblendung der Kunstschärfe und soziale Erfahrung'
positionen (112)
2017
Christopher A. Williams
'Mapping Participation: Lawrence Halprin's RSVP Cycles Meets Richard Barrett's fOKT'
Contemporary Music Review
2021
Christopher Williams
'Say No Score: A Lexical Improvisation after Bob Ostertag'
Tempo (72) 283
2018
Christopher Williams
'Treatise, comment et pourquoi : Un court exposé empirique'
PaaLabRes
2017
URL
Christopher Williams, Martin Sonderkamp
'Where You End and I Begin: Cognition and continuity in experimental music and dance'
Critical Studies in Improvisation | Études Critiques en Improvisation (8) 2
2012
URL
Deniz Peters
Collaborating researcher, Advisory Board member
Artistic researcher, interdisciplinary musicologist
University of Music and Performing Arts Graz

Deniz Peters (Dr.phil, MA) is Professor for Artistic Research in Music and Head of the Doctoral School for Artistic Research at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, and the current President of the international Society for Artistic Research SAR. His artistic research on interpersonal empathy combines phenomenological, conceptual, and interaction analyses with an experimental piano practice, improvising with musicians and dancers Simon Rose, Stevie Wishart, Ellen Waterman, Christopher Williams, Bennett Hogg, Stefan Östersjö, Magdalena Chowaniec, Alexander Deutinger, and many others. He is also re-thinking musical expression in a philosophical-analytical research project; a third area of activity is directed towards a fuller understanding of the methods, documentation, typology and epistemology of artistic research through music. Further, he is actively involved in research modules and advisory boards within the (Musical) Improvisation and Ethics FWF-Zukunftskolleg, and The Epistemic Power of Music FWF-Project. Peters has appeared as keynote speaker, speaker, performer, and panel discussant at numerous conferences in musicology, philosophy, and artistic research in Europe, Australia, and the USA. Publications include a collected edition Bodily Expression in Electronic Music (Routledge); articles in Performance Research, Contemporary Music Review and Empirical Musicology Review; chapters in collections with Lexington, Springer, Leuven UP, Rowman & Littlefield,and Oxford UP; and a CD of findings (Leo Records).

Ensembles

Splitter Orchester
Berlin

Splitter Orchester, founded in 2010, brings together 21 of Berlin’s most cutting-edge composer-performer-improvisers to question the musical establishment. Their sound blends a broad array of extended techniques on traditional, electronic, and self-built instruments, focusing on sonic materiality and space. The methods of the orchestra reflect the members’ inclusive but critical approach toward the many facets of composition and improvisation.

Splitter Orchester has collaborated with composers Mathias Spahlinger, Øyvind Torvund, George Lewis, Alwynne Pritchard, Jean-Luc Guionnet, and Mazen Kerbaj. International concert appearances include MaerzMusik, the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, the CRAK festival in Paris, Borealis, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the météo Festival, and their own biennial Splitter festival in Berlin.

Splitter consists of:

Burkhard Beins - Percussion
Anthea Caddy - Cello
Roy Carroll - Electronics
Anat Cohavi - Clarinet
Axel Dörner - Trumpet
Sabine Ercklentz - Trumpet, Electronics
Kai Fagaschinski - Clarinet
Emilio Gordoa - Vibraphone
Robin Hayward - Tuba
Steve Heather - Percussion
Chris Heenan - Contrabass Clarinet
Mike Majkowski - Double Bass
Magda Mayas - Clavinet
Matthias Müller - Trombone
Andrea Neumann - Inside Piano
Andrea Parkins - Accordion, Objects, Laptop
Simon J. Phillips - Piano
Michael Thieke - Clarinet
Sabine Vogel - Flutes
Biliana Voutchkova - Violin
Marta Zapparoli - Electronics, Tapes

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra
Trondheim

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is one of the most important and creative jazz ensembles in Norway. Since it was established in 2000, the orchestra has had a great number of exciting projects with Norwegian and international jazz profiles such as Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Erlend Skomsvoll, Eirik Hegdal, Sofia Jernberg, Maria Kannegaard, Kim Myhr, Jenny Hval, Stian Westerhus, Ståle Storløkken, Kristoffer Lo, and Marius Neset.

The orchestra belongs to the Mid-Norway Centre of Jazz which initiates and organises new projects. The orchestra is operated as a musicians’ pool, so that the orchestra changes as to instrumentation and size from project to project. This gives room for great width in their repertory. The musicians that have been involved in the orchestra are amongst Norway’s most famous jazz profiles.

The (Musical) Improvisation and Ethics constellation includes:

Eira Bjørnstad Foss - violin
Klaus Ellerhusen Holm - clarinet
Amalie Dahl - alto saxophone
Jenny Frøysa - tenor saxophone
Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø - trombone
Joakim Rainer Petersen - piano
Bjørn Marius Hegge - bass
Amund Storløkken Aase - vibraphone
Kyrre Laastad - drums, percussion

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is supported by: Norwegian Art Council, Trondheim City and County of Sør Trøndelag.

the klingt collective
Vienna

the klingt collective is a new group drawn from the Vienna-based experimental music community anchored in the internet platform klingt.org. The ten members are active in various international and local music scenes spanning improvised music, sound art, pop music, free jazz, noise, contemporary music, and theater and film music. Most have played together in smaller collaborative constellations, including groups and projects such as Radian, TWIXT, Gustav & Band, Low Frequency Orchestra, Sonic Luz, Gésir, and The Vegetable Orchestra.

The lineup includes:

Martin Brandlmayr - drums
Angelica Castello - electronics
dieb13 - turntables
Klaus Filip - ppooll
Susanna Gartmayer - (bass) clarinet
Noid Haberl - cello
Billy Roisz - electronics & bass
Martin Siewert - guitars & electronics
Oliver Stotz - guitars & electronics

Documentation team

Thomas Martius
Videographer
Berlin

Thomas Martius first graduated with a degree in Business Administration before turning to Applied Theatre Studies at the University of Giessen. Since his graduation (1994) he has worked as a freelance artist, producing more than one hundred original performances, theater projects, and videos.

His multimedial work is location- and situation-specific. He describes his larger scale projects as editorial fictions, such as Pottingers Haus. The most recent performances (The Lost Father, Luke und Alina und alle 21 Jahre) took place in a movie theater (Babylon) in Berlin. Live material and pre-produced material intermingle on all levels of his cinematic theater: in music and sound design, acting, amusement and story telling. More recently, he has also worked on films, radio plays and on OPPEAR (Opera Performing Art), his minimal adaption of opera.

As a video-artist he has filmed opera singers for the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. As an actor he’s appeared in various contexts. His practical video class has been on the curriculum of the Theater Studies Institute at the Freie Universität, Berlin, ongoing since 1996. He has been artistic collaborator for the International Research Center’s program, Interweaving Performance Cultures. He taught at the Art Academy of Tallinn, at the graphic design department at Lette-Verein-Berlin, and at other institutions. He was guest artist at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center in New York, Fellow at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France, and artist-in-residence at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice in 2011 and 2020. For the video documentation of ‘(Musical) Improvisation and Ethics’ he is excited to team up with Christopher Hewitt, the most experienced documentarist of performance he knows.

When not travelling Martius resides with his partner and their child in Berlin.

Christopher Hewitt
Videographer
Berlin

Christopher Hewitt has been involved in the areas of performance art and interdisciplinary art for the past 30 years, working as a curator, teacher, facilitator and very occasionally as a performance artist himself. After nearly 10 years of being based in London, which included working as the Director of Live Art at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he went on to set up the Crossing Borders performance art degree programme at the Turku Academy of Art in Finland. For several years he worked as the producer for the seminal Norwegian performance theatre group Baktruppen and was editor and publisher of the video compilation publication ‘liveartwork DVD’. He is based in Berlin where he works primarily as a video documenter of performance work.

Roy Carroll
Sound
Berlin

Roy Carroll is an Irish musician and composer, based in Berlin. He works primarily with electroacoustic media such as transducers, synthesis, feedback, audio recordings, amplification, software, and auditory and psychoacoustic phenomena to create multi-layered forms that continually renegotiate the transformation of electrical audio signals into disturbed air. Roy is one half of The Instrument with choreographer Maya M Carroll, with whom he has created over 30 works for the stage. He has toured / presented work throughout Europe, and in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, USA, Russia, and New Zealand.

Roy is also active as an audio engineer, specialising in FOH, recording and mixing experimental and new / contemporary music. The greater part of his work is with the fertile Berlin scene. He holds an M-Phil in Music and Media Technologies from Trinity College Dublin, for which he specialised in electroacoustic composition, under the supervision of Donnacha Dennehy. Clients include: Achim Kaufmann / Michael Moore, Anthony Pateras, David Sylvian, Kevin Volans, Peter Brötzman / Keiji Haino, Peter Evans, Maulwerker, Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods, Polwechsel, Splitter Orchester, Thomas Lehn / Marcus Schmickler, Tyshawn Sorey, A L’arme festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Biegungen im Ausland, Concepts of Doing festival, DARA Strings Festival, Designing Voices, Flux festival, März Musik, Musica Sanae, Time Krystal, Ultraschall

Organisational team

Benedikt Alphart
Student assistant
University of Music and peforming Arts Graz

Benedikt Alphart is a composer and computer musician. Since 2018 he has been studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz with Richard Dünser and Gerhard Eckel. His artistic practice is closely linked with a fascination for sound recording. Going beyond his passion for field recording, this has led him to work in music recording, location sound, film productions and as a performer of live-electronic music.

Benedikt joined the ‘(Musical) Improvisation and Ethics’ team in 2021 as a student assistant to help facilitate the technical side of their research. He is simultaneously working at the Doctoral School for Artistic Research, where he takes care of audiovisual (post-)production.

Advisory Board

Tim Ingold
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen, ↗ Website
Angelika Krebs
Professor of Philosophy, University of Basel, ↗ Website
George E. Lewis
Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music, Columbia University, ↗ Website
Erin Manning
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Relational Art, Concordia University, ↗ Website
Anand Pandian
Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, ↗ Website
Deniz Peters
University Professor of Artistic Research, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, ↗ Website
John Sutton
Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, ↗ Website
Michael Wheeler
Professor of Philosophy, University of Stirling, ↗ Website


Selected Team publications

Joshua A. Bergamin
'An Excess of Meaning: Conceptual Over-Interpretation in Confabulation and Schizophrenia'
Topoi (39) 1
2020
URL
Joshua A. Bergamin
'Being-in-the-flow: expert coping as beyond both thought and automaticity'
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (16) 3
2017
URL
Joshua A. Bergamin
'To Know and To Be: Second-Person Knowledge and the Intersubjective Self, A Reply to Talbot.'
Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective (6) 10
2017
Joshua A. Bergamin
'Bridging the Abyss: Re-interpreting Heidegger’s animals as a basis for inter-species understanding.'
The Human-Animal Boundary, ed. Nandita Batra, Mario Wenning
Lexington/Rowman & Littlefield
2019
Joshua A. Bergamin
'An Excess of Meaning: Interpretation and the Cut-Up'
Beatdom (21)
2021
Joshua A. Bergamin
'Kurt Cobain: Martyr of Authenticity'
Overland
2021
Gey Pin Ang, Caroline Gatt
'Collaboration and Emergence: The Paradox of Presence and Surrender'
Collaborative Anthropologies (10) 1
2017
URL
Gey Pin Ang, Caroline Gatt
'Crafting Anthropology Otherwise: Alterity and Performance'
Who are 'We'? Reimagining Alterity and Affinity in Anthropology, ed. L Chua, N Mathur
Berghahn Books
2018
Caroline Gatt
'The Anthropologist as Member of the Ensemble: Anthropological Experiments with Theatre Makers'
Theatre as change: The Transformative Potential of Performance, ed. Alex Flynn, Jonas Tinius
Palgrave
2015
Caroline Gatt
'Breathing beyond Embodiment: Exploring Emergence, Grieving and Song in Laboratory Theatre'
Body & Society (26) 2
2020
URL
Caroline Gatt, Tim Ingold
'From description to correspondence: Anthropology in real time'
Design Anthropology: Juxtaposing theory and practice, ed. Wendy Gunn, Ton Otto, Rachel Smith
Berg Publishers
2013
Caroline Gatt
'Enlivening the Supra-personal Actor: Vectors at Work in a Transnational Environmentalist Federation'
Anthropology in Action (20) 2
2013
URL
Caroline Gatt, Diego Galafassi, Gey Pin Ang
'From an Ethics of Estrangement to an Anthropology in Life'
Journal of Embodied Research (4) 2
2021
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Gender, the Environment, and Ecofeminism'
The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, ed.
2021
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Introduction to the Special Issue'
Collaborative Anthropologies (10) 1
2017
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Living Atmospheres: Breath and Permeation through Song-action in Experimental Theatre'
Exploring Atmospheres Ethnographically, ed. S Schmitt, S Schroer
Ashgate
2017
Caroline Gatt
'Performance'
The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, ed.
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
2019
URL
'Sketches for Regenerative Scholarship'
Caroline Gatt, Joss Allen
URL
Caroline Gatt
'Teaching and Learning Anthropology Otherwise: Lessons from a Collaboration between Laboratory Theatre and Anthropology'
Knowing from the Inside: Design for a Curriculum, ed. Tim Ingold
Bloomsbury
2022
Caroline Gatt
'Vectors, direction of attention and unprotected backs: Re-specifying relations in anthropology'
Anthropological Theory (13) 4
2013
Caroline Gatt (ed.)
The Voices of the Pages
University of Aberdeen Press
2017
URL
B Spatz, N. E. Erçin, C. Gatt, A Mendel
'He Almost Forgets That There is a Maker of the World'
Journal of Embodied Research (4) 2
2021
URL
Ben Spatz, N. Eda Erçin, Caroline Gatt, Agnieszka Mendel
'Triptych: Genesis, Kavana, Sabbath'
PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research (2) 2
2019
URL
Mathias Maschat, Christopher Williams
'Three Performances: A Virtual (Musical) Improvisation'
Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance, ed. Matthew Reason, Anja Mølle Lindelof
Routledge
2016
Christopher Williams
'Anarchiving (in) Ben Patterson's Variations for Double-Bass'
Journal for Artistic Research (16)
2018
Christopher Williams, Chris Heenan
'Certain Sundays: Altmodische Gastfreundschaft, neumodische Überblendung der Kunstschärfe und soziale Erfahrung'
positionen (112)
2017
Christopher A. Williams
'Mapping Participation: Lawrence Halprin's RSVP Cycles Meets Richard Barrett's fOKT'
Contemporary Music Review
2021
Christopher Williams
'Say No Score: A Lexical Improvisation after Bob Ostertag'
Tempo (72) 283
2018
Christopher Williams
'Treatise, comment et pourquoi : Un court exposé empirique'
PaaLabRes
2017
URL
Christopher Williams, Martin Sonderkamp
'Where You End and I Begin: Cognition and continuity in experimental music and dance'
Critical Studies in Improvisation | Études Critiques en Improvisation (8) 2
2012
URL

Improvisation and ethics are everywhere. We improvise in so many practices – from cooking to sports to migration policy – that it often goes unnoticed. The same is true of ethics; as self-interpreting animals, we disclose ethical values in practices as diverse as democracy, empirical science, and punk rock. But the role of improvisation within ethical processes (e.g., value-formation and habituation) is often overlooked. Instead, people commonly assume that they consciously and rationally adhere to ethical norms as more-or-less fixed rules. This project aims to develop an alternative understanding of ethical processes by engaging with a practice in which improvisational qualities of ethics are unmistakable: experimental improvised music.

(Musical)
Improvisation
and Ethics
Writing in progress
24. February 2022

Drifting Lexicon

We are thrilled to announce the birth of the '(Musical) Improvisation and Ethics' project website, a collaboration with Berlin-based designers Matthias Hübner and Janis Gildein.

Here you will find practical information about us and our collaborators, our research, and regularly updated news and events. We also hope that this website will serve as a hub for our topic more generally; we will maintain a recommended reading list and links to related projects to this end.

Moreover, we look forward to improvising with you within this website over the next four years through our Texts > Writing in Progress section. Here, we invite visitors to comment publicly on our work as it evolves.

Should you wish to follow the project more closely, please feel free to join our newsletter.

Event
14. March 2022–11. April 2022
19:00

Anthropology as Education

Caroline Gatt and Tim Ingold are convening the first studio of this year’s conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists. The Studio, called ‘Anthropology as Education’ runs from March 14th until 11th April and will explore what an understanding of Anthropology as an educational process might imply for both anthropology and education.

Education is literally a way of leading out into the world, where we are exposed to beings and ways of life different from those to which we are accustomed. If we take education in this sense, then Anthropology is educational through-and-through. But it is a sense that challenges the orthodox idea of education as the intergenerational transmission of authorised knowledge. Philosophers of education, from John Dewey a century ago to Gert Biesta today, have struggled to articulate a vision of education that would escape the stultification of the transmission model. A critical anthropology needs to catch up with this literature.

The introduction to this first studio is on March 14th 19:00 - 21:00 GMT and the closing session is on April 11th 08:00 - 09:00 GMT. In between the introduction and closing sessions participants can join in online talks, workshops, demonstrations, discussions, while also contributing to growing texts by commenting on the conference platform.

This year’s ASA conference is experimenting with an entirely novel format. Following an introduction, the conference will comprise five consecutive studios, each extending over a month, with opportunities for ongoing conversation on the virtual conference platform. Our intention is not so much to provide a forum for the presentation of finished work as to open up a space for conversation, with a view to advancing the topic under discussion. By the conclusion of the conference, then, we expect to be in a very different place from where we began. This, in turn, will be reflected in the eventual conference volume, which we conceive less as a collection of papers than as a multi-stranded compilation of voices and perspectives.

Deadlines for proposals

Studio number:
1: Friday 4th March
2: Friday March 18th
3: Friday April 15th
4: Friday August 19th
5: Friday September 16th

Event
19. March 2022–20. March 2022
18:00

Williams invokes Ben Patterson at MaerzMusik

Christopher A. Williams plays Ben Patterson’s Fluxus classic Variations for Double-Bass on 19 March, followed by a talk on 20 March entitled ‘What’s Left of the Blurring of Music and Life? Some Pattersonian Speculations’, at a special program around Patterson organized by the MaerzMusik festival and SAVVY Contemporary gallery.

Talk abstract

Ben Patterson’s early work, as exemplified by his legendary 1961 piece Variations for Double-Bass, both embodies and challenges the notion of ‘lifelike art’ theorized by Happening inventor Allan Kaprow. Although the legacy of that notion has had a rough time recently, Patterson’s work remains fresh. Through my performative experience with Variations, I will explore why that is so, and argue that an understanding of the blurring of life and art — updated with Patterson’s help — might be more relevant to current problems in contemporary music than is obvious.

Click for more information on Variations

Event / encounter
24. June 2022–25. June 2022
19:00

Trondheim Jazz Orchestra at Dokkhuset

Encounter 1 kicks off with TJO in their HQ on the harbor in Trondheim, where the Nordic summer sun never sets.

Friday 24th June and Saturday 25th June @ Dokkhuset, Trondheim https://dokkhuset.no/

Friday’s performance will begin at 20:00 and be followed by a Q&A with musicians and researchers.

Saturday’s event will commence with a roundtable discussion at 18:30, bringing together expert guests on the project themes, followed by the concert at 20:00.

As with all encounters, the concerts may vary radically, so attendance on both nights is strongly recommended!

Event / workshop
03. July 2022
10:00

Prelude to a Method

In this practical workshop at the Society for Artistic Research 2022 Conference at the Bauhaus University Weimar, we invite participants from any field to experience interventions currently being developed for use with musical ensembles.

Participants will work with us through a collage of performative exercises and simple scores inspired by artists and scholars such as Augusto Boal, Lawrence and Anna Halprin, Ben Spatz, and Pauline Oliveros. These are meant to bring specific ethical issues to the surface through practice. The session will be documented with video. We will then watch the documentation together and discuss how the work responds to questions such as:

  • (How) do interventions that increase the visibility of practical ethics affect participants’ aesthetic values, and vice versa?

  • (How) is the experience of being a self amongst others altered in the act of collaborative improvisation?

  • What aspects of listening – to both the human and other-than-human – in improvisational practice are conducive to (individual and collective) ethical goals?

The workshop will help us weave together our working-processes-in-progress into a method for the musical Lab sessions (Mend); offer participants a condensed (pre)view of a topic of wide interdisciplinary scope (Blend); and show Artistic Research’s unique pragmatic potential for ethical inquiry (Attend).

Event / encounter
26. August 2022–27. August 2022
18:00

Splitter Orchester at Akademie der Künste, Berlin

Encounter 2, with Berlin’s Splitter Orchester – their first concert including a revamped lineup – takes place at the Academy of the Arts Berlin, one of Europe’s oldest cultural institutions.

As with all encounters, the concerts may vary radically, so attendance on both nights is strongly recommended!

More details coming soon.

Event / encounter
21. November 2022–22. November 2022
19:00

the klingt collective at Wien Modern

The venerable Wien Modern festival hosts Encounter 3, our final event of 2022, with the Vienna-based klingt collective.

As with all encounters, the concerts may vary radically, so attendance on both nights is strongly recommended!

More details coming soon.

Responsibility for the content:

Dr. Christopher A. Williams
Senior Scientist
Künstlerisch-Wissenschaftliche Doktoratsschule
Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz
Maiffredygasse 12b/II
8010 Graz
Austria
christopher.williams@kug.ac.at
+43 316 389 4048

Responsibility for links:

Responsibility for the content of external links (to web pages of third parties) lies solely with the operators of the linked pages. No violations were evident to us at the time of linking. Should any legal infringement become known to us, we will remove the respective link immediately.

Data privacy:

This website links to a separate newsletter signup form operated by the third-party service TinyLetter. Only data that you explicitly provide when subscribing, i.e. your e-mail address, is stored for the period of your subscription, in order to be able to deliver the electronic newsletter. You may, at any time, unsubscribe by clicking the appropriate link provided in TinyLetter’s signup confirmation email.