The Performing Body in the Hollywood Film Musical:
An Interdisciplinary Symposium
April 4-6, 2013
Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
Call for Papers
Since its emergence in the 1920s, the film musical has woven together utopian visions and cultural realities, simultaneously creating, reflecting, and critiquing contemporary social, political, and economic conditions. Frequently, film musicals communicate these ideologies through the performing bodies of the film’s cast and crew. This symposium will consider the ways in which bodies perform in the film musical, and what such performances signify. Papers are invited that consider the following questions, among others: how do song and dance animate and define bodies onscreen? When and why are performing bodies marked in terms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and when do these bodies remain unmarked? How do onscreen musical and danced performances differ from those bodily performances that remain invisible to audiences, including those of crew members, sideline and film orchestra musicians, vocal and dance doubles, and so on? How do the film musical’s modes of performance both reflect and influence contemporary production practices?
Submissions from across disciplines are encouraged this symposium is intended as a space for scholars from musicology, film studies, dance, theater, and other fields to share their work and consider various disciplinary methodologies and approaches to the genre. We are delighted to welcome three distinguished keynote speakers: Steven Cohan (Syracuse University), Caryl Flinn (University of Michigan), and Adrienne McLean (University of Texas-Dallas).
Proposals for 20-minute papers should include a name, institutional affiliation (if appropriate), and an abstract of no more than 300 words. Please submit all proposals to filmmusicals (at) colgate (dot) edu by December 15, 2013.
For more information, see http://www.colgate.edu/filmmusicals, or by contacting Mary Simonson, Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies and Women?s Studies at Colgate University, at msimonson (at) colgate (dot) edu.
“MEDIATE Art Group is excited to announce the return of Soundwave this summer for its fifth season, entitled HUMANITIES, exploring our sonic connections to the human experience. Arguably the largest celebration of avant-art, sound and music in the Bay Area, Soundwave ((5)) HUMANITES will feature over 90 participating artists and musicians, in over 35 inspired performances, concerts, exhibits and conference panels & presentations over the span of 3 entire months.
‘These innovative artists and musicians will uncover the future of humanity from bionic brainwave instrumentations, subconscious realities, technohuman immersions, Zen-inspired performances, hybrid mythologies, new dimensions, and other artist imaginations,’ says Alan So, Soundwave Festival & Artistic Director. “
The Human Bionic features innovative instrumentation using the human body that questions the boundaries between the biological and technological. Artists Cantrell, Kuhne and Stuck imagine the hybridization of humans and technology with interactive performances utilizing brainwaves, muscles, sensors and human processing to create and conduct sound. Cantrell creates ‘Sounding Body’ an audience-interactive performance event that uses brainwaves to reveal how our thoughts can take various sonic forms. Multi-media artist Kuhne conjures ‘Rebound’ using videos and sensors to activate sound and image. Stuck presents ‘Pressed’ positioning the dancer’s real body between a symbolic language that directs movement and the video record of past movement. The Human Bionic explores our physical connection to technology while raising questions as to what is at stake, and what can be lost, by organic bodies and their interrelationships as technological implements become increasingly ubiquitous and essential in our current society.
Readers in or near Seattle might like to know about Manifold Motion’s latest performance, Compos Mentis. The multidisciplinary performance company has created an evening-length work that uses real-time biofeedback technology to measure the mean heartbeat of the audience and determine the pulse of the dance. They should be pleased I can’t make it though, as my pre-thesis-submission heartrate would have them racing around at a million miles an hour! [Edited to say: The source I read that described how the piece uses biofeedback was, in fact, wrong *grumble* *moan* *self-note about applying proper research methods to blog*. See comment below to find out how the piece actually works. Apologies to Manifold Motion for messing up! — Stacey]
March 16-18 & 23-25, 2012
8pm (7pm Sundays) Washington Hall
153 14th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
I am curating an event called ‘Sounding Bodies’ as part of Fringe Arts Bath’s 2012 Festival. The aim is to explore the body as a producer and receiver of sound, through performance, installation, broadcasts and any other medium that might seem relevant. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, check out the call for expressions of interest on FAB’s website.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 17th February 2012, and the festival runs from 25th May to 10th June 2012.
Composer/Choreographer/Performer Collaborations Conference
of Contemporary Music and Dance 2012
19-20th April, 2012
Chancellors Hall, Senate House, University of London
Conference focus: In order to see and hear divergent views of practitioners and researchers on the topic of music and the moving-thinking body the 2012 Composers/Choreographers/Performers Collaboration Conference will focus on innovative interdisciplinary relationships involved in creating and performing new music and dance/ movement.
Call for papers: In particular we are seeking proposals that adventurously explore the creative interaction of the moving-thinking body and the collaborative process of new sound/music/movement making. Thus we are interested in proposals from music/dance practitioners, researchers, post graduate students and educators from diverse backgrounds who are engaged in this process to share their work and views.
Sub themes include but are not restricted to:
• Embodied music practice and theory
• Creative music/dance collaboration and employability
• Cultural exchange in music/dance making
• Intersection between music/dance/technology/performance
• Musical communication and perception through the moving body
• The learning connections between the moving body and creating and performing music
We are now accepting proposals for lectures, demonstrations, workshops-as-research, performances as well as research papers that address the theme of artistic collaboration in sound/music/dance making with the moving-thinking body in mind.
• Lectures and demonstrations/recitals will be 20 minutes in duration
• Workshops will be 30 minutes in duration
• Performances/Lecture 20 minutes in duration
Please submit proposals of no more than 300 words plus short biographies to Marilyn Wyers [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Much of my recent research has been about musical works that sample the sounds of the body. While my study has focused largely on electroacoustic music, I’ve also gathered examples from pop music, live and performance art, installation, and dance. Earlier today I came across another such dance piece: Onde de Choc, by Ginette Laurin and O Vertigo. The work, created in 2010, uses a long wooden box as a resonator for the sounds of the dancers’ movements. Microphones are used to capture these sounds for further electronic processing. The work also draws on internal bodily sound, especially the heartbeat.
You can read more about Onde de Choc in an interview with Ginette Laurin (in The Chronicle Herald). A short preview of the piece is available on YouTube.
Similar works include Garth Paine’s Escape Velocity (which uses dancers’ movements to trigger electronic and sampled bodily sounds) and Brandon LaBelle’s Notes Toward a Sketch of a Sonic Body (which I wrote about back in September).
Brandon LaBelle: Notes Toward a Sketch of a Sonic Body
In Notes Toward a Sketch of a Sonic Body, sound artist Brandon LaBelle explores the sound of dancing bodies. But there’s a catch: he’s taken away the music they were dancing to, leaving only the audible traces of their movements. The work is made of audio recordings of dancers listening to music on wireless headphones. Microphones placed around the room picked up the sound of the movements made by the dancers in response to what they were listening to. As a further layer of the work, LaBelle asked participants to explore these initial sounds through movement without the mediating layer of electronics.
‘The different approaches outline an energetic territory determined by listening. The recordings form acoustic identities, highlighting dance as a heated sonic. The Sonic Body is a work that aims for a total embodying of sound, as a sensual micro-event.’
In the exhibition the audio recordings were projected back into a space through wall-mounted loudspeakers, leaving the audience both to reconstruct this performance from its auditory archaeology and (perhaps inadvertently) to add a further layer of sound of their own as they walk around the space. What I really like about this work is that it throws bodily presence in front of musical presence, subverting the usual relationship between body and beat, but removes the visible presence that would normally mediate the relationship between body and audience. Instead it offers only faint traces of both movements and moments of listening.