Broken Families: Collectivism, Violence, Imagined Utopias and Improvisation (a twitter transcript)

Just Improvisation: workshop performance (Belfast, May 30, 2015). Photo copyright 2015 Translating Improvisation.
Just Improvisation: workshop performance (Belfast, May 30, 2015). Photo © 2015 Translating Improvisation. [Original…]

Simon Rose: “Did you know how loud you were?”
Han-earl Park: “Oh. Yes.”
Rose: “I thought you did.”

Thoughts and questions in response to Translating Improvisation’s symposium back in May from the POV of an institutionally unaffiliated, sometimes teacher, amateur scholar and anthropologist [previous twitter transcripts…]. Below the fold is an unedited twitter transcript of my observations from Just Improvisation. My original observations came in the form of tweets (some written ‘live’, most posted subsequently) via @hanearlpark that spanned the first panel discussions, Ellen Waterman’s keynote presentation, concert performances by Okkyung Lee and Maria Chavez, the Deep Listening Workshop with Pauline Oliveros, and the workshop-performance which forms the main subject of my discussions.

My questions and observations are indebted to discussions with @franzschroeder, @wildsong, @tomarthursmusic, @pauljstapleton, @MortButane, @olivep, @davekanemusic, @zeittraumism, @nickreynoldsatp and @JoshSinton both on- and off- the twitterverse.

The rants (and typos), however, are entirely my own 😉

Twitter transcript (unedited)

Responses to Symposium Day 1: Belfast, May 29, 2015

May 29: Let’s start this w/ informal, visible demographic survey (a la #isim2014 #amspittsburgh #rsa2014)… #amateuranthropology #justimprovisation

May 29: …Suits. Lots* of suits. #amateuranthropology #justimprovisation

May 29: …* ‘Lots’ may be relative.** #amateuranthropology #justimprovisation

May 29: …** ‘Relative’ may speak more to the prejudices of the observer. #amateuranthropology #justimprovisation

May 29: ‘Adversity’ noun: “difficulties; misfortune”… #justimprovisation

May 29: …Potential tripping hazard in interdisciplinary meetings? possible misunderstanding(s) (creative or otherwise)? … #justimprovisation

May 29: …What is, for eg, the relationship btwn ‘adversity’ and ‘struggle’? #justimprovisation

May 29: …‘Adversity’ is not a term afaik improvisers enroll in their discussions, but ‘struggle,’ yes, often, maybe always. #justimprovisation

May 29: …Also ‘difficulty,’ ‘problematic,’ ‘risk’—difficult/problematic terms w/ differing creative/social ramifications. #justimprovisation

May 29: …false friends? I doubt these terms say much about the specifics of the creative or the social… #justimprovisation [1/2]

May 29: …—or their corresponding discourses—but it may be tempting to draw simple correlations. #justimprovisation [2/2]

May 29: …Like I said, potential tripping hazards. #mistakenembrace #justimprovisation

May 29: “Start to grapple with that fluidity.” #justimprovisation

May 29: ‘Proceduralized.’ Good word. Potential #artspeak right there. #linguisticdetritus #randomactsofpoetry #justimprovisation

May 29: “We’ve seen an 18% increase…” I’d love to write program/liner notes w/ this language. #technocracy #artspeak #justimprovisation

May 29: …How do we reconcile the need for ‘fluidity’ when the rhetorical justification uses… #linguisticdetritus #justimprovisation [1/2]

May 29: …such technocratic, bureaucratic language? #linguisticdetritus #justimprovisation [2/2]

May 29: “Risk”; that word again. #artspeak #linguisticdetritus #justimprovisation

May 29: Improvisation as an “unruly domain”. #justimprovisation

May 29: …Improvisation as a ’domain’? as a ‘site’? (Not an act?) #performance #identity #sociality #justimprovisation

May 29: Didn’t multiculturalism die at the hands of diversity? … #genuinequestion #justimprovisation

May 29: …or at least did not diversity explode the problematics (and necessary violence) of multiculturalism? #justimprovisation

May 29: “Musically satisfying ensemble.” ‘Satisfying’ #hmm By what criteria? #justimprovisation

May 29: ‘Recognition’ as the mechanism of identity (w/ minorities)? What about whiteness? heteronormativity? #hegemony #othering #justimprovisation

May 29: Equality = refusal to recognize difference. #justimprovisation

May 29: ‘Authentic self’? Is there the trap of essentialism there? #justimprovisation

May 29: Is the mechanism of improvisation based on exchanges? #genuinequestion #justimprovisation

May 29: I’ll ask this again for emphasis: Is exchange the primary/necessary/root mechanism of improvisation? #genuinequestion #justimprovisation

May 29: “Identities are always contingent.” Yes. This. #justimprovisation

May 29: Do the musical terms dissonance/harmony correspond to social/power relationship? … #justimprovisation

May 29: …or are we falling back on (liberal humanist) bad habits of old musicology? #justimprovisation

May 29: “Unvoicing of ulterity.” #justimprovisation

May 29: I don’t buy the distinction btw ‘traditional’ and ‘creative’ improvised musics. #idiom #tradition #creativity #justimprovisation

May 29: …pretty much said the same in a discussion with @tomarthursmusic afterwards. #justimprovisation

May 29: More thoughts: everytime I see OL perform, I think, damn; she’s better than the rest of us put together. #justimprovisation

May 29: Much transducer based music or #soundart would be improved by judicious enrolling of highpass filters. #impedance #justimprovisation

May 29 [in reply to…]: .@nickreynoldsatp I just don’t buy the one-on-one correspondence of musical and social dissonance/harmony. Instead… #justimprovisation [1/2]

May 29: .@nickreynoldsatp …it strikes me that _making_ the distinction btwn dissonance & harmony is the political act. #justimprovisation [2/2]

Responses to Symposium Day 2: Belfast, May 30, 2015

May 31: 0. Some more thoughts from the #justimprovisation symposium coming up…

May 31: 1. Find myself (my accident, of course) sitting next to @olivep during the Deep Listening workshop… #justimprovisation

May 31: 2. …and learned that I can not only listen thru the soles of my feet, but… #justimprovisation #body #physiology #listening

May 31: 3. …that I can triangulate the source of the vibration w/ two feet. Stereo! #justimprovisation #body #physiology #listening

May 31: 4. During the course of discussions, an improvising ensemble is frequently compared to that of a family… #justimprovisation

May 31: 5. …but escaping familiar relations are by degrees of magnitude so much harder than leaving an ensemble. #justimprovisation

May 31: 6. I am, however, reminded of the oft used terms ‘leader’ & ‘collective’ in the context of improvising micro-societies. #justimprovisation

May 31: 7. And tho we often idealize one form over another, ‘leader’ & ‘collective’ denote only 2 possible ways of organizing… #justimprovisation

May 31: 8. …each problematic, each utopian, in their way; neither quite fully descriptive of the dynamics of social play. #justimprovisation

May 31: 9. Leaders: such strong personalities (egos?) holding ensembles together… #justimprovisation

May 31: 10. …Ellington? Mingus? Bley? Guy? Mitchell? Paternalistic, nurturing, playful, autocratic, managerial, or bullying… #justimprovisation

May 31: 11. …Were we waiting for (or in need of) the ‘leader’ (such as @olivep) in the #justimprovisation ensemble…?

May 31: 12. In contrast to Call Them Improvisors! in 2011 in which we all bowed down to EP? #justimprovisation

May 31: 13. (Aside: but there may be no leaders, just those willing to be lead. We can too easily mistake effect for cause.) #justimprovisation

May 31: 14. Collective: idealized, utopian, but how do these work? How does collectivism work w/out violence to diversity…? #justimprovisation

May 31: 15. …afaik, closest to coop/‘family’ improvised musics was the AEC. But that ensemble emerged from Mitchell’s group… #justimprovisation

May 31: 16. …Felt as tho the #justimprovisation group desired (or felt we _should_ desire) a collective, but we were so polite (and yet so violent)…

May 31: 17. “Fuck you.” Someone says during the post-workshop discussions. ‘Yeah,’ I think, ‘exactly: “fuck you.”’ #justimprovisation

May 31: 18. Be back later with more thoughts on violence, alliances, autocracy and sociality coming up. #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 19. More thoughts on violence, alliances, autocracy and sociality from @translat_improv’s #justimprovisation symposium coming up…

Jun 24: 20. During #justimprovisation an improvising ensemble is frequently compared to that of a family… http://twitter.com/hanearlpark/status/604953995489234944

Jun 24: 21. …but familial relationships often seem less about choice of partners than, generally, a musical ensemble… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 22. …we choose our bands in a way we can’t always choose our families (or we get paid)… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 23. …that aside, are dysfunctions similar in both groups? Maybe (but how you solve/escape them are radically different). #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 24. What happens in an ensemble is brought together w/ radically different agenda, desires, skills, character, or power…? #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 25. …And what happens when those social/musical dissonances/discords are not discussed…? #justimprovisation http://twitter.com/hanearlpark/status/605081182133465088

Jun 24: 26. I want to unpack this (realize this is prob directed at a certain guitarist): http://twitter.com/davekanemusic/status/605734075446513665 #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 27. …I had certain problems w/ the amplified, steady-state ‘drone’ proponents in the #justimprovisation ensemble. I had difficulty…

Jun 24: 28. …hearing the unamplified string players in the #justimprovisation group. (It seemed to me, in such a large ensemble, the…

Jun 24: 29. …only ones who should have free license to play continuous sustained gestures were the unamplified strings/flute)… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 30. …the rest of us would have to be more careful (we could be loud, but those gestures would have to be short)… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 31. …talking to one of the drone proponents during the break, he responded that he wanted everyone to play drones… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 32. …so the question: http://twitter.com/hanearlpark/status/605080336385617921 #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 33. …favorite pt of #justimprovisation may have been @MortButane (musical) response to Bennett Hogg: unexpected, oblique, left-field…

Jun 24: 34. …different, idiomatically discordant; recontextualizing Hogg’s playing (never to be heard the same way again)… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 35. …how does one catalyze such (transformative) interactions and choices…? #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 36. …catalyze w/out ‘fixing’ the group (reminded of @JoshSinton: he’s not in the business of ‘saving’ an improvisation)… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 37. When #justimprovisation group w/out the full complement of players (sans many quieter voices) start our performance in the afternoon

Jun 24: 38. …the ensemble launches into full-scale drone-works. I give up. It’s prob. unforgivable, but I walk off stage… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 39. …I remember thinking: ‘I do not want to be part of this drone warfare.’ (ironic considering what is to follow)… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 40. …If I have a problem w/ how those drones were articulated, it wasn’t the loudness of it as such, but how it subsumed… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 41. …how it absorbed diversity and made it part of its identity. Which may be a kind of collectivism, but… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 42. …not a collective I wanted to be part of. #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 43. Feel it’s disrespectful to walk off stage, but done it x2 since an experience some years ago: http://improvisingguitar.blogspot.ie/2007/02/mob-behavior-and-hegemonic-impulse.html #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 44. …If leaving the stage is unforgivable, then rejoining it seems like, at best, very poor manners… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 45. …Essentially doing a pick’n’mix on what you decide to participate it. Where is the collective? collectivism? family? #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 46. In retrospect, going back on stage was a mistake, but once there, tried 2do what is the best role for the e. guitar… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 47. …nudge, push and pull, and catalyze the existing elements that are ‘desirable’… #machiavellian?… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 48. …but when those totalizing drones started up again for the umpteenth time, I exercised the nuclear option… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 49. …Nuclear option? I floored it: volume pedal toe down, playing at eleven… #justimprovisation? or #unjustimprovisation?

Jun 24: 50. …Nuclear option: did I say evoking drone warfare was ironic? http://twitter.com/hanearlpark/status/613656187708510208 #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 51. …I did American Foreign Policy—indiscriminate, “bomb them back into the Stone Age”—on the collective… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 52. …second time I’ve ever exercised the nuclear option, and, unlike last time, I’m _certain_ it was wrong wrong, wrong… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 53. …Despite what @wildsong @olivep said, feel my response really was… immoral? Maybe. Unethical? Probably. Wrong? Wrong… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 54. …Deniz Peters: “You autoerotic guitarist, you.” Ironic following statements about the non-semiotic nature of music? #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 55. …Simon Rose: “Did you know how loud you were?” “Oh. Yes.” “I thought you did.” #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 56. …Should someone ask for one (not that I expect anyone to), I would give my unconditional apology for what I did… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 57. …but my question is: given the (latent/overt/potential of) violence in the ensemble (as discussed in this thread)… #justimprovisation

Jun 24: 58. …what _should_ I have done? #justimprovisation

Jun 26 [in reply to…]: .@JoshSinton No. Didn’t expect them to, but… your Q gets me asking who they should have apologized to (if at all)… #justimprovisation [1/2]

Jun 26: .@JoshSinton …to those whose voices got absorbed into the hive, or those who had difficulty hearing those voices? #justimprovisation [2/2]

Jun 26 [in reply to…]: .@JoshSinton Good question. Hmm… maybe no apologies are necessary (just some group counseling). #justimprovisation

Jun 26: .@JoshSinton As for my initial statement, for me, it’s the fact that I dropped (the musical equivalent of) nukes… #justimprovisation [1/2]

Jun 26: .@JoshSinton …wrong is wrong regardless of the reasons that compelled it. #justimprovisation [2/2]

Lost at the Border: Improvisation, Conservation and Transformation (a twitter transcript)

Previte: “I’m a bit of a mongrel.” #isim2014
…and w/ that simple statement, is not the enterprise of Cross-Cultural Improvisation nuked? #isim2014

More tweets from an institutionally unaffiliated, sometimes teacher, amateur scholar and anthropologist [a previous twitter transcript…]. Below is an unedited transcript of my observations from ISIM: Cross-Cultural Improvisation III. My original observations came in the form of live tweets via @hanearlpark that spanned the opening ceremony on June 5, the conference plus performances between June 6 and 8, plus some post-event reflections.

My questions and observations are indebted to discussions with @AndreaWolper, @jkais, @nickreynoldsatw, @MarkImprov, @drmelmarshall and @coreymwamba both on- and off- the twitterverse.

My rants, however, are entirely my own 😉

Twitter transcript (unedited)

Opening Ceremony: New York, June 5, 2014

Heading to the #isim2014 opening ceremony. (‘Ceremony’ sounds so ostentatious. Conference folk, seriously…)

After my comments about #diversity and #rsa2014 & #amspittsburgh, was ready to be disappointed by #isim2014. Better, maybe, but not perfect.

Fewer suits and lighter makeup at #isim2014 compared to #rsa2014 & #amspittsburgh. #amateuranthropology

Is the ‘global village’ still a possibility? What violence hides behind such an idea? #isim2014

Can we imagine a global village achieved w/out violence? w/out the erasure of difference? #isim2014

There’s an interesting evocation of a kind of futurism in a lot of improvisative traditions. #isim2014

Conference: New York, June 6, 2014

3pm: #noise #melody #rhythm #contrast #serendipity #contradiction from Eris 136199 w/ @DoctorNerve @CatherineSikora @ @ISIMprov. #isim2014

Cognition vs embodiment. #isim2014

Is cognition a form of computation? Is embodiment a form of (physical) computation? #isim2014

Is a successful improvisation (always) narrative? #isim2014

This reminds me of Paul Berg’s algorithmic composition class… #isim2014

…either you create a process that creates desirable results, or one that creates noise that is selectively filter. #isim2014

Doesn’t (biological) evolution depend on the environment? Doesn’t musicality depend on the (cultural) environment? #isim2014

GenJam: the worst thing to happen to machine improvisation? #discuss #isim2014

Unasked question: how an improviser tries to make the rest of the band sound good. #isim2014

Unasked question: how individual desires (goals) collide to provide long-term formal structures (retroactively). #isim2014

…in this context, concentrating on individual intention may be missing the bigger picture. #isim2014

Problem w/ the Turing Test in creative contexts is that ‘I know it when I see/hear it’ ends up as a mirror of ‘does it swing’ #isim2014

Can we discuss rhythm w/out engaging w/ embodiment? #isim2014

History = cultural context = environment in which evolution takes place? #isim2014

At what point does cooperation & competition diverge in improvisative performance? #isim2014

…or is that a false dichotomy? are those terms meaningless in the context of improvisative play? #isim2014

Why are so many musicians so assured when idiomatic pressures are unambiguous, but uncertain when not? #isim2014

…is freedom that scary? #isim2014

…we know how to be a cog in the machine when the machine tells us to be? #isim2014

…we know our role/place/function in the ensemble if it’s prescribed for us? #isim2014

Is trans-idiomatic musicality a reflection of a kind of white middle-class mobility? #isim2014

…After trans-idiomatic meetings are (white) self-identified non-idiomatic musicians able to see idiom in their own playing? #isim2014

…are trans-idiomatic meetings by definition colonial? #isim2014

“No way to control what’s coming through your ears.” #isim2014

Ah, the sound of my circulation system. #isim2014

Can improvisation be about your ‘actual experience’ divorced from ‘thinking’? #isim2014

…in contrast, earlier presentation modeled improvisation exclusively as a ‘cognitive’ process. #isim2014

…why these simplifying assumptions in the context of something as complicated and human as improvisative play? isim

What’s possible given circumstances/resources = improvisation? #isim2014

…but what is the relation btwn this and the black american composer-improviser tradition? #isim2014

…Braxton said if you don’t compose this piece (for 276 accordions, say), then you will never hear it. #isim2014

After Lacy: “what’s alive for you?” #isim2014

…which is fine as far as it goes, but can we further unpack ‘aliveness’? #isim2014

‘Trust,’ ‘courage,’ ‘openness,’ all terms we use to talk about improvisation. We should unpack these. #isim2014

Reminded of Braxton’s commend about how freedom is knowing your context well enough so that……… you. are. free. #isim2014

Oh, reminded how my skills as an improviser are so, so, so pathetic. #isim2014

I want more talk of noise and frenzy. #isim2014

I desire a discussion of collisions, contradictions, the unintelligible, the unspeakable. #isim2014

Where is improvisation, the destabilizing, the revolutionary, the dissonant, the dissenting? #isim2014

Part of me (uncharitably for sure) want to scream ‘f*ck calm.’ #isim2014

Goddamnnit. I am Asian, and I will not be your model of calm and reserved. #isim2014

Wadada: “try to find something unique in yourself.” #isim2014

…don’t try to fit in. #isim2014

…“I don’t want them to expect nothing!” #isim2014

Is ‘experience’ (unlike, say, subjectivity) (always) a term of resistance? #isim2014

‘Compliment’ or ‘contradict’; what do these terms _mean_ in the context of improvisative play? #isim2014

…we seem to be struggling because we (think we) know the ‘correct’ terms to use. #isim2014

What does the term ‘pattern’ mean in the context of improvisative play? #isim2014

…can ‘pattern’ every be an enabling discursive element in the context of creative music? #isim2014

Often wonder if I should (get back to) playing more (overtly) melodic. #isim2014

Reminded of experiments about the different perceptions of musical construction depending on idiomatic background. #isim2014

…are not cultural misunderstandings so much more interesting than (ostensibly) clear channels of communication? #isim2014

‘notes’; if we just jettisoned that term, our understanding of musical practices would be so much richer. #isim2014

Some additional insight if you understand both English and 한국말. #isim2014

Are terms such as ‘discipline’ and ‘pattern’ (discursively) limiting in the contacts of improvisative play? #isim2014

Reminded of Wadada once saying that when he puts his horn to his mouth, it’s a command. #isim2014

Previte: “I’m a bit of a mongrel.” #isim2014

…and w/ that simple statement, is not the enterprise of Cross-Cultural Improvisation nuked? #isim2014

The unresolved contradiction btwn agency and sublimation? #isim2014

#isim2014 http://t.co/bypjiQMRiS

how much of my views/practices are shaped by my teachers; how much convergence of approach because of who I chose as teachers? #isim2014

“Social aspects of musicality.” #isim2014

…an enormous amount of stuff blackboxed in that statement. #isim2014

‘Leading’ and ‘following’; do these terms have any utility in the context of improvisative play? #isim2014

“Where was I going?” (unintentionally?) good description of what we are doing. #isim2014

…Something I learned when I started teaching improvisation was the utility I jettisoning these terms. #isim2014

Conference: New York, June 7, 2014

However you cut it, solo is that impossible thing in improvisation. #isim2014

…you have _got_ to have something pretty damn important to say/present. #isim2014

…in that sense, by analogy, Romey’s speeches during the last election would be an example or a useless solo. #isim2014

…I’ve consciously engaged w/ the solo context self-consciously on and off for the last ten years, but I still haven’t cracked it. #isim2014

Echoes of Philip Glass? or of Chris Cutler? #isim2014

Random thought: what does the term ‘oppositional politics’ mean, if anything, in improvisative practices? #isim2014

…what does the term ‘ideology’ mean, if anything, in improvisative practices? #isim2014

…’cause, despite talk of the social, what I have heard little of (so far) at #isim2014 is the (explicitly) political.

…which may be a reflection more of my own predilections, but I worry about the gentrification of improvisation. #isim2014

…what happens to improvisation as an oppositional force when, say, academic classical performers ‘dabble’ in it… #isim2014 [1/2]

…w/out necessarily interrogating their own tradition/practice/history and the structures of power? #isim2014 [2/2]

A new kind of cross-cultural musicology that “can only be fathomed by the improviser.” #isim2014

…but to paraphrase Previte, are we not (always already) mongrels? #isim2014

“India, Korea, then Wadada, then Bobby.” hmm #isim2014

Is ‘merging’ a useful notion in the context of improvisative performance? #isim2014

…Is ‘merging’ a useful notion in the context of improvisative (cross-cultural) meetings? #isim2014

“Not trying to drop a bomb.” But are bombs unambiguous across cultural borders? #isim2014

…one might intend Operation Enduring Freedom, others might interpret Invasion and Empire Building. #isim2014

Dissent! Yay. #isim2014

“Tradition is not a dead thing.” #isim2014

…yes, but traditions sometimes die/petrify/fossilize. #isim2014

…under what conditions do traditions die/petrify/fossilize? #isim2014

“What an [musical, performative] action signifies.” #isim2014

‘Notes’—that word again. #isim2014

“There is that elasticity in _everything_.” #isim2014

Can we unpack the term ‘energy’ in the context of these discussions of improvisation? #isim2014

“To feel secure in that uncertainty is the biggest challenge of any musician, or human being for that matter.” #isim2014

“Leave it up to analyst to explain what happened [in spontaneous creation].” #isim2014

…part agree, but then why are we here? #isim2014

…there is this constant tension btwn intellectual and anti-intellectualism in the traditions of improvisative performance. #isim2014

“A future event can affect the present.” #isim2014

…reminds me of Ted Chiang’s story of the performative language changes consciousness and sense of causality. #isim2014

…which might relate to the quip about leaving analysis to the analyst. #isim2014

I have little patience for the regurgitation of amateur physics. #isim2014

Going out for air. #isim2014

improvised music “goes beyond style.” But does it? #isim2014

Is #isim2014 attempting to turn #improvisedmusic into the emblem of salvation for academic (study of) music? #isim2014

…where does tokenism end, and revolutionary equality begin? #isim2014

…Is it unfair to compare this to (post-)colonial ideas of savages as agents of renewal? #isim2014

To borrow from @vijayiyer: “The Jazz Educational Complex.” #isim2014

“Transdisciplinary space”—well, okay, but how to reconcile this (utopian) notion w/ the “cross-cultural”? #isim2014

“Institutions need to rebuild from the foundation.” #isim2014

…yes, but https://t.co/EOidN6pSmp

…yes, but https://t.co/yZHlEQRSVK

…or https://t.co/txouBTMx45

…yes, but https://t.co/gzEsSwYCvl

We want to _study_ improvisation, but we precisely do not want interactive destabilizing forces in the structures of academia. #isim2014

…Is it possible to rebuild academic (study of) music while keeping the formal structures intact? #isim2014

…so where does tokenism end? #isim2014

More talk of meditation. #isim2014 tropes.

Frustrated. Going out for air. #isim2014

“Nobody [at #isim2014] understands that we can’t talk about this w/out being critical!”

My thoughts on #isim2014 http://t.co/OWKnq76VFN

An academic would never present work w/out citing their sources. #isim2014 [1/6]

Should not the academic who studies improvisative practices/traditions also cite specific artists…? #isim2014 [2/6]

…rather than hide behind nebulous/generic language? #isim2014 [3/6]

If there’s a specific musical/artistic/creative element you’re talking about, surely you must be able to name a source. #isim2014 [4/6]

Why the double standards? Are scholars more important? #isim2014 [5/6]

…are their ‘possessions’ more valuable than the practitioners of your (supposed) area of expertise? #isim2014 [6/6]

Concert: New York, June 7, 2014

Problem w/ oval halls is that, if you’re at the focal point opposite the stage, those on stage will hear everything you say. #isim2014

#ugh ##isim2014

If tomorrow’s gig is my last, then it’ll be the most important one I play. w/ Tom Rainey @ @whynotjazzroom NYC. http://t.co/Pwb2ZXJkZh

If ‘tradition’/‘patterns’ remain an unchanged backbone to improvisative meetings, what is achieved by those meetings? #isim2014

…seriously. Why bother? #isim2014

…or put it another way: re continued enterprise of ‘cross-cultural improvisations,’ an obvious question: now what? what next? #isim2014

…I am beginning to suspect that ‘cross-cultural improvisation’ is a cute arts marketing term that, however… #isim2014

…signifies little; no goal or purpose in mind. We can happily go our own merry ways at the end of the day… #isim2014

…safe from the transformative/revolutionary possibilities of improvisation. #isim2014

You know ‘notes’ and ‘patterns’ are the least interesting things about improvisation… #isim2014

…and though folk at #isim2014 have mentioned in passing that there’s this other stuff at play in improvisation…

…people have been reluctant to open up those black boxes. #isim2014

Safe in the knowledge that the scary, truly transformative aspect of improvisation can be left unexplored. #isim2014

Is it okay to feel betrayed by these (I have no reason to doubt) Masters of Tradition? #isim2014

Is it okay to feel angry about the prescriptions made by these Masters of Tradition? #isim2014

I’ll be honest. I walked out of the last thing. But I’m drawn back by Wadada. #isim2014

The AACM used two terms to denote their music and practice: ‘creative music’ and ‘free music.’ #isim2014

…and _this_ thing I’m hearing right now, I can get behind. #isim2014

…singular, powerful, noisy. That African American noise that showed the world How It Could Be Done. #isim2014

…a Music of Unbound Possibilities. #isim2014

Wadada’s left the stage. I’m leaving this time for real. See y’all tomorrow. #isim2014

.@nickreynoldsatw or academia only studies/legitimizes improvisative practices/traditions that emphasize the narrative… #isim2014

.@nickreynoldsatw …or academia chooses to impose narrativity onto improvisative practices/traditions. #isim2014

Conference: New York, June 8, 2014

How does one know when you cross an idiomatic or traditional border? #isim2014

…Rather than thinking of idiomatic vs free improvisation… #isim2014 [1/2]

…can we not just think of those borders as having shifted (or simply immaterial). There may be no inside/outside. #isim2014 [2/2]

Do you distinguish/delineate those elements inherited from the tradition, the practice, and your own inventions? #isim2014

Make an Early Music Noise Here. #isim2014

Make a New Music Noise Here. #isim2014

How is it that so many introduce improvisation into their practice, and the idiom becomes _more_ a caricature of itself? #isim2014

…why is it that improvisation leads us back into the familiar (rather than, as Lacy said, leap into the Unknown)? #isim2014

…how is that even possible? (Not a rhetorical question) #isim2014

…it’s like being free to do anything, and we end up telling that same anecdote over and over again. #isim2014

…it’s like giving what you _presume_ to be the right answer (even though there is no right answer). #isim2014

…it’s like being afraid to give the wrong answer (when the question was entirely open). #isim2014

…do we not know how to be free? or are we afraid? #isim2014

…reminded of Mark Sanders saying that you should not listen to your inner critic; the one who knows the ‘right answer.’ #isim2014

Borders can be demolished. Let’s All Cross Borders. Right. Now. #isim2014

Godammit. #isim2014

Talking to D Ewart about how cultural/material exchanges have been happening since the beginning of time. #isim2014

…along w/ Previte’s comment, does this not nuke the whole premise of ‘cross-cultural improvisations’? #isim2014

I am going to start ISIT: the International Society for Indignant Tweeters. Who’s with me?

Some great comments from the floor: concrete suggestions to increase diversity and accessibility. #isim2014

“Breaking down the [academic] structure of [how presentations are made].” #isim2014

“How was it funded?” #isim2014

I am reminded again how much I am the wrong Asian to participate in a ‘cross-cultural improvisation.’ #isim2014

…and again: https://t.co/26M9aOMV0p #isim2014

Can’t directly compare #isim2014 with #rsa2014 or #amspittsburgh, but I will say that…

#isim2014 does speak seriously/passionately about the need/desire for greater diversity/access.

…even if we don’t always have concrete plans. #isim2014

Yesterday… Yesterday I… Yesterday I walked… Yesterday I walked past… Yesterday I walked past Philip…

But today I swapped CDs with Douglas Ewart. How frickin’ cool is that?!? #isim2014

Post-conference reflections…

Final thoughts on #isim2014: the main thing I learned (and in retrospect why I was angry), was about my own prejudices… [1/9]

…I had made a lazy, unexamined assumption about improvisation (its practice and its implications)… #isim2014 [2/9]

…I had assumed (w/out evidence) that improvisation was intrinsically tranformative/revolutionary/disruptive/noisy/etc, and… #isim2014 [3/9]

…that any tradition that incorporated it, must themselves be revolutionary/disruptive//noisy/etc… #isim2014 [4/9]

…That, in retrospect, was a naive, unfounded postulation that in turn lead to an erroneous conclusion… #isim2014 [5/9]

…I learned that improvisative traditions may not have the tranformative/revolutionary/disruptive/etc as thier focal point… #isim2014 [6/9]

…that improvisative traditions/practices might conceivably be conservative/reactionary/etc… #isim2014 [7/9]

…I learned that what I (unquestioningly) took as a universal improvisative impulse… #isim2014 [8/9]

…was a particular expression of a specifically (post-)Civil Rights African-American (derrived) one. #isim2014 [9/9]

Anyway, in case you missed it, this is still my best summary of my reponse to #isim2014: https://t.co/tjv7SOP8k6

0. One more thought on #isim2014’s ‘Cross-Cultural Improvisations’: What, in retrospect, appears to have been at stake is not just the…

1. …nature of improvisation as a means of conservation vs a means of self-determined transformation, but… #isim2014

2. …specific expressions of these notions within a specific discursive framework. #isim2014

3. So we had representatives from practices that are, to varying degrees and in varied ways, post-colonial, nationalist… #isim2014

4. …in which the priorities might be described as a kind of classicism; we had a representative from a… #isim2014

5. …Civil-Rights fueled, Afro-Futurist community; a representative from a vernacular-immersed post-modern avant-garde. #isim2014

6. The idea that we would have dissonance at such a meeting shoudn’t perhaps be surprising, but for a… #isim2014

7. …‘benevolent’ liberal-humanism that acted as the formal umbrella… #isim2014

8. …that, surely, was the single biggest reason for the lack of productive dialogue. #isim2014

io 0.0.1 beta++: freedom, machine subjectivity and pseudo-science

ImproTech Paris-New York 2012 : Improvisation & Technology
At the io 0.0.1 beta++ website, I’ve posted the twitter transcript of observations from a Computer Music event:

As a institutionally unaffiliated, part-time geek (and amateur anthropologist), I find the Computer Music tribes’ behavior fascinating. This is an unedited transcript of my observations from ImproTech Paris-New York 2012 : Improvisation & Technology series of events. My original observations came in the form of live tweets via @hanearlpark that spanned the performances on May 16, 2012 at the Roulette, and the ‘workshops’ (which I would describe as paper presentations or demonstrations) over the following two days at NYU and Columbia (the closing concert at Columbia gets a very short mention at the end).

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io 0.0.1 beta++: dreams of the future

Curiosity Rover

At the io 0.0.1 beta++ website, I’ve just posted some thoughts and questions from the Scientific American / American Museum of Natural History Beyond Planet Earth Tweetup on January 18, 2012.

I’m moved by the planetarium: I travel to the stars I cannot see, struggle with the scale of what I cannot fathom. Modern planetariums demonstrate the grandeur of God’s creation, but in a secular scientific context. They bring the distant close; make the visible the imperceptible; make manifest the abstract.

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