Damien Ricketson, Hannes Seidl, Jennifer Walshe
Wed 25 July 2018, 10.00 – 14.00
In English. Free admission
10:00 Lecture Damien Ricketson:
Trauma and the voice: terror, opera and feminism with The Howling Girls
The Howling Girls is a wordless opera exploring the female voice and challenging our conceptions of hysteria. Co-created by director Adena Jacobs and composer Damien Ricketson, the work was inspired by an anecdote that emerged in the wake of 9/11 terror attacks in which five teenage girls presented separately to hospitals unable to swallow believing some debris or body-parts from the destruction had lodged in their throats. The doctor who examined them found no physical obstruction. The haunting image has been read as a collective expression of trauma and hysteria.
Jacobs’ and Ricketson’s sensory non-verbal creative response forges a visceral protolanguage that seeks to communicate directly with the body and reconstitute the voice anew. Through analysis of The Howling Girls, its critical reception and recent experimental vocal works, together with reference to emerging feminist literature, this lecture looks at the ways in which notions of trauma and agency might inform compositional process and be inscribed upon the voice. Furthermore, The Howling Girls is positioned as a critique of the dominant patriarchal depiction of feminine frailty epitomised in the operatic „mad scene“. The image of female hysteria – a history of not being believed and of speaking a language deemed irrational and unintelligible – is recast as a subversive mode of communication with the power to disrupt and undermine familiar systems.
11:30 Lecture Hannes Seidl:
Different each time
Hannes Seidl will give a brief overview of his works from the last few years and their different aesthetic positions, also referring to works by other artists and composers. The approach of this overview is to show the pieces in their differences and mutual contradictions. The specifics of how to approach the concrete situation lead to the most varied formats. Whether concert music, music for (solitary) listening at home, for galleries or outdoors. Whether music for specialist ensembles, amateur groups or music as a result of other activities, whether expressive-subjective or coolly structural: it is no longer to develop a sound of one’s own but rather, on the contrary, to become an “embedded artist” and develop solutions for situations that can make those situations become precarious and collapse.
13:00 Lecture Jennifer Walshe:
Ghosts of the hidden layer
At what point does text produced by neural networks become language? How does it feel to sing with a synthesised version of your own voice? Composer and performer Jennifer Walshe’s talk will deal with the voice, language and artificial intelligence.