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Martin Schüttler
Visiting Composer

Born in 1974 in Kassel. Martin Schüttler is composer and performer. He is co-founder of the artist platform stock11. His work focuses on new contextualisations of social, medial or physical realities of everyday life. Therefore he cooperates intensely with specific musicians and groups, such as asamisimasa, Trio Catch, Ictus or Nadar Ensemble. Since 2014 Schüttler is professor for composition at the State University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart/Germany.

How important is the context, in which your work is performed, to you?

There is a certain set of circumstances surrounding a music event context. Those are for instance the venue, the event time, the ticket price, seating plan and applause, possible alcohol consumption and so on. These details say a lot about the social surroundings in which my work will be performed, and consequently, which persons are going to be in direct contact with it.
I can rarely influence any of these given parameters, even though they enormously effect the perception of my work. What I can do is to keep those circumstances in mind and incorporate them into my artistic work, thereby shifting, overemphasizing and pushing against these contexts.
Next to the obvious contexts surrounding a performance, there are also hidden ones. Those contexts are effective during my working process, they are connected to my biography and to me as a person: what is my artistic stance towards my central-European background, to my gender? What role do my education and my occupation play? How am I handling the commissions that are or aren’t offered to me? What is my usage of certain instruments and sounds saying? Which musician can I work with? I have to ask myself those questions daily, on a political and personal level, especially in the course of my artistic production. The question, artistically speaking, that I also need to ask myself is: is my music conveying the continuous conflict of my identity in present-day?

Where are the limits of notation?

Each decision made for or against notation is also a limitation. To decide about it and to doubt it self-determined, is possibly the biggest freedom of notation. Fixation, as a term, seems to me to be more adequate. It encompasses different techniques, such as audio and video recordings, graphics or verbal instructions. Techniques, that alongside more or less conventional notation became more insertable, especially in the digital realm.
That being said, most important form of communication for me is: complicity with the performers.

What makes artistic collaboration work?

Artistic collaboration is only as diverse as the artists themselves. From my experience it seems that certain things have an impact on collaboration. Those are: trust, diversity and the understanding of different artistic strategies, desire for productive misunderstandings, patient institutions and reducing material interest.

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