NOVEMBER 2018 - Clear Insight Production's contemporary culture and arts newsletter. Dedicated to the creative and new ways of doing, being and knowing.
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For sometime I have been fascinated with music in its widest sense whether it is where it spills into opera or the Avantgarde. It has been an unexpected journey for because whilst the pursuit of all things experimental came naturally for me, opera as art form was not on my map for many years. I was far more obsessed with exploring experimental theatre and where it touched dance and the body as in physical theatre, new dance, post-modern dance, performance art, and other cultural movement forms such as Butoh and Body Weather.
It was by chance through my first visit to Argentina with a travel grant from Wales Arts International that I discovered the work of Oscar Edelstein (Composer) and Manuel Eguía (Physicist). Their joint research into the field of acoustics and music was taking sound into an extended form which contained the architectural qualities that I enjoyed in dance and site specific work. In other words they were exploring the exciting world of audio perception and the sense of sound in space.
Their cutting edge research is actually nothing new. Edelstein and Eguía are taking up a conversation between the art and science of music that has a long and fascinating story.
I approach this without the benefit of a background in acoustical science. musical composition, musicology, or physics but as a multimedia artist dedicated to creating artistic experiences that cross that special line from the ordinary to the extra-ordinary, to the oft quoted liminal space, to that otherness that only poets and maybe priests get to occasionally visit and play.
This extensive collaboration between Edelstein and Eguía (which succeeded in being the first research project in Latin America to win major science funding as well as arts funding) re-establishes the old link between science and music - this ambiguous relationship that developed early on in science from the fact that when so often words and vision failed to find adequate explanations for the universe, musical metaphors were a final resort offering concepts such as resonance, vibrations and so on.
In recent times the metaphor of vision has dominated science. This makes Edelstein and Eguía’s work together at the Universidad de Quilmes so important as they take us back into the prioritising of the ear and the process of listening.
The research of historians like Penelope Gouk of Manchester University offer an intriguing parallel to this modern exploration of music as equally a science and an art, as she establishes the importance of music in the development of modern science. Her book "Music, Science & Natural Magic in Seventeenth-Century England" , shows how in the late 16th century and early 17th century the tradition of new experimental philosophy was developing out of the earlier tradition of natural philosophy, and how natural philosophy itself developed out of the tradition of the natural magician - the picture of the lone experimenter who sought to discover universal truths for his personal use or perhaps for that of an elite master. Often music was the source of metaphors used to represent hidden phenomena that could neither be seen or easily put into words. For example the sympathetic resonance between the strings of two instruments was a metaphor frequently used as a way to understand and control unseen forces.
So as well as taking us forward in the field of acoustics, Edelstein and Eguia's work follows in the footsteps of a long line of experimenters who used musical models to illustrate links between the seen and the unseen, right back to the early experiments of the “natural philosophers” of the 16th century, individuals who were working even from before the birth of whom we now call scientists (which is a 19th century term), and whose work itself followed from that of the so called 'natural magicians.'
These experimenters designed instruments as the first attempts to explain the universe in what has been called the “Naturalisation of the marvellous.”
Many of these early experimental philosophers, explains Gouk. were themselves musicians, such as Robert Fludd for whom the practice of music was a step “towards true philosophical knowledge and divine illumination.”
It was only later with the new experimental philosophy that figures like Isaac Newton (1642-1727) searching for underlying structures would begin to draw on maths as a language to reveal the unseen. Before that the properties of bell, lutes, trumpets, and keyboards were frequently used as musical models to describe the functions of the body.
As pointed out by Gouk, the paradox and perhaps the break with the prevalence of the use of musical models came when polyphony was introduced - it was one thing to listen to one instrument and imagine a universal harmony and cosmic order, but this order was under threat when more than one instrument played together. The practice of tuning and temperament had to be introduced as a way to compensate. It was one thing to imagine universal models linked to antiquity such as Apollo - God of Harmony and Cosmic Order with his association with the lyre - an association that court magician John Dee (1527-1608), frequently used. However, put two lyres together and there was a problem. The cosmic order appeared to break down and new models were needed.
It is in this fascinating terrain that Edelstein and Eguia orchestrate the re-meeting of music in its scientific and artistic form. Their work has been patiently and gently taking weight now for over ten years, and the team is ready to show more of the performative results. As a proud member of the production team, I hope this blog begins to identify some of the exciting aspects of this extensive project. I am only beginning here to scratch the surface of the scale of the project and there are others who can speak better about the acoustical science. However I see this as a space to begin new conversations and to offer some material in English and in layman's terms to go alongside the many scientific papers that the research has produced. I hope that little by little I will be able to share a deeper sense of this intriguingly resonant project.
Deborah Claire Procter
Multimedia Artist & Mentor
Founder Clear Insight Productions
For questions and more information: email@example.com
 Gouk, Penelope, Music, Science & Natural Magic in Seventeenth-Century England, (Yale Uni Press, 1999)
 Natural Magic itself in this moment was seen as an antecedent to the ancient tradition of Priscia Theologia (Original Theology) and the belief that God had revealed the processes of nature to Adam who in turn revealed them to the “magi” - e.g. Abraham, Moses, Hermes, Orpheus, Pythagorus and so on. Gouk p.103
I have had a week of the strangest dreams with mixes of friends from all stages of my life all jumbled up and including last night Samuel L Jackson coming to return a coat that did not fit. It's not the moon but the 50th anniversary of the drama degree that I took at Exeter University. It was a rare beast set up by young theatre makers who were influenced by studio based laboratory style practices such as were happening in Poland with Jerzy Grotowski, or with Peter Brook's long rehearsal processes and long cycles. The brain child was John Rudlin who brought us his knowledge of Commedia del Arte, Dadaism and Surrealism. It was made possible by the genius mind of Shakespeare expert Professor Peter Thomson, and various others such as Les Read, Nick Sales and Glendyr Sacks.
What was unique about it? Many things but particularly the idea that a British university would offer a practice based course as opposed to looking at historical or literary aspects of theatre. It was a pioneer. The inspired and intelligent team fought also for assessments based on practice so out of the nine parts of our final assessment seven, if I remember correctly, were practical.
We had studio spaces. Another fight was to acquire and maintain the Roborough which had been a science lab as our performance space. It was a huge flexible space with beautiful tall windows and scary basement vaults that I never fancied going into.
What is more in my year back in the eighties the numbers were capped so that there were eight of us doing single honours drama and twelve doing combined with English and one or two more combined with German. That meant that for three years we worked together constantly so it was as if we were a mini theatre ensemble.
I think I will need many posts to put the experience into adequate words. We were young. far from home and swimming in a sea of creativity that was as overwhelming as it was wonderful. There was sweat and confusion. What held it together was the vision and flare of the founding team, including the strong presence of Les Read, Dorinda Hulton, Nick Sales and Glendyr Sacks.
We were kitted out with black karate suits, black leggings (which were the limit for most of the guys) and a black leotard. The idea was to take out personality from the process of the rehearsal room - these were laboratory theatre concepts - somewhere between Peter Brook's "Empty Space" and Grotowski's "Poor Theatre."
The truth is that it took years to be able to balance such an intense, exquisite and strange three years. We didn't have modules but worked on a theme or concept for five weeks leading to a performance. For this reason fellow graduates have become dramaturgs, opera directors, fine artists, writers, headmasters, community centre leaders, academics, researchers, and think there is even a diamond merchant - in other words people who found their own weird life combinations.
Five weeks of full time hours on themes like Kathakali dance drama; Mask work and Commedia; the structure of a Shakespearian five act history play (including writing and performing our own); and so on.
The feather in the cap was the final third year project which was to make 20 minutes of theatre - anyway, anyhow you wanted but with the rule that it had to be 20 mins. We acted in each others and each took responsibility for the tech in one discipline so I was one of the sound team.
I think I'm glad that this was all before mobile phone and even video cameras. So we were just making and doing constantly - most of it quite bad but with much enthusiasm.
My karate-suit's trousers ended up being faded and softer than a cloud. In my last move they got thrown out which in this 50th anniversary nostalgia, I know regret.
If I've learnt to make it up as I go along it was from these years. There were mistakes and it was damn confusing at times yet finally a catalyst for nearly all the other stages and impulses in my life.
So it brings me great joy to see faces I have not seen for many years, and to be able to feel all the same hope, desire, enthusiasm, emotion, vulnerability, tenderness and passion.
Youth is wasted on the young, of course. And as Picasso said, "It takes a long time to become young.”
I am enjoying from afar this 50th anniversary which far from making me feel old, makes me feel extremely young and more determined than ever to make similar experiences possible for other.
Deborah Claire Procter
I love this quote and it explains to me why I need to have so many journals and notebooks around me!
It reminds me of the distinction I learnt whilst studying drama at Exeter University which was heavily influenced by studio based practice and ensemble techniques, and where we were taught to constantly ask “Why theatre?” - in other words what does it do that another art form does not.
Therefore, why do we say “playwright” and not “play-write”?
It is as if a playwright (distinct from a play-write), is someone developing their work in a process that is as much a physical process (like a wheel-wright) as an intellectual one.
These are questions that have led my continuous artistic search to the borders of different art forms (dance theatre, physical theatre, performance art, martial arts in relation to performance etc) including to most recently an exploration in the arena of opera and experimental music in collaborations with Argentinean composer Oscar Edelstein as both a vocalist and video maker.
Edelstein's concept of "Acoustic Theatre" raises the question of sound in space. It is question that was explored in the early acoustic experiments of the cathedral builders and Venetian masters (think whispering galleries and cathedrals constructed to be apt for choirs), up to references of the to the 3D space of German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen whose piece "Gruppen" requiring three conductors and three orchestras was recently performed in the Turbine Gallery at Tate Modern by London Symphony Orchestra directed by Simon Rattle), passing through Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Claude Debussy, Arnold Schönberg, Geörgy Ligetti and Luigi Nono.
With Acoustic Theatre, Edelstein is collaborating with physicists in Argentina to create a new kind of space for the experiencing of sound. He is working in depth with Manuel Eguía (Physicist / Acoustic Researcher) who is an Associate Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes in Buenos Aires and a member of CONICET (National Science Council) whose background is in Complex Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics and Theoretical Neuroscience. Together they are working with Sonic Crystals in an novel approach to sound in space.
There is a long history of composers working in an interdisciplinary contexts that border with art, architecture, theatre and dance. Equally, in recent years artists have taken up this idea of sound in space and begun experimenting with the borders of sound.
So for me Hélène Cixous - professor, French feminist writer, poet, playwright, philosopher, literary critic and rhetorician - captures that implausible aspect of the process of putting into words and for the need to physicalise the out of reach. She eludes to that special finding of what is not there - that just because.
Cixous is best known for her article '' The Laugh of the Medusa.''
It takes 21 days to change a habit, and so Adrienne Lloren, a young Toronto entrepreneur has prepared 21 days worth of interviews with creatives - 25 infact (including me!) - from all spectrums of the artistic sphere.
As a rapper, singer-songwriter, and YouTuber, Adrienne has been trying to figure out the challenge of how to bridge the gap between starving artist to thriving artist. So she decided to take on a research project to learn how successful creatives paved their way into crafting the life and business that they love.
This research project has turned into an interview series called: The Thriving Artist: How Creatives Create Flourishing Careers.
[You can register for a complimentary ticket using this LINK]
These interviews are short and straight to the point conversations with successful creatives who’ve built thriving careers.
In case you are wondering who the speakers are, here are just a handful of speakers you will hear from including me: Bree Noble (singer/songwriter & online radio host, USA), La Marie Ritchhart (Beauty Photographer & Mentor. USA), Nel Shelby (Dance Videographer, USA), Rodney Holder (Music business lecturer & podcast producer, Australia), Ryan Van Poederooyen (Drummer, Canada), Laura C George (Business consultant for fine artists, USA), Luna Jaffe (Jungian psychotherapy & holistic financial planner, USA) more!
As an artist, I understand Adrienne’s question all too well - how hard it can be to pave your way and build a viable career with your craft. Unlike other professions, the creative route to success is obviously not linear, yet it’s not easy to shake off the sensation that it should be clearer.
Adrienne is the founder of GetAMPED a content creation agency, based in Toronto who are a team of passionate communicators, cinematographers and storytellers helping local small businesses amplify their message, and providing marketing solutions to artists driven by passion and purpose.
She is on a mission to get her client amped-up and to craft the life and creative business that you love. “Never be afraid of being different,” she says, and that’s the same philosophy she uses to get her clients marketing with verve and energy.
This summit series starts on Monday 2nd July, 2018. Sign up here for free.
Hope you enjoy it and look forward to any discussions it raises. Any questions, let me know firstname.lastname@example.org
As ever I’m on Facebook here so I am curious to know your thoughts as my mission is that through clarity, insight and production we can enjoy a world full of new ways of being, doing and knowing.
Deborah Claire Procter
Clear Insight Productions in Facebook:
Sometimes we find ourselves searching in and from a “don’t know” space that is filled with echoes, reflections, and glimpses of children’s games.
It is un-nerving.
I think of the term “playwright.” Why don’t we spell it “play-write”?
Because we need our hands not just our heads to shape the new.
"Playwright" comes from the archaic English term, wright. We are like wheelwrights, cartwrights - ready not only with ears and eyes, but with hands trained to shape and craft play.
We are fishing in the land of paradox to catch edges, moments unseen, and words un-whispered.
I want my intuitive leaps to lead to something timeless and hypnotic – creating a space to pause and re-figure.
Let’s hope that we can mix vulnerability with skill, to keep things as raw and fresh as possible - to fill a bottle with light and more that just one P.O.V, perhaps some Beckett, Brecht, and a little Shakespeare.
Tonight, Wednesday 9th November, like many I don't feel like I understand anything.
So I reach back into my mind to a book I read many years ago by Jonathan Raban called "Bad Land."
The critically acclaimed book takes the rarely told story of the journey of European immigrants that were sold the enterprising idea of rich farming lands in the state of Montana. The story is of dreams, homesteaders, railroads, promises, false propaganda, drought, and desperation of people misled and abandoned.
Tonight as the world faces a new chapter, it is a book that sticks in my minds as strongly as images like Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother", Grant Wood's "American Gothic", "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper, or even more viscerally the iconic "Christina’s World" by Andrew Newell Wyeth.
I'm reaching for a horizontal but like for the people in Raban's "Bad Land" there is no horizon just a dizzying empty sky line.
As quoted in a Guardian article about his book set in Alaska, "Passage to Juneau", “Journeys,” says Raban, somewhere towards the end of Passage to Juneau, “hardly ever disclose their true meaning until after – and sometimes years after – they’re over.”
This journey is going to take a lot of time to understand. Turning to art is perhaps our best resource in times like these as Sigmund Frued said, “Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.”
In this case Jonathan Raban in 1997 told stories than we need to go back towards and revisit just as he did, in which case the Los Angeles Times prediction will be true when they said; "Championship prose. . . . In fifty years don't be surprised if Bad Land is a landmark."
I certainly think so.
Answer - the art of copywriting.
You know when you stumble across something that is really basic but makes perfect sense. I figured out a while ago about the importance of re-looking at communicating on the arts from getting really bored by the copywriting sent out by much of the classical music industry and un-subscribing from an emailing list. Alongside this, my fascination with how to attract audiences to "new" work or "contemporary" material when these have become dirty words makes me super keen to learn more about the art and craft of writing that moves.
Long time back I discovered Seth Godin's inspiring thoughts on how to create ideas that circulate, and he continues to be one of the most important voices in the field whose daily email I relish.
But this week I made another unexpected leap forward by receiving information from writer's coach Shelley Hitz about an online copywriting summit with some of the best of the best. I love to hear it from the horses mouth so I was thrilled.
The summit is led by Ray Edwards who is most famous for being able to combine faith and ethics in writing sales copy that is authentic and isn't too pushy or salesy. He is known as the man who has created money-getting copy for business leaders like Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Jeff Walker, and Stu McLaren. Plus he has a really impressive list of New York Times best-selling authors, entrepreneurs, and achievers. What's more, he is a really enthusiastic and generous guy who has gathered 30 of the best copywriters on the planet to teach you their freshest insights, tools, and techniques… All at no charge.
What is also wonderful is that the interviews are are not “pitch interviews” – far from it! It is all really valuable material and great conversations that take advantage of Ray Edwards years in radio.
Having listened to the first six days of the summit I've just added a book to my reading list after hearing the talk by the author and star of copywriting and marketing, Jay Abraham.
Having listened to the first six days of the summit I've just added a book to my reading list after hearing the talk by the author and star of copywriting and marketing, Jay Abraham.
Abraham's book is called The CEO Who Sees Around Corners. It is all about hindsight, insight and foresight - my cup of tea!
The blurb on Amazon says;
"Jay Abraham and Carlos Dias wrote this book for CEOs and senior executives who want to lead their organizations onto a better path for success in a fast-moving, turbulent world. The CEO Who Sees Around Corners introduces the powerful theories, mental models, and proven processes you need to reset your business to succeed in non-linear times."
Abraham talks in the interview with Ray Edwards about how to be pre-eminent in your field by finding out what's driving your heart and soul, and of the power of making small progressive movements.
Ray Edwards has given a huge gift with these interviews that are so packed with insights so it is well worth jumping in immediately.
If you know very little about copywriting - like I did - but love writing, and know how powerful a skill it is to be able to reach new audiences, and bring big crowds to your events and your business, then I strongly recommend this as both a starting point / crash course.
Just by listening, I feel that I have upped my game as a communicator - in fact I feel a bit more nervous writing today because I recognise even more the power and the beauty of words.
How else would I have heard about names like Ben Settle, David Garfinkel, John Carlton, Kevin Rogers, Brian Kurtz, Bond Halbert, Pauline Longdon and many many more.
In the arts there can sometimes be a suspicion that advertising smacks of manipulation. However when it means reaching out to one more person who can benefit from access to the arts, then I feel it is an essential skill to develop and develop and develop and develop....
About the Author: Procter is an independent artist and thinker working in the area of production, strategy, and development in the arts and culture sector. She is a multimedia artist and has worked for companies like Theatre Alibi and Centre for Performance Research. With over 30 years of experience in the arts, spanning four continents, she founded her own production company, Clear Insight Productions which makes theatre, opera, film, music and dance productions that represent the opportunity to find wider perspectives and new ways of seeing the world. The company has a growing team of collaborators throughout the world who are interested in the role of the arts in creating change. Procter mentors other transformational and creative businesses, as well as continuing a career as a singer, and spending time growing a balcony garden in Buenos Aires where she splits her time with Aberystwyth.
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Transfixing and hauntingly delicate Karakuri puppet, mechanical dolls and automata from Japan.
"The word 'Karakuri' means a mechanical device to tease, trick, or take a person by surprise. It implies hidden magic, or an element of mystery. In Japanese ‘Ningyo’ is written as two separate characters, meaning person and shape." (LAW 1997, p 18)
LAW, J. M., 1997. Puppets of Nostalgia. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Sited from http://karakuri.info 31.08.16
Your privacy is important to us, and we are committed to protecting your personal information. If you sign in we use your name and email to send you periodic emails, including email newsletters and occasional business announcements and updates. Your information will never be shared or sold to a 3rd party. If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails it is easy to do so.