Free improvisation is liveness taken to a radical extreme. Improvisation arises from an immediate and playful confrontation with the specific characteristics of a situation, whereby relationships between all the elements present the instruments, players, space, public, whatever acquire an intensity born precisely of an awareness that everything, at every moment, hangs in the balance. Successful improvisation evades its own dogma by challenging established norms and opening up to the social and aesthetic dynamics of fragility. What role do recording media play in this process, with their specific potential for analysis and (self-)observation? Given the (absolute) immediacy and unpredictability of improvisation, the non-reproducibility of a live note and hence, the implicit refusal to pin music down as a commodity, one might readily assume that to improvise is to make a political stance. Yet while devotion to social relations and candid communication was once a weapon of seditious music from the sidelines, its strategies and values today could also be read as key concepts in a reformed capitalism. Must improvised music and, in consequence, the critical potential of liveness be reassessed? To answer that question, our guest speakers will analyse the practice of improvisation and the contradictory conditions in which it takes place.
7 / 5 concessions