The New Discipline : a compositional manifesto by Jennifer Walshe
As part of our 2016 programme, artists such as Object Collection, Natacha Diels and Jessie Marino are presenting works that involve a new use of the body in contemporary composition. We asked Irish composer and artist Jennifer Walshe, whose own works embrace this composed physicality, to write a text reflecting on this way of writing music for our programme book, and what she came back with is a manifesto for a new school of composition, that she calls The New Discipline.
In her text she situates these disparate works as the product of a post-MTV, post-internet generation of composition, but also as one that isn’t entirely dismissive of its deeper roots,
“The New Discipline thrives on the inheritance of Dada, Fluxus, Situationism etc but doesn’t allow itself to be written off merely as Dada, Fluxus, Situationism etc. It’s a music being written when Dada, Fluxus, Situationism etc have aged well and are universally respected. It takes these styles for granted, both lovingly and cheekily, in the same way it takes harmony and the electric guitar for granted. As starting points. As places to begin working.”
This is not a purely theoretical manifesto, but one borne from composers getting their hands dirty, as this new music doesn´t come with the same kind of resources as the dance, theatre, film worlds it draws on. At Borealis this year there will be lots of composers who are also performing their own work,
“And always, always, working against the clock, because the disciplines which are drawn from have the luxury of development and rehearsal periods far longer than those commonly found in new music. Then again, the New Discipline relishes the absence of that luxury, of the opportunity to move fast and break things. In this way, it is a practice more than anything else. And the concomitant: the New Discipline is located in the fact of composers being interested and willing to perform, to get their hands dirty, to do it themselves, do it immediately.”
Experience works which invoke the extra-musical at Borealis 2016.|