PhD Thesis: Alors On Danse!

Think-Do-Living the Embodied Musicking Subject

This portfolio of compositions and commentary takes as its subject the musicking body and the entanglement of embodiment and composition. The five practical projects are all centred on a constellation of concerns about the musicking body which the thesis develops. The first chapter is a phenomenology of my creative practice, starting with my body sitting on a chair, at my desk. From this stationary position I draw out a series of continuities, discontinuities, and resonances, showing my composing body to be always entangled with all the material conditions of my practice. The second chapter, through a discussion of embodied perception, proposes that this body is a doubling of intense unification and indeterminacy. I begin with John Cage’s advocacy of ‘sound without purpose’ — sound that does not serve a predetermined outcome — and suggest that this implies that the musicking body is indeterminate and also syncretic. Synaesthesia and psychosis serve not only as ways of to approach this ‘sound without purpose’ but also as descriptors and inspirations for my practice. The third chapter situates the previous two in social contexts, particularly regarding gender — drawing heavily on the work of Hélène Cixous — and the limitations and opportunities presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. This thesis concludes by acknowledging the limitation of my research-practice, particularly regarding race, and by suggesting some new avenues and considerations for this research-practice to take in the future.

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