Rather than common-sensical, it seems to me that considering improvisation as identical with contingency is actually counter-intuitive for many of the dominant deployments of that term. If improvisation is contingency itself, then it’s also nothing else per-se; in order to remain consistent as an idea, improvisation can’t be both contingent and necessarily any other quality,… Read more IMPROVISATION TAXONOMY
I just found out that “improvise, adapt, overcome” is something of an unofficial motto for the United States Marine Corps. It is also, therefore, a meme. I want to stay focused on the original slogan here, which is still used by the Corps itself, for example here. There are three characteristics of the slogan that… Read more IMPROVISATION REPOSITORY | THE MARINE CORPS
I’ve been thinking about my “method” lately and realizing how easy it might be to mistake my focus on contingency as a new materialist impulse. Although I focus on the interdependent relationships between “subjects, objects, and environments” in an improvisatory scene, I do not wish to trod down the new materialist path, which aligns itself… Read more ON METHOD: NO MATERIALISMS
Anyone who is familiar with my arguments about improvisation will know that I consider improvisation itself to be politically neutral, and radically so. The reason for this is that improvisation, for me, is defined by one characteristic only, which is contingency: in that sense, any political valence that improvisation generates or raises is dependent on… Read more IS (MUSICAL) IMPROVISATION POLITICAL?
Whenever I have the opportunity to present the elevator pitch of my book (very rarely!), I tend to focus on its most polemical thesis: namely: that comparing improvisation between music and everyday life reveals its utter consistency and ubiquity as a concept, that musical improvisation is structurally identical to quotidian improvisation because at the exclusion… Read more MUSICAL IMPROVISATION AS ORIENTATION
I’m copying a twitter thread that I posted yesterday, minus the inevitable typo that appeared there. It is useful, for sure, to try to distill an entire argument into short format like this. But it clearly comes at the expense of any nuance. I’m saving the nuance for the book. In the meantime, here is… Read more 10 ABBREVIATED THESES ON THE POLITICAL VALENCE OF IMPROVISATION
On a given day, our experience of the world feels stable, even if it isn’t. On the other hand, at least for those in the States, where public policy appears designed to keep COVID around longer than is necessary, one characteristic of the past four months has been an increased attention to the “uncertainty” of… Read more ALL TIMES ARE UNCERTAIN
The subject of this critical essay (Iyer 2019) is the field of music theory writ-large, and critical improvisation studies more particularly. In it, Iyer argues that in part because of improvisation’s utter ubiquity, it is impossible to locate it without doing so through our own subjective viewpoints. That is “We do not ‘perceive’ improvisation but… Read more IYER’S “BENEATH IMPROVISATION”
I intend for this blog to be a kind of improvisation repository, where, in addition to certain ancillary topics from my book project, I can also compile examples of improvisation discourse from the larger cultural context (outside of the obvious examples in the arts). On that note, a formal invitation: if you spot improvisation anywhere… Read more IMPROVISATION REPOSITORY | IMPROVISATION IN ADVERTISING
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