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Kerstin Perski 50 % seminar ”The stick of the blind one” – In search of the methods of enlivening.

Kerstin Perski’ s PhD project ”The poetics of enlivening” aims at exploring and applying methods which challenge the conventional limits of the professions involved in music drama and opera, in the creation of a new music dramatic piece with the working title ”Borderland”.
The aim is to create the conditions for a more ”enlivened” encounter between the performance and the viewer in a contemporary context, both with regard to content and form. Kerstin Perski is a PhD candidate in opera. Now it is time for her 50 % seminar with the title ”The stick of the blind one”- In search of the methods of enlivening.

More about the PhD project:

”The poetics of enlivening”-In search of the opera drama ”Borderland” and the transformation of the drama through text, vocal and instrumental acting.

”When you mention a tree, you don’t also have to show it”, says the composer and director Heiner Goebbels in his book ”The aesthetics of absence”. However, I argue, mentioning a tree, in the context of music drama, isn’t sufficient if one wants to enliven it and make it present here and now. Thus, one of the main questions for me as librettist and playwright becomes how to get a deeper understanding of how ”enlivening” occurs, what it consists of and how to find methods for enhancing it in my collaboration, both with the composer, but also with the singers and musicians involved in the process.

Early on in the project, my ambition was to search for methods which would allow for a process where I and the composer could work ”from within - and out” in the collaboration with the artists. One of our main strivings in the series of five workshops which make up the practical part of the project, and which I have carried out with the composer Catharina Backman , the singers Alexandra Buchel and Olle Persson and the musicians Anita Agnas, Johannes Bergion, Ola Denward Hedda Heiskanen and Lars Ljungberg, has therefore been to maintain an exploring attitude in relation to the growing content of the drama. A link between the workshops has been to see whether and how far we can keep the process open while working with more and more elaborate sketches and while the text- and music material is still being written and formed.

During the 50 % seminar, me and my collaborators will present some of the methods we have found useful, in a live session. In this way we want to highlight some of the questions and concepts which have emerged while we have confronted sketches of written and composed material with the skills and means of expression of our singers and musicians.

In his book ”Phenomenology of perception”, the french philosopher Merlau-Ponty describes how a blind man’s stick can be seen as a continuation of the body and an extension of the senses whereby the blind man acquires a world. In a similar way, we relate to the voices, instruments and sound objects as a prolongation of the senses, whereby our singers and musicians can make the content of the growing music drama into ”their own”.

Read more about Kerstin Perskis 50 % project before the seminar here: ”The stick of the blind one” – In search of the methods of enlivening.