Research project

”Unlearning performance – fragments and doubts” by Anna Lindal

Researcher: Anna Lindal

”Unlearning performance – fragments and doubts” is a research project by Anna Lindal.

In the research project ”Unlearning performance – fragments and doubts” professor Anna Lindal and director Karl Dunér investigates how a critical artistic practice can be developed based on ”unlearning” and how this can challenge the field of tension between conventions and questioning – within the field of classical music as well as institutional theatre. The research project will, amongst other things, result in concerts, events, seminars and a short essay.

Goal & purpose

Anna Lindal and Karl Dunér collaborates in the research project ”Unlearning performance – fragments and doubts”, where they investigate the affined relational fields of tradition and contemporary, conventions and questioning, skills and unlearning, wholeness and deconstruction, security and doubts. The purpose is to examine the relationship between the contemporary and tradition, how the institutions of the classical music have become museums and the contemporary music – and in some circumstances contemporary drama as well – has been relegated to the margins. How can an artistic practice become a critical tool to illuminate this?

The project is aiming to form a ”critical practice”, a practice that through its inherent specific expression – based on unlearning, deconstruction, fragmenting and improvisation – questions and challenges tradition and interpretational canon in classical music as well as in institutional theatre.

Research questions

1)   How can we develop an artistic critical practice within music and theatre performance, reading and interpretation, and what are the components of such a practice?
2)   What consequences will the development of a critical practice through unlearning have when the music/text reaches the concert halls or theatres, respectively? Which new situations will arise in the ”contract” between performer and audience?

This is how the research will be carried out

One of the iconic works of music history, Chaconne from Partita no 2 in d minor for solo violin by J.S. Bach, will be subjected to deconstruction, fragmenting and improvisation. The technical and interpretatory difficulties that the work offers are timeless and challenging in themselves, therefore the Chaconne is used as a background and point of departure for compositional and improvisational experiments and experiments with form. Karl Dunér and Anna Lindal will analyse and develop the experiments through mutual dialogue and compare music and text as a starting point for deconstruction and improvisation. The venues of the performances will also be subject to examination – how does an unlearning-process affect the performative result in performance- and concert situations? Can we create new kinds of situations?


The project will run for two years and an interim seminar will be held November 16, 2016. The final seminar will be held in the spring of 2017.

Final Presentation

The project will be presented in a final seminar, with guests, that will be documented. The project will also have a final presentation in the form of recordings and a short essay.

During the project Anna Lindal, in collaboration with Karl Dunér, will continuously perform deconstructions from the work in different contexts. These concerts or events will be documented and recorded.