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Title: Oscillation and disturbance in the OpeRaArt
Author: Ben-David, Anat
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 3044
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores the relationship between sound, word and image as mediated by technology. It is situated within the discipline of ‘performance art’ or ‘live art’ – both terms that I have come to challenge in my work because they fail to encompass the contemporary developments within this expanding field. My research pays particular attention to the technological conditions that affect contemporary performative practice. It investigates these conditions with special regard to the interrelated themes of improvisation, composition and exhibition, proposing constellations between performer, instrument, text and stage. This written component of my practice-based Ph.D follows the exhibition Melech at the Stanley Picker Gallery in January 2014, which brought together the key elements of my research over the course of four years. These manifested themselves as a triple-­‐screen video projection, a 45-­‐minute live performance, a photographic installation and the vinyl LP Melech. The following text focuses on the central working method of my practice, which I call the ‘sonic image’. I define the sonic image as an effect created when sound and gesture are added to words. My key area of investigation is the ‘instant feedback’ that occurs when the voice mediates text using technology. As a vocal performer working within a visual art context, my concern is with the sound of the spoken/sung word during a performance. During the course of my research I have developed the term ‘OpeRaArt’ to describe work that results from the performance of lyrical text. OpeRaart resonates with the Italian word opus (meaning ‘work’), ‘the opera’ being the performance constructed around the libretto (the opera’s text). In order to demonstrate the dynamic interaction of visual, sonic and semantic elements that govern the performance of language, I chose to make the spelling of the word OpeRaArt changeable – by shifting the capital letters. This reflects one of my major research findings: that visual, sonic and semantic elements have shifting statuses in the vocal delivery of words during a performance. Sometimes the visual element shapes/overrides the sonic, and at other times the sonic shapes/overrides the visual. The semantic element, rather than preceding sonic and visual elements as the ‘guarantor’ of the work’s content, is seen as developing from them. By making links between random fragments of language and signs, my research has enabled me to see how meaning can be generated without assuming that the sonic and the visual elements are directly answerable to a semantic one. Rather, the content surfaces through a constant migration between all three elements. 1920s and 1950s avant-­‐garde devices have strong links to methods and principles developed in my work. Although I consider these methods within their various historical contexts, I am primarily interested in their relation to the three axes of performance that dominate my method: improvisation, composition and exhibition. This triangulated way of thinking about performance guides the structure of my thinking, the thesis being concerned with how the core of an effective artwork will always involve oscillation between these three axes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Art and design ; Communication ; cultural and media studies ; Music