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On Improvisation – Conversation between David Toop, Mat Gregory and Robin McGinley

31st January 2019 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

| Free
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David Toop at Konstfack Research Week 2019

Thursday 31 January | 10:00am – 16:00pm

Konstfack, University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm | Directions

As part of Konstfack Research Week 2019 (28 January – 1 February), CRiSAP’s David Toop will take part in a conversation On Improvisation, and run a workshop as part of the programme’s Node on Listening: Imagining, Encountering and Inventing the Aural.

Listening: Imagining, Encountering and Inventing the Aural (Node II)

The node is an investigation into contemporary philosophies of sound. Through critical encounters with sound, music, improvisation and sonic composition, it reflects upon what Brandon LaBelle describes as sound art’s “activation of the existing relation between sound and space”. Here, sound is positioned as a discrete phenomenon disconnected from its role in describing or enhancing the visual world, and the act of listening is considered as a potentially creative, aesthetic and intersubjective activity. Locating sound art as a broad field of practice rooted, for example, in the histories and fields of music, philosophy, visual art and performance, this node seeks to reflect upon theories and experiences of what Salomé Voegelin describes as “the world sound creates [...] a global listening position, or rather global listening positionings, that will consequently give us new understandings of aesthetics and art but crucially also of politics, economics, subjectivity and sociality”. With this in mind, the node will be divided into three parts: Sonic World View; Sound Space and Site; and Improvising, Experiencing and Constructing Sound. Sessions include a combination of lectures and workshops that involve an active, creative and critical engagement with sound.


On Improvisation – Conversation between David Toop, Mat Gregory and Robin McGinley

10.00am —11.30am | Location: Svarta havet

David Toop’s most recent book, Into the Maelstrom (2016), examined improvisatory practices within a philosophical, historical and interdisciplinary context. This conversation will seek to discuss the philosophy and practice of improvisation within the historical context of concepts such as automatism and indeterminacy, as well as musical developments in the mid-twentieth century such as free jazz and free improvisation.

It will also consider improvisation within the context of contemporary practice, questioning, as Toop writes: “How to be, where to be, in a space, with sound, with other bodies? What does it mean to hear? [...] What does it mean to be present, in relation to others (close proximity), to see, to perceive the temperature and extent of a space, to feel surfaces (floor, chairs, the pressure of sound) in relation to the body?”

Mat Gregory is an artist, academic and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at Konstfack. His research focuses upon interactions between sound, music and contemporary art, particularly within the context of social, cultural and historical discourses centred upon critical and conceptual musicality.

Robin McGinley is a British musician, curator of sound and new media, freelance events producer and arts educator currently based in Stockholm. He is Chair of Programme and Course Leader for the International MA in Curating Art at Stockholm University, and is a lecturer and researcher in Sound at Konstfack. He holds a PhD from the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University, UK, and is Co-director of Interactive Agents, the independent production company and R&D think tank.


Workshop with David Toop

13:00pm—16:00pm | Location: Studion (requires pre-registration)

Building upon the ideas discussed during the morning’s lecture and discussion, David Toop will lead an improvisatory workshop throughout the afternoon session. Participants are asked to bring a piece of musical or, preferably, electronic equipment to perform with during the improvisation workshop



Link to full programme information (p.35/36)

For more information please see Konstfack University website

Link to Facebook event


31st January 2019
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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Konstfack Research Week


Konstfack, University of Arts, Crafts and Design
Lm Ericssons väg 14
Stockholm, 126 27 Sweden
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