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Paulo de Assis


In a process that was particularly enhanced in the 20th century, the performance of musical ‘works’ became a complex articulation of different types of data, information and knowledge, retraceable in diverse material sources (including sketches, instruments, editions, recordings), in reflective discourses (in, on and about music), and in multifarious performance ‘styles’ (derived from, or originating in specific embodied understandings). The continuous accumulation and sedimentation of such kinds of knowledge represents an exponential growth of complexity that involves technical, artistic, aesthetic and epistemic components. As a consequence, musical ‘works’ seem no longer to have an indisputable ontological character (Goehr 1992), which is now seen as dependent on their epistemic complexity, contextualisation and use. The dismantling of musical 'works' into their graspable constitutive elements reveals them as complex accumulations of singularities, as multi-layered amalgamations of 'things' (Kubler 2008 [1962]; Brown 2001), disclosing open-ended possibilities for infinite new assemblages. More than aiming at simply (re)creating or (re)producing a 'work' through performance, what is at stake in this research project are processes that constitute musical 'things' as objects for thought through performative devices. Methodologically, the work will be organised in different but interrelated approaches: identifying and scrutinizing musical ‘things’ that define a given musical work; studying their epistemic complexity; extracting them out of their traditional Umwelt; inserting them within the confines of experimental systems, and, finally exposing them anew, in previously unheard reconfigurations of materials. Focusing on the actual doing, this project aims at providing concrete examples of real (in this case: sonic) results in the burgeoning field of Artistic Research.



Paulo de Assis is an artist-researcher (pianist, musicologist and composer) with transdisciplinary interests on Philosophy, French Post-Structuralism, and Epistemology. He is the Principal Investigator of the European Research Council funded project 'Experimentation vs. Interpretation: exploring New Paths in Music Performance in the Twenty-First Century' (2013-2017), hosted at the Orpheus Institute Ghent. 
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