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Abstract

saha araştırması (fieldwork) is an attempt to make sense of composition in an academic context and “composing a dissertation.” As such, the music is accompanied by its exegesis, almost as a verbal countermelody to the sounds unfolding. Inspired by Richard Serra’s Verb List, in which the artist reduces artistic activity to a list of physical actions (“to roll,” “to crease,” “to fold,” etc.), the musical discourse contemplates instrumental performance through similar tasks such as pulling, pushing, and blowing. Through such an emphasis on sound-producing actions, saha araştırması (fieldwork) seeks to reconfigure musical composition as a site where we encounter laboring bodies, whose agency has been––to a large extent––overlooked in the tradition of Western concert music. The conceptual framework of the piece comes from my interest in recent theatrical practices that underscore the liveness of performance over the reenactment of a prescriptive text, emphasizing the performative over the representational. In saha araştırması (fieldwork), this performative quality is mainly articulated by reframing the relationship of the performers to their instruments in a way that amplifies the physical aspect of sound production, with a score that varies its prescriptive qualities to investigate different conditions for coordinated performance. The piece juxtaposes the labor on stage against construction recordings from Istanbul, examining the potential of one to tell us something about the other. In fieldwork, my aim is to conceptualize the musical composition as a site where not only the sounds, but also the labor producing them, are audible.

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