Published June 1, 2020 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Taking Back Control: Taming the Feral Cello


Whilst there is a large body of NIME papers that concentrate on the presentation of new technologies there are fewer papers that have focused on a longitudinal understanding of NIMEs in practice. This paper embodies the more recent acknowledgement of the importance of practice-based methods of evaluation [1,2,3,4] concerning the use of NIMEs within performance and the recognition that it is only within the situation of practice that the context is available to actually interpret and evaluate the instrument [2]. Within this context this paper revisits the Feral Cello performance system that was first presented at NIME 2017 [5]. This paper explores what has been learned through the artistic practice of performing and workshopping in this context by drawing heavily on the experiences of the performer/composer who has become an integral part of this project and co-author of this paper. The original philosophical context is also revisited and reflections are made on the tensions between this position and the need to 'get something to work'. The authors feel the presentation of the semi-structured interview within the paper is the best method of staying truthful to Hayes understanding of musical improvisation as an enactive framework 'in its ability to demonstrate the importance of participatory, relational, emergent, and embodied musical activities and processes' [4].



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2220-4806 (ISSN)