Internet-based collaboration may sound contemporary, but it is established. One artist at the forefront of this movement was pioneering composer and accordionist Pauline Oliveros, who began working with the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s. She saw technology as something that could open the door to new ways of making music, and something that could expand musical partnerships across borders. I wrote in a 2009 article in Leonardo Music Journal #19. “Making music together makes friends.”
Current projects highlight the current origins and achievements of Oliveros’ virtual collaboration and the ways in which the composer has connected art and technology and forged relationships online. with Half-pigeon in New York, half-pigeon in Buenos Aires (Smalltown Supersound), an archival version of a 1999 improvisation between Argentine experimental band Reynolds, Oliveros and others, the sound and process of early remote music making—music made online, simultaneously, in various locations—comes to life. Other programs such as the Deep Listening Center A year of deep listening Bring Oliveros’ text degrees into a virtual, global, and interdisciplinary field. Projects like this highlight Oliveros’ early interests in technology and how they continue to appear today.
Oliveros, who would have turned 90 this year, is best known for codifying the term “deep listening,” a practice that encourages actively listening to our surroundings. Oliveros once said, “Listening is to direct attention to what is heard, to gather meaning, to interpret, and to make a decision about an action.” Deep listening can be practiced through a variety of methods: audio meditations, for example, are often generated from simple text scores that ask participants to interact with the sounds around them; All deep listening pathways encourage creativity and interaction with self and others.
Technology was one of the tools Oliveros used to foster collaboration and experiment with new ways of making art. She was an early adopter of the virtual world, often using it to encourage artists from many different places to perform together. In which Leonardo Music Magazine In her article, she notes that her first online collaboration came in 1991, when she worked with artists from six cities across the United States, using a video phone bridge. These early technologies came with a great deal of latency and delay, but instead of seeing glitches as hindrances, they became part of the experience and gave the music color.
While Oliveros began working on remote music before 1999 with artists across the United States, Half-pigeon in New York, half-pigeon in Buenos Aires It marks her first international collaboration. To make the double-sided album, Reynolds, Oliveros, tromboneer Monique Buzarti, and artist Kevin McCoy improvised together online—Reynolds greeted from Buenos Aires, while the others set off from New York. This technology showed artists that they could play music together while living in different countries, and opened the doors for later performances, such as the 2009 live concert by Alan Curtis of Reynolds and Oliveros during her lifetime and business partner’s 14th annual Dream Festival.
The album was born out of a long musical partnership and friendship between Oliveros and Reynols. They first met on Oliveros’ trip to Argentina in 1994. On this trip, Oliveros heard the group improvise on brass instruments they had never played before, and became fascinated by their creativity. “It was clear that they understood and negotiated the element of risk in the kind of improvisation I appreciate,” she wrote in a short August 1999 essay accompanying the album. Although the two were far apart – Oliveros in Kingston and New York and Reynolds in Buenos Aires – the artists still found ways to communicate, often by faxing each other. About their ongoing relationship and long-distance collaboration, Cortes and fellow Reynolds member Roberto Conlazo said: “We felt that Pauline was very close to us despite the distance. And to this day, even though she is no longer physically present on this planet, we feel that Pauline’s spirit still resonates. In our hearts “.
Their common experiential motive will continue to connect them and serve as a mainline for many of their projects. works like Half-pigeon in New York, half-pigeon in Buenos Aires I still feel the future when listening to them today. Much of the album’s movement is preserved, suspended in eerie stillness as siren-like sounds ring around each instrument. Accordion clippings fall into a bed of high-pitched whistles, and a deep hum reverberates beneath. Curtis and Conlazo state that her recording experience was “a bit chaotic” due to the quality of the 1999 broadcast, but that it was “a very inspiring experience”. Her voice certainly reflects the early internet; A little grainy, a little exotic. But decades later, at a time when the internet has become such an integral part of our lives, it still evokes a sense of another world.
At the Center for Deep Listening, an Oliveros-founded institute based at Rensselaer Polytechnic in Troy, New York, a year-round virtual celebration marks Oliveros’ 90th anniversary. A year of deep listening It offers daily text results contributed by, and accessible by, artists from around the world, in a variety of disciplines. All degrees take different forms: Ione’s memory now The project opened with a contemplation of time, memory and the present, while scores like Stephen Chase ear purification Participants are asked to improvise with the sound of label tubes.
The project came to celebrate Oliveros’ work and to unite people interested in practicing deep listening. It’s for everyone, from people who have been involved in Oliveros’ work for years to those just discovering it, professional and amateur artists alike. Stephanie Lovelace, director of the Center for Deep Listening, describes it as “a way to build community.” The scores were selected by a panel of judges and sorted through open calls using tools such as social media.
For Loveless, inviting people to contribute scripts in celebration of Oliveros’ life and work was a way to involve polyphony in a key process of Oliveros’ teachings. Sonic Meditation has always been at the heart of their deep listening practice and experience.
The ways I teach deep listening — and my own artwork — are centered on truly accessible degrees that are almost like pedagogical tools, or entry points, for both musicians and non-musicians to deepen their own listening experience, and their connection to the world around them.
With these results available online at Deep Listening Center websiteAnyone can access it and start exploring their own relationship with listening.
Other deep listening projects have also taken a virtual approach recently. In April 2020, Zoom showcased a weekly performance from Oliveros set meditationLed by Eoni, flutist Claire Chase and Raquel Acevedo Klein, it reached thousands of people on all seven continents. The piece instructs participants to make a variety of sounds and sounds based on directions and what they hear around them. Along the same lines, Lawrence Conservatory University – a campus affiliated with the Center for Deep Listening – and Fifth House Ensemble have teamed up to offer weekly Deep Listening episodes on Facebook Live throughout 2020 and 2021 to strengthen the community.
Zoom’s reflections continue today through shows like Michael Riley’s weekly Sound Sangha, which he began hosting to connect with his community after moving to Europe. For Riley, a member of the Deep Listening Center community, hosting Zoom meditations allows him to see differences in the audio landscape between a variety of locations. Everyone calls from their home, from Philadelphia to the Arizona desert. “We contemplate the sound of our environments,” he said. “People have different seasons, urban environments, rural environments, and we have to imagine these different acoustic worlds together.”
Although these projects provide many access points to Oliveros’ earlier work and legacy, they are all constrained by a similar desire to unite a global community through music and principles of deep listening. We didn’t know in the ’90s how the technology would evolve, but Oliveros had a vision. “I am interested in helping to develop the Internet as an international place where diverse collaborators can do business with one another,” she wrote in 1999. And this dream has continued to grow.