Sunday, December 16, 2007

Composing Utopia with words

Articipatory Music and other weird things by Jessica Corey-Butler
Last weekend Articipatory Music happened at the Olympia Community Free School during “A giant party for a better world,” the Love, Imagine, Network, Kindness (LINK) Symposium, an extension of “A World Beyond Capitalism,” The Third Annual International Multiracial Alliance Building Peace Conference. An activist folk music collective called Riotfolk performed and a Secret CafĂ© fund raiser was held, benefiting a residential permaculture project. And eight people created compositions, but not made out of notes and played on flutes and guitars.


Articipatory Music was an idea originally born when it’s facilitator (and creator) Michael Gaiuranos attended a summer session with the School for Designing a Society, held on Patch Adam’s Gesundheit! Institute in West Virginia.

Initially, Gaiuranos thought he was going there to compose music with the experimental musicians associated with cybernetics.

The second time he attended the school, he recalls, “I knew I was aiming for something else.” He credits the school for “encouraging me to do weird things.”

As such, he feels his extrapolation of one exercise he had learned where participants composed responses, one inane and one an elaborate ideal, and then negotiated within larger groups.

“That was the really really really interesting part,” Gaiuranos remembers, adding, “How do you negotiate your Utopia?”

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