Composer-Curator: Q&A with Ella Finer

Ella Finer's Longplayer Legacies series is one of the six projects selected as part of our Composer-Curator programme this year. The three events take place in London at the Lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, from 9-11 October: more information here.


What is your project about - in a nutshell?

The series will host three extraordinary composers - Laura Cannell, Vanessa (VV) Brown and Larry Achiampong - re-mixing, re-composing, re-interpreting Longplayer’s (longplayer.org) score and music over three consecutive nights in October 2018. Inspired (as a trustee, a daughter, a custodian) by Longplayer’s ethos of caring for the long term alongside her own work as a composer-curator interested in re-mix, cross-temporal splicing and the politics of doing so, my starting point for these sessions is to ask how sound legacies are produced and who creates them? Further who ensures their "preservation" and how? Who knows where to look for these legacies--who feels entitled to creatively and critically attend to these materials?

Who are you hoping to reach with this work?

Audiences who might never have previously heard of Longplayer before, or visited its main listening post at the Lighthouse in Trinity Buoy Wharf. I am hoping to reach people who want to share in an ongoing network of collective listening and responding to the music provocations of each event: to collaborate in making provisions for Longplayer to exist beyond our time, while considering how the invited artists address similar concerns within their own practices.

 

From your perspective, do you have a sense of how each of the artists has responded to the theme of sound legacies?

Meeting with Larry, Laura and Vanessa at the Lighthouse at different points over the past few months has given us the chance to talk through what such a theme, brief, call to response as "Sound Legacies" is for each of them. At the beginning of the project my proposal to each was to consider how sound remains and through whose composition of it, whose speaking of it, whose interest in it? Talking as a group, at the lighthouse, listening to Longplayer, I have got the sense that the artists, although performing separately feel part of a collective project, a shared undertaking to feed-back their own subjectivity and subject matter into the fabric of Longplayer, into a tangible project invested in long term thinking and making. We have talked about passing on ideas and values through sound, passing on methods for the long term, about sound-making for future generations, to inspire in the present and last in a way not yet known to us and perhaps never known. We have talked about how we attend to sonic materials of our ownchildhood, upbringing, our cultural heritage and background, and Longplayer as an invitation to imagine the future: a provocation to conserve with care by keeping these sonic materials in motion - offering chances to listen again, but differently.

What are you most excited about?

About meeting the people who come to the events and share in this project with us; about the opportunity to dedicatedly talk about the composition and ownership of sonic materials, about access to sound artworks for the long term in the short term, about the importance of people passing sound on. Diversifying the sounds that play with and through Longplayer, with Achiampong, Cannell and Brown's interventions, will I hope bring new audiences to the continuous stream of Longplayer for the long term, a long term that needs people “passing on” as much as, if not more than, any technology playing the music out.

Composer-Curator is supported by:

PRSF

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