vs. Interpretation. Bit of a strange title for a really interesting conference on improvisation I’m currently attending in Prague. Very nice mixture of paper presentations, workshops, and concerts. Today (July 17) great lecture-performance by violinist Mary Oliver, actually a homage to Misha Mengelberg. Also a great concert by George Lewis (electronics, trombone), Pauline Oliveros (accordeon) and Joelle Leandre (double bass). At a certain moment the concert connected to a text I recently wrote for my forthcoming book on improv, complexity, and singularity. The text is about the relation between improv and play and one of the characteristics of play is, at least according to Johan Huizinga in his Home Ludens that it is disconnected from “real” life. However, in this venue where the temperature reached some 35 degrees celcius, Joelle suddenly added her voice to the music, singing the words “It is hot”. In that very moment she broke the disconnection between play and real life – IOW, real life entered the improvisation, if only through text.
Tomorrow a keynote by Pauline and performances by Jef Goldberg, Phil Niblock, and Iva Bittova (among others).