Zoomusic (2021 - )
CALL FOR ZOOMUSIC
We are putting out a call for zoomusic
piece to be performed at a concert with Tokyo Gen'on Ensemble in December 2022.
Teaching experimental music at a university as something established, safe, and historical, always seemed to me to defeat the very purpose of experimental music. So when I was asked to do so, my immediate reaction was to say no. But then, COVID-19 took over, and like everybody else, I was forced to teach online via a new video conference program called ZOOM. As I watched more traditionally-trained composers and performers who worked at the same department of music complain about the near-impossibility of teaching music in a virtual setting, it dawned on me that this could actually be an opportunity to teach experimental music in an experimental manner.
Obviously, concerts and performances using online communication systems like ZOOM have been around for a long time, and are only getting more and more popular throughout the pandemic. But while many of these end up being attempts to recreate or simulate the kind of music that was already possible offline, such transformation of the primary media for staging music could be used to reflect upon the entire process of writing, performing, and experiencing music, and to create a different kind of music in a different kind of way. To do so, one needs to regard ZOOM, not as a transparent medium, but as an instrument with particular affordances and biases which enable some things and not others.
Indeed, ZOOM turns out to be a wonderful pedagogical tool for experimental music because of the sheer degree of indeterminacy involved, starting from the fact that one cannot control the device or the environment or the particular view with which each audience experiences the event, which forces even the most conservative musicians to come out of their well-established reliable boxes and delve into experimentation. And the history of questioning and subverting the specific means and conditions of making music, otherwise known as experimental music, might be a very useful source of reference for this task.
So I started giving workshops and engaging in collaborative projects to make music that can only be made and performed and experienced over ZOOM. Aside from teaching a course at the University of Tokyo for first and second year students, I am doing a virtual residency at the University of Virginia, as well as curating a concert for the ensemble Tokyo Genon, all focused on conceiving and staging new forms of zoomusic.