Genetic Choir is a practice of music creation from self-organising principles. It employs human beings (singers) as the agents of instant composition, drawing on principles such as swarm intelligence and emergent behaviour. For the singers, it is an improvisation practice that explores a basic human dilemma: how to be autonomous as well as connected, how to follow your individual, creative intuition but also build meaningful working relationships in the moment, with others? Thirdly, it is a music making method that provides tools for any group of people without a shared musical background to find position and clarity of relationship in a musical space together, without the necessity of agreeing beforehand what 'music' exactly is. In over 12 years of exploring this, the Genetic Choir has developed ways of working that attempt to keep human intuition and our fast choice-making abilities active when composing together, while shedding slow choice-making processes related to taste and assumed social rules. Thomas Johannsen, founder and artistic leader of the Genetic Choir, will give an inside look into their practices and share insights related to self-organisation and emergence when applied to music making without a script, score or conductor.
About the speaker
Thomas Johannsen (*1974) is a maker, performer and teacher in the field of interdisciplinary improvisation, with a special focus on the human voice. He is the artistic director of Amsterdam based vocal improvisation ensemble The Genetic Choir. The Genetic Choir has become the permanent research framework and group of performers with whom Thomas develops and presents his artistic ideas about dynamic open systems, authorship, swarm intelligence, chaos and self-organization. His projects often connect socially relevant issues to artistic work forms and are situated at the interface between music, the performing arts and philosophy.Next to making work, teaching and leading projects for the last 15 years in Genetic Choir context in the Netherlands, he has brought this unique blend of embodied voice improvisation and composing to countries such as France, Italy, Czech Republic, England, Germany, the United States and Japan. He is co-founder of WhatIIIF? – an international, nomadic improvisation research festival, with yearly editions in various European cities since 2017. (See https://instantcomposition.com ) Thomas is also a certified aikido teacher and holds a 3rd Dan of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Japan. The more than 20 years of experience as an aikido practitioner have influenced strongly his teaching methods for finding strong embodiment and the ability to have subtle and razor-sharp (musical) connections with other improvisers while creating together.
The CLEA seminars are taking place simultaneously at the VUB campus and online (via Zoom) and are open to everyone interested!
When. Friday September 29, 2023 from 15:00 until 17:00 h
Where. VUB campus Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Elsene. Building I, room I.1.01
Online. You can follow the seminar online via Zoom. You may need a Meeting ID and passcode to enter.
Meeting ID: 827 5779 8426
Mailing list. If you want to be notified of our next seminars, you can register here to join the CLEA mailinglist.