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Das Arbeitende Konzert/ The Working Concert Revision I
About Revision I
In the summer of 2014 Christopher Dell was invited by the Goethe Institute Brussels to participate in the We-Traders. Swapping Crisis for City exhibition, taking place at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin. The exhibition was part of a larger project initiated in 2013 by the Goethe-Institut which connected artists, designers and activists from Lisbon, Madrid, Toulouse, Turin, Berlin and Brussels. The main aim of this project was to investigate democratic processes in European society as it is currently under pressure and in a situation of crisis.
Central to the exhibition was its scheme. It was conceived by curator Angelika Fitz, who calls the scheme “the working exhibition”. By this she means that everything that occurs within the framework of an exhibition is part of it. An exhibition is a chain of events that “collaborates.” The work of curating then consists of interconnecting and framing these events. Reflecting this scheme, the title of Christopher Dell’s composition is “The Working Concert”. For “The Working Concert” Dell assumes that such curatorial processes as mentioned above can also be applied to music. For example the framing of “The Working Concert” in event series content provides a setting that invites the musicians to become co-producers and co-authors within various parameters. Within these, various tropes of music – rehearsing, practicing, performing, negotiating, repeating, etc. – interact with socio-material aspects of the event of the performance itself – exhibition, studio, stage, forum, objects, etc. Everything that happens within the time and place staked out is an installation of the exhibition and/or the concert.
Conceptually, Dell believes that the motive of transferring Fitz’s scheme to music must be contextualized historically. Recently many event-based works of the visual arts from the 1960s have received renewed attention. Being read as “notations” or “diagrammatics” by art historians and critics, the non-representational aspects of the works has come to the forefront. For Dell it is particularly interesting that the artists who created these works often made use of the model of music and in particular of the musical score. The Working Concert now aims to transpose such notational and/or diagrammatic practices back to music in the exhibition context. The connection to the We-Traders theme thus makes experimentation with the score and conducting plausible as an investigation on the form of democratic processes.
In consequence the The Working Concert is a series of experimental works, called “revisions”. The series is method and process oriented. It explores new modes of composition and formats of the concert as an ongoing project of different practises, representations and orders.