The Interplay of Various Forms of Artistic Knowing

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 14 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Tasos ZEMBYLAS, Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts, Austria
The Interplay of Various Forms of Artistic Knowing

In my presentation I will elucidate the interplay of several forms of knowing in composing process in art music. As a general term, “knowing” includes tacit, embodied practical abilities. My aim is to move from the description of artistic practices to a deeper understanding of artistic agency.

The empirical material (interviews, working diaries, sketches, and videography) originates from a research project called “Tacit Knowing in Musical Composition Process”. Using qualitative methods we accomplished five case studies to document composition processes from the beginning of the work up until the last rehearsal.

Composers in art music use in the creative process cognitive and material tools to form, try out and elaborate ideas that finally have to be written down in an appropriate way. Cognitive and material tools are used on the basis of practical experiences, situative sensual perceptions, embodied emotions and intuitive valuations, which are usually expressed in words like “I feel it fits”. The configuration of all these aspects is efficacious and generative, i.e. it initiates and sustains artistic creative processes. Theoretical musical knowledge, beliefs including aesthetic ideas, knowledge of notational systems become actionable knowledge, because in the case of composing all these kinds of explicit knowledge are established in specific artistic paradigms (Nathalie Heinich) that shape the actual role of explicit knowledge. Furthermore, the vast sensory and practical experience of composers sustains an intelligent embodied mind that becomes manifest in skills and tacit understandings. Finally all the various forms of knowledge and knowing are bounded in a teleo-affective practice (Theodore Schatzki) that is related to the object of composer’s efforts: the final artwork. My analysis of creative process combines an ethnographic approach with a conception of practical knowing based on the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Dewey and Michal Polanyi.