Player Piano and Piano Films: processes of interdisciplinary practice across music, theatre and film

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This presentation focuses on aspects of a recent, large-scale multimedia performance piece, Player Piano, and its subsequent transformation into ‘piano films’. Player Piano was devised through a series of interdisciplinary collaborations between myself – the main performer and the architect of the project – and four composers, a theatre maker, and a film-maker. Versions of individual pieces from the performance were later developed specifically for film, working with another film-maker.

‘Player Piano’ was one output of a performance research project concerned with how the interactions of performers, composers, instruments, materials, and contexts produce embodied subjectivities in performance. The performance thematised these matters, self-consciously. Importantly, the performer-led nature of this project facilitated somewhat unusual collaborative processes with theatre-maker Teresa Brayshaw. The presentation discusses the approach to the musical body in the performing space that emerged, considering the relationship to and deviations from extant practices in new music and theatre.

The second part of the presentation examines the piano films, developed with Minyung Im. Here, the aim was not to use film to document live performance but rather to reconceive the pieces for the different medium; to take account of the
impact of (re)mediation on the questions of embodiment and agency at the heart of the research. ‘Filmic’ versions were developed, reflexively incorporating the constitutive role of the media and thereby resituating the focus on embodied performance in this different context. Examples of this are examined in relation to other recent approaches to matters of performativity, embodiment and video in dance and theatre.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Sept 2022

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