A single inspiring practice that invites us to seek freedom by transmuting the language of art.
SoundPainting: improvisation as a sensory stimulus /
Created by the composer Walter Thompson (1952) in the mid-Seventies, SoundPainting became a popular practice which would soon establish its foundations. This improv discipline involves stage arts, music and fine arts, contained within the same dynamic session of improvisation, which is directed by the 1200 gestures that have been developed thus far.
SoundPainting is a language of gestures and signs that seek to compose and execute pieces in real time. The Sound Painter directs the actions of a multidisciplinary ensemble; he coordinates the space and temporal performance which takes place on stage. The ensemble can include a varying number of people, there is no specific age range and they do not necessarily have to be artists. If the session has to involve professional artists, they try to remove them from their traditional field of action, so that they execute a foreign discipline.
The gestural syntax is concerned with translating the Who, What, When and Why, and how the action must happen, organised into two basic categories that are distinguished as Sculpting Gestures and Function Signals. These in turn, are divided into six subcategories: identifiers, contents, modifiers, action gestures, modes and palettes. The Who must develop the action and is located under the Function Signals category (the group as a whole, just their voices, just trumpets, etc.). The action gestures define when someone must enter or exit the composition, and in some case, when they must enter or exit the content.
In the Sculpting Gestures category, we can find content gestures, which identify What type of material will be executed: pulses, lengths, silences, etc. The modifiers define how people must enter the composition, defining the intensity of the volume and the time. The modes are related to the content and determine the performance’s parameters like Scanning, Point to Point, and Launch Mode. Finally, the Palettes remit to previously composed or rehearsed material.
This artistic practice has been proven to develop creativity and to encourage harmonic relations within groups. It also helps to improve psychological therapies generated in schools, any person, no matter what their age, sex or nationality can participate and benefit from this experience. There are currently several composers that practice SoundPainting, and several festivals featuring this style are celebrated around the globe.
This movement has its roots in artistic practices from the past, following the footsteps of musicians like John Cage, or collectives like Fluxus and the Viennese Actionism. In this same manner it connects to gestural painting, performance and with the art of healing.
We highly recommend you seek out one of these ensembles near you, if it doesn’t exist yet, go ahead and form one. You will not regret it.
Tagged: health, mind, music, therapy, Soudpainting