Conference Paper: Remediation and Voice-Body Technologies in The Stage Works of Du Yun

Cork Institute of Technology

2:00 PM

A conference paper for the Society for Musicology in Ireland Annual Conference, 2018.

Boundaries of composition and performance are challenged by a new generation of composers-performers who propose a democratization of the creative process in favour of a bottom-up approach to practices deriving from different creative languages (i.e.: Jennifer Walshe, Du Yun, Ashley Fure.) In their output for the stage, their exploration of the embedded interface of the voice-body —in some case their own—with different media nurtures their militant conceptions of artistic production and spectatorship, and translates their poietic élan into modes of performance that elicit embodiment and audience’s participation as vital aspects of their composition.
By focussing on stage works deploying technologies and techniques mediated from other performing arts, my paper explores in particular the political implications of the interface between voice-body and the role of remediation in the music theatre output of composer Du Yun (1977). I will look in particular at Angel’s Bone (2011, 2015) and Zolle (2004-5), both addressing issues of societal value through surreal and allegorical stagings, which include video projections and elaborate sound design. Both works rely on performance practices not conventionally associated with opera and music theatre, while maintaining recognizable elements of classical writing and scene setting, all rationales underpinning Du Yun’s achievement of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2017.
Against the backdrop of a wider discussion of polystylism in contemporary music theatre production, I will base my observations on insights acquired through my direct encounter with Du Yun, and will concurrently probe into an analysis of the staging and performance of her works and their reflection on contemporary reception. Ultimately, I will examine the role of reception and media in the shaping of the language of this new generation of composers, examining the two-way thread characterizing their response to the production and performance of their work.

Venue Details

Cork Institute of Technology