The arts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have pushed us relentlessly to question inherited notions of the self, expression and communication: to ask ourselves, again and again, who we think we are and how we can speak meaningfully to one another. Increasing globalisation and the development of recording and photographic technologies, running alongside psychoanalytical understandings of selfhood and the impact of scientific principles of uncertainty, are often theorized as having prompted a crisis of identity, representation and authenticity. At the same time, the throwaway playfulness of pop culture and digital manipulation offer endless possibilities for self-reinvention. It is perhaps harder than ever to know who 'I' am, but 'I' am ever more self-aware. The fluid, dynamic, embodied and contingent qualities of subjectivity are experienced on an everyday basis.
During the first half of October Orpheus Institute welcomed its first South African visiting researcher: Mareli Stolp. Mareli is not only an excellent piano performer, specialized in contemporary classical music, she is also an inspired advocate of Artistic Research practices in her native country. Orpheus Research Fellow Luk Vaes engaged with her in a stimulating chat, and as a result of this encounter, Mareli accepted Luk's request to write a guestentry on his Artistic Research Reports-blog.
Following on meetings with members of Orpheus Research Centre - at the 2013 PERFORMA Conference on Performance Studies in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and the Limits of Control: Tradition, Experiment and the Imagination in Musical Performance seminar hosted by the Orpheus Institute in 2014 - South African pianist Mareli Stolp was thrilled to accept an invitation to take up a position as Visiting Researcher at the Orpheus Institute in October 2015. While a Visiting Researcher at the Orpheus Institute, she will focus on finding resonances between her own work on subjectivity and consciousness in artistic research contexts, performer-perspectives applied to music analysis; site-specific performance approaches; and experimentalism in music performance and three of the currently active Research Clusters at Orpheus: Performance, Subjectivity, Experimentation (Principal Investigator Catherine Laws); MusicExperiment21(Principal Investigator Paolo de Assis); and Experimental Legacy (Principal Investigator Luk Vaes).