MANOLIS MANOUSAKIS   Composer / Sound Artist


Improvisation as a Production Methodology for Cross-Arts works

In the musical domain, improvisation is neither a style of music nor a body of musical techniques.
(George Lewis)
In this paper I aim to emphasize and expand on improvisation practices as a production technique and in production of cross-art fixed media works. Given that improvisation is used widely in performative fields, more commonly associated with modes of improvisation practice in music, sound art, dance, acting, performance, it is important to introduce it in fields which have not traditionally been associated with performative improvisation, like visual arts, studio arts, film or video. In many such fields, improvisation is becoming an increasingly valuable practice either through the development of new performative and improvised aspects of the art form, or by calling attention to aspects of production practices. However, improvisation is largely confined to individual art forms, focusing on specific modes, techniques, and languages within each given field. There is little study for exploring improvisation as a cross-disciplinary practice, despite the enormous potential for a multi-platform exploration of improvisation as a production practice.
Within this paper I aim to introduce and expand on the production practices and methodologies of the Medea Electronique Collective. Taking as a paradigm the works Fragments of the Unseen and Beyond Reasoning, I will analyze the importance of improvisation in the creation of fixed media cross-arts pieces. Although it might seem odd to theorize improvisation as a production methodology in a cross-arts fixed media installation art piece, contemporary arts could benefit from improvisational production methodologies in their attempt to find common ground across artistic fields. Furthermore it would be useful for better understanding important differences in outlook and approach, and maybe improve collaborative practice.