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Improv Notes: July 2015
International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation logo.
Improv Notes is a monthly newsletter distributed by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.
This Week: Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium
Among the People: Arts, Improvisation, and Well-Being

September 16-18
Downtown Guelph
- Musagetes
- Silence
- Heritage Hall

Highlights include: 

Wednesday September 16
  • Panel Showcase: Regina Improvisation Studies Centre: Improvisation, Community, Indigeneity
  • Workshop: Communicating and Connecting through Dance with Georgia Simms
  • Workshop: Battle Trance
Thursday September 17
  • Keynote Presentation: Douglas Ewart, interviewed by Ajay Heble
  • Workshop: Tony Wilson and a Day's Life Band
Friday September 18
  • Workshop: Morning Music
  • Keynote Presentation: Evan Parker, interviewed by Kevin McNeilly
  • Keynote Presentation: Matana Roberts
Check out the full schedule online!
Guelph Jazz Festival
September 16-20

The 2015 Guelph Jazz Festival features an amazing line-up! New this year, Market Square runs Friday night in addition to Saturday. For the full line-up, information on tickets, or to volunteer, please visit
Silence, 46 Essex Street

This year’s Guelph Jazz Festival is bookended by Silence’s weekly morning music improvisation, every Monday morning at 9:30. Silence also has its own series of festival-related programming, available online on their events calendar.
This Week: Performing Turtle Island 

University of Regina
September 18 & 19, 2015

Regina Improvisation Studies Centre proudly presents a stream of academic and artistic explorations investigating improvisation during the Performing Turtle Island Conference. Check out the full schedule, online!
Improv in Newfoundland

Christine Duncan conducts a vocal workshop September 15-17 in St. John’s.

Chris Tonelli’s Improvising Spaces series continues to bring participatory improvisation to St. John’s. Early in September, English composer Trevor Wishart came to town to work with local performers. Later in the month, Toronto-based vocalist Christine Duncan presents vocal workshops Sep. 15 and 16, culminating in a performance by the St. John’s Vocal Exploration Choir at The Ship Pub on Thursday, Sep. 17. On Sep. 18, Duncan and percussionist Jean Martin perform as the duo Barnyard Drama at the Arts and Culture Centre. These events are sponsored by MMaP Research Centre, Sound Symposium, and IICSI.
Quote of the Month

Mohawk First Nations artist Robert Markle (1936-1990), born in Hamilton, ON, moved to Toronto to study art. He became a well-known abstract expressionist painter and, playing tenor saxophone and piano, a member of the Artists' Jazz Band. Markle also wrote sensitive and evocative prose. J.A. Wainwright's biography Blazing Figures: A Life of Robert Markle, includes this passage where Markle describes the influence of jazz on his art:

And through it all, American music. How it shaped me. Miles Davis, Bud Powell, jazz at the Phil[harmonic]. Dizzy Gillespie ('dis band should disband...'), Thelonious Monk, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, the beaming, driving rhythms of Max Roach. And the tough, searching sounds of Coltrane, long, long lines. Through it all. Music wrapped around those glistening dancers: blurring bodies. Hard bop, a saxophone in tears, my baby is about to leave.... Driving gangs of bands, the music burned into my new life: music rushing into a new view of space, the wake of figures. My mark.

International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation LogoThe International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation
(IICSI) is a partnered research institute building from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) project, “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” (ICASP).

The Institute’s research team is comprised of 58 scholars from 20 different institutions. IICSI's partners include six academic institutions (University of Guelph; McGill University; Memorial University of Newfoundland; University of British Columbia; University of Regina; University of California, Santa Barbara), a foundation partner (Musagetes), and over 30 community-based organizations. The Institute's mandate is to create positive social change through the confluence of improvisational arts, innovative scholarship, and collaborative action.
Announcing Douglas Ewart, 2015 Improviser-in-Residence
IICSI is pleased to announce that Douglas Ewart has been named the 2015 Improviser-in-Residence. Catch Douglas at the 2015 Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium on September 17th and 19th!
AUMI Consortium News: "Do You AUMI?"

Maria Batlle, unidentified laptop user, David Rothenberg.
August 31 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the AUMI/EMPAC/ARTs Department seminar, “New Instrumentation for Performance” included Maria Batlle and David Rothenberg. Directed by Pauline Oliveros, in collaboration with EMPAC guest artist Tarek Atoui, the seminar is devoted to enabling the hard of hearing and deaf to participate in music making.

AUMI-McGill: At the MacKay Centre School, five McGill MSc students from the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy have completed a manual for the use of AUMI in pedagogic and therapeutic settings, as well as a literature review related to AUMI and other adaptive instruments. In addition, researchers at McGill have designed a light-feedback system for AUMI’s laptop version. Writes Eric Lewis, “We have just completed negotiations to use AUMI at next year’s Jazz Festival at the Montreal Jewish Hospital, teaming with their in-house music therapist, and with the dept. of Child Psychiatry.”

AUMI-KU InterArts and Independence Inc., a community resource center of the Lawrence, Kansas disability community, is partnering with the Lawrence Public Library’s new Sound/Vision Studio to offer AUMI jam sessions and recording sessions for the local community. “Do You AUMI?” is the tagline developed by Ranita Wilks for attracting improvisers to the first meeting October 14.

A new version of the AUMI iPad App is now available on iTunes. AUMI 1.1.2 offers greater compatibility with iOs8, and all previous customers should be able to upgrade. 
Think Pieces

Improvisation and Birdman; or, the Unexpected Virtue of Irony

Think pieces is a special project curated by PhD student Mark Kaethler.
In this piece, Mark Kaethler delineates the different levels in which improvisation works in the Academy Award-winning film Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and relates improvisation as performance practice to the film’s depiction of creativity, of whiteness, and of the artist’s place in society. Staged and edited so that it seems to have been done in a single extended take, Birdman’s director and co-screenwriter Alejandro González Iñárritu plays with cherished cinematic tropes, including surprising shifts between diegetic and non-diegetic music. Kaethler concludes, “Birdman challenges the hegemony of Hollywood and white America through recourse to improvisation’s radical and fluid recalcitrance to concepts of the individual genius.”
Mark Kaethler is a PhD candidate in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, studying politics and irony in the works of early modern dramatist Thomas Middleton. 
MSAC Becomes the Art Gallery of Guelph
Note to Guelph Jazz Festival goers: one of the festival’s best-loved venues, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC), is closed during this year’s festival while it undergoes major renovations. MSAC is especially familiar as the site of the GJF colloquium, but this year, the colloquium will take place at three alternative downtown venues: Heritage Hall, Musagetes, and Silence.
An event on September 17 at 7 p.m. will celebrate the gallery’s reopening as the Art Gallery of Guelph.
Artist of the Month: Jeanine Durning
To Being: Molly Poerstel, Tian Rotteveel, Julian Barnett, Jeanine Durning. 
Jeanine Durning is a dance and performance artist whose new piece, To Being, runs at New York's Chocolate Factory Theater until September 26th, alongside a remount of its companion work, inging. The artist writes, "My current research deals with a practice that I started to develop back in 2009 called nonstopping which has manifested as a solo performance practice called inging, and a group performance practice called To Being. Whereas inging proposes the insistent practice of unscripted nonstop speaking as performance, To Being proposes the insistent and imperative relationship to nonstop moving as performance. Nonstopping emerged as a practice when I started to question what the nature, role and relevance of performance is, and how to be able to deal with essential questions about who we are, about dance and the body, about personal history, about collective thinking and experience, about phenomenology, about perception, about theater and fiction, about communication and meaning; To Being proposes the insistent and imperative relationship to nonstop moving as performance. With To Being we are asking: What is at stake? Where is the end? What does it take to stay in action? And how can we give more when we feel that we've met our limit?"
Improv Notes

Improv Notes was initially distributed in 2008 as a quarterly newsletter. From June 2011 until September 2014 Improv Notes was assembled, written, and distributed on a monthly basis by Paul Watkins. As of October 2014, Improv Notes is edited and written by PhD candidate David Lee and assembled by administrative assistant Rachel Collins. If you have anything improvisation related that you would like included in the newsletter, please email us. 

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