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Symposium: Sounding Possibilities: Improvisation and Community Action

November 1-2, 2014
Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece

In association with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, the Onassis Cultural Centre is staging an inter-disciplinary colloquium focused on contemporary improvisatory practices in music, music education and the performing arts, as well as on new forms of social and political action.

As the internationalist hegemony cements itself over the global political scene and discrete economic, social and cultural systems enter into a state of ever-greater osmosis, a number of local communities are renewing their efforts to wrest back control of their identities and their fate through collective actions which are often both improvisatory in nature and underpinned by an improvisatory philosophy. At the same time, we can see the internationalist players striving to adopt the mantle of improvisation, though often with results diametrically opposed to improvisation's established ideology. The colloquium and its parallel performances will explore these issues from a broad range of thematic perspectives and with reference to various communities and cultures. Specifically, we will be examining the ways in which artistic practices with a strong improvisatory core can help establish and maintain healthy communities while opposing a range of hegemonies and spotlighting the obstacles such initiatives have to overcome—obstacles which will also be improvisatory in nature.

For more details, including presentations and performances, see:

Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.