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Tripping On Wires: The Wireless Body: Who is Improvising?

Pauline Oliveros

Published: 2004-09-01

The author has been tripping on wires onstage and offstage for half a century of technological change in music. She has observed the trajectory of the disembodiment of music from analog instruments to tape to laptop computer performance. The process of disembodiment that began millennia ago with the use of instruments that distanced the musical use of voice, hands and feet with the body in resonance has accelerated in the 20th century to a crisis point. How do musicians, composers and audiences relate with the disconnected body and disembodied music? The call now seems to be to reintegrate the body with technology. The solution seems to indicate that the technology and body will merge in a re-embodied wireless future.

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If people talked the way they drummed in improvisation, then I think the world would be a lot nicer…

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop