ISACS17: Scott Mc Laughlin

Material Indeterminacy and de-centered Practice

Material Indeterminacy and de-centered Practice
28.09.2017 to 30.09.2017

Under the chairmanship of Morten Søndergaard and Peter Weibel the conference »ISACS17: Resonant Worlds – Curating Sound, Art & Science« takes place at the ZKM from 28–30 September, 2017. The conference addresses and debates the resonant worlds of sound, art, science and curation.

ISACS17 (re)investigates the  intersections of sound, art and science from the perspective of artistic / creative curation. The participants are asked to showcase, and reflect on, their own practices from the perspective of how and why choices are made in order to make things »work« – in the sense that it resonates in/with other people, contexts, culture, society, history, and »the world«. These are perhaps issues of (and effects from) embodied experiences, of language games, of existence.


My composition uses the material indeterminacy of sounding objects, balancing a feedback-loop between human/material agency, where object and performer are co-agents in an unfolding musical form. I will demonstrate several techniques in which resonance is the ground for metastable states that structure my works: and scores providing the performer with situated actions and techniques for ‘surf[ing] the contours of material agency’ (Pickering, 1995) to explore the emergent formation and breaking of sounding patterns. This practice turns on the intersection between the performative and contingent elements of experimental music (Cage, Wolff, Lucier, Tudor) and spectral music (Grisey, Radulescu, Tenney), and the recent turns towards materiality from both science (Pickering, Barad) and philosophies (Latour, Bennett, Ingold, Deleuze). This fertile creative ground emerges from the possibilities of listening to open-ended materiality.
Scott Mc Laughlin is an Irish composer and improviser based in Huddersfield, UK. He studied BMus (Uni of Ulster), MA/PhD Uni of Huddersfield. He lectures in composition and music technology at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on contingency and indeterminacy in the physical materiality of sound and performance.