Here is a more complex breakdown of the premises of my theories for violin performance practice – what I term Radical Violin performance. I very much encourage discussion and participation with this stuff so please feel free to comment and argue with me. I may or may not care.
In 2012, as part of my PhD thesis, I wrote a manifesto, The Manifesto of the Radical Violinist. This as yet unpublished work poses a challenge to the 21st century violinist to take our very specific and often rarified art to new places. Further it calls for violinists to make their practice part of a resistance against the current climate-change-denying, 1%-worshipping madness of our present status-quo. Certainly it deeply informs my own work. Furthermore the Manifesto, and many of my other writings, are intended (while being serious theoretical works) in the end to be performative and ultimately are well-suited to being read as part of a Radical Violin performance. This element of the work has yet to be aired publicly…but hopefully this will change in the future. Anyway here is a write-up of it all that I’ve been using of late:
The Manifesto of the Radical Violinist is a declaration of progressive violin performance practice that is unprecedented in the history of the instrument, and furthermore is the only such work to emerge out of violin performance discourse in the 21st Century. Drawing from various 20th-century cultural manifestos – such as Luigi Russolo’s ‘Art of Noises’, Leon Trotsky’s ‘Literature and Revolution’, Jaques Derrida’s ‘Spectres of Marx’, various writings from ‘American ethnic’ violinist Henry Flynt, and more obscure writings such as those of Anarchist and artist Ben Morea – The Manifesto of the Radical Violinist serves as a call for a new approach to violin performance practice that openly challenges the current performance practice hegemonies and shatters homogeneous notions of the instrument and its place in society.
List of what could be referred to as the premises of the Manifesto:
1. Radical Violinists must be radicalised and part of an Underground resistance centred on insubordination to all forms of authoritarian power.
2. Radical Violin Performance Practices are heterogeneous and embrace heterogeneity in culture.
3. Radical Violinists are manifestations of Marx’s spectre – haunting the hegemony of Western culture.
4. Radical Violinists must embrace elements of Futurism: science, elegance and violence.
5. Radical Violinists must embrace electricity.
6. Radical Violinists are Acognitive Realists.
7. Radical Violinists can NOT be genre/market musicians. Their techniques must embrace and reflect the Diversity of reality and NOT the Hegemony of tradition.
8. Radical Violinists embrace DIY methods of production and presentation where necessary.
9. Radical Violinists must ultimately use their music as a weapon against ‘moribund capitalism’, a radical subversion of the descendents of Imperialism.
10. Concluding Statement of the Manifesto of the Revolutionary Radical Violinist
Throughout the Manifesto these premises are broken down and explored in detail and then concluded within the final declaration. While not wanting to give away the conclusion I can hint at its general sentiment with a quote from Henry Flynt:
THE FIRST CULTURAL TASK IS PUBLICLY
TO EXPOSE AND FIGHT THE
DOMINATION OF WHITE, EUROPEAN-U.S.
RULING CLASS ART!
Since writing this Manifesto I have embarked on further writings that explore collectivisation, new decolonised forms of instrumental music, guerilla cultural activities and so on. I’ll share more about this soon. I hope this clarifies some of the mystery surrounding the Radical Violin concept and opens up some discussion among those of you who stumble across this blog.