Saturday, 25 November 2017

Pauline Oliveros in Huddersfield

As is often the case with great artists, Pauline Oliveros was late for the artistic celebration of her work at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. It unfortunately seems that dying is the prerequisite graduation task in order to be taken seriously by the artistic establishment. Oliveros, having spent a life transforming the way we think about music, politics, perception, gender and being successfully died last year, prompting various art establishments to look her up on Wikipedia and organise a festival. Which, I guess, is something...

I was in Huddersfield for an education conference on Power and Professionalism in FE. It was a good conference, with some thoughtful contributions - notably by the brilliant Alex Dunedin, who recommended I turned up. I'm glad he did. There was some great stuff, including a brilliant satirical "letter by Machievelli to the Principal of an FE college". I enjoyed it very much, but in the corridor noticed an invitation for an event happening next door: a Pop-up art school, based around the work of Oliveros. That looked more fun still!

And this is what they were doing - and it was great! A meditation room, some sonic stuff with bongos and Ableton Live, and a brilliant guy with a turntable, some vinyl records, some cardboard and a pen.

We can talk about education for ever. But really, it's very simple to have fun, stimulate minds, and change worlds. Oliveros knew that.

I was lucky enough to meet her at the 2011 American Society for Cybernetics conference She didn't want to talk much. She wanted to make music. She did her sonic meditations with us standing around the pool of a hotel in the mid-west. I've never been the same since!

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