Exhibition spaces have long been used for live performance. But seldom are the performative constraints, that regularly sees the separation of audience and performer, relaxed to the extent that the surroundings can be truly incorporated into the live event. Once the show begins, the audience are usually required to take a seat and focus primarily on the unfolding spectacle. The ‘Musicians in Space’ research challenges the primacy of this tradition, offering instead the audience the freedom to move towards, away, and/or through the performance, as if it were a sound installation. Featuring free improvising musicians and contact improvisation dancers, the performers will endeavour to make connections with the other aspects of the exhibition and the expanse of Ambika3. In this way, the performance will emerge from the exhibition environment, while at the same time, inviting the audience the chance to engage themselves with the performative potential of the exhibition.
Originally from New Zealand, David Leahy has spent the last 19 years living and working in the UK as a double bass player, composer and contact improvising dancer. David’s experience across the performing arts spreads across performance, teaching and research. He is currently completing a practice-based research PhD investigating aspects of spatialization within improvised music performance. This research challenges the perceived wisdom of the formal separation and static positioning of the audience and performer. David argues that the traditional performance conventions do little to support the improvised musical process, that is supposedly built on the close inter-relationship of all the elements of the musicking ecosystem.