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Performance groups explore the metaverse with Micheal Veal

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The Performance Studies Working Group hosted the continuation of the Fall 2022 series on “History and Future of the Metaverse by Michael Veal,” the first PSWG event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veal — Henry L. and Ruth G. Moses Professor of Music, African American Studies, and American Studies — He specializes in ethnomusicology, or the study of the music of different cultures. His October 31st talk centered around his latest book, Wait until Tomorrow: The Music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis Re-Assessed in the Digital Age, due for release in 2023. rice field..

T.PSWG is a space where scholars and artists share their work with Yale University’s interdisciplinary students and faculty. The PSWG is part of Yale University’s Performance Studies Initiative. Each year the PSWG focuses on a different theme. with curator Andy Berry Tavia Nyong’o, Faculty Convenor of PSWG this semester, chose “Metaverse” as the theme for the Fall 2022 series.

“We were inspired to explore this subject by Mark Zuckerberg’s rebranding of Facebook to Meta, the ‘social metaverse company,’” said Berry. “[Taking] Major advances in virtual and augmented reality technology, and a new mainstream interest in digital and virtual possibilities in the aftermath of pandemic lockdowns…as a point of inspiration, how technology is changing performance , and I wanted to spend some time thinking about how that is changing. Already involved in performance.

Jokingly describing his work as “a work of music, history and music theory masquerading as a work of science fiction,” Veal opened with two examples of distortion.

First, he discusses John Coltrane’s free meter music as a departure from traditional jazz. Second, he introduced the Miles Davis quintet in the late 1960s. This is known as the “Lost Quintet”. As a result, all extant recordings are unofficial tapes of low fidelity quality. Veal played excerpts from unofficial recordings by John Coltrane and Charlie Parker as examples of distorted sounds.

Veal professed the need for a new language to understand and analyze this distorted music, whether due to low fidelity sound or free meter. Veal explained that there are two ways he creates this new artistic language: from the inside and from the outside.

“In other words, you can work according to the established rules of that particular artistic practice,” explained Veal. “Or you can go out and borrow the rules of another artistic medium or musical work, following the rules of literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, cinema, and so on.”

To illustrate the application of other mediums to music, Veal gave various examples of deconstructive architecture by well-known postmodern architects such as: Richard Roth and Pietro Belluschi Audiences observed a shift from architecture following the rectangular rules of modernism to experimental architecture deliberately ‘infused with a sense of change and movement’.

To relate the discussion of music to modern technology, Veal points out that the rise of music technology in the 1960s, from filters and equalizers to multitrack recorders, was a direct result of the trickle-down of military technology. increase.

In addition, modern technology, namely the Internet, has increased access to archival VHS tapes and recordings that were previously inaccessible to the average researcher, allowing the rediscovery of local language forms of film and photography. .

“There are archives that can only be accessed online, and things that were never accessible in the analog world,” says Veal. “The Internet, the Metaverse, will become an archive of material. Access to a ton of new material will provide new interpretations and analyses.”

The discovery of Miles Davis’ quintet recordings traces the music of the late 1960s to the concurrent space age, particularly Apollo 11, as “the musical sound of musicians evoking this new reality that humans can escape gravity.” In response, Veale came to interpret. Moon landing.

“always interesting Gabriel Marous ’26, who attended the event, said: “I don’t know if I have to agree with all the points and the logic, but the idea that combining seemingly disparate things, such as jazz and photography, can be productive, is an important part of any artistic generation, and my own. It helps art.”

When asked after the lecture whether technology had popularized certain types of low-quality music, Veale replied that different kinds of music simply played different roles in society, calling it elitist. We have started a discussion that approves the deconstruction of the traditional view of art.

“Art can be created in people’s basements,” said Veal. It’s a matter of how you flip the switch of perception and treat it as art… Art is just a stepping stone to the aesthetic experience of the world as a whole. ”

The PSWG will hold its next talk on November 14th in Humanities Square Room 136.

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