Per Forza di Levare - Athar Jaber (29/06/2021)

Athar Jaber

  • 29 June 2021 - online defence - send a message to research@atharjaber.com if you want to attend the defence.​
  • Supervisors: Gert Verschraegen (University of Antwerp) and Ria De Boodt (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp)
Per-Forza-di-Levare.jpg

Abstract

The practice of sculpture, and of stone carving in specific, is related to violence on many levels. First, there is the evident, all to visible violence of the carving act. Secondly, sculptures and monuments play a representative role in service of authorities that govern through policies of systemic violence. And thirdly, stone, the very material with which many sculptures are made of, carries a symbolic value that can be associated to oppressive strategies of structural violence. 

In this practice-based PhD research in the Arts, Athar Jaber fuses critical thinking on the topic of violence with his sculptural practice. He elaborates on above mentioned aspects with the intention to address pressing socio-political issues that afflict our contemporary society and the human condition in general. 

Furthermore, the research intends to bring attention to the latent semiotic potentiality of stone to stimulate a more conscious use of it in contemporary art practices.

Endlich etwas wirklich neues - Levente Kende (13/06/2021)

Levente Kende

  • 13 June 2021 - De Singel Antwerp - Blauwe zaal - registration required
  • 15:30 - 18:00 Liszt - Bartók concert
  • 18:00 - 19:30 PhD defence
  • Supervisors: Stephan Weytjens (Royal Conservatoire Antwerp) and Henk de Smaele (University of Antwerp)


Abstract

Endlich etwas wirklich neues… (Ferruccio Busoni about Béla Bartók’s 14 Bagatellen / 1908) versus Darf man solch ein Ding schreiben oder anhören? (Ferenc Liszt about his Csárdás macabre / 1882) 

Comparative research of (r)evolutionary innovations in the late piano works (1860-1886) by Ferenc Liszt and the early piano works (1908-1912) of Béla Bartók by Levente Kende 

Although Liszt composed 'provocative' programme music with modernist elements from the very beginning - such as Les Morts, Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, Sonata, Faust-Symphonie - it is particularly remarkable that after 1860, he suddenly composed piano pieces - such as Trois Odes funèbres: Les Morts - La Notte - Le triomphe funèbre de Tasso, Années de Pèlerinage III., Nuages gris, Mosonyi's Grabgeleit - composes pieces that completely and remarkably deviate from his usual composition style. These works show a stylistic mixture of late-Romantic, impressionistic and expressionistic elements. Around 1860, an era began in which 'death and dance' was a regularly recurring theme in Liszt's works: his death poetry written in 'a compositional fever'. These late pieces (1860-1886) are expressionist, partly a-tonal, and were only played by Liszt and his pupils. The climax came in 1881-1882 with 'Csárdás macabre', the most remarkable of the very daring series of compositions, in which he increasingly threw himself into chromatic dissonances; a piece with protracted, droning and frightening empty fifths, chromatically moving between 'possible and impossible keys'. Liszt used a laconic question as a subtitle: "Darf man solch ein Ding schreiben oder hören?". 

As a stylistic predecessor of Bartók and 20th-century music, Liszt's Csárdás macabre is a fully-fledged composition that evolves from late-Romanticism to a polytonal pre-expressionism and opens a path to the atonal expressionism of Bartók's 14 Bagatelles. - In Liszt's oeuvre, and in the general stylistic evolution of the 19th century, this masterpiece for piano shows just as groundbreaking inventiveness as 26 years later Bartók's 14 Bagatelles. Between 1908-1912 Bartók composed an impressive series of piano works including the 14 Bagatelles and Allegro barbaro. With the 14 Bagatelles, a new era and a new "modern" style has dawned for the piano. - About this is the famous statement of Busoni: "Endlich etwas wirklich neues". Bartók wrote "The Bagatelles open up a new keyboard style in my career as a composer which most of my later piano works - with smaller or larger adaptations - consistently follow". During this study is also examined to what extent Liszt's late works not only form a (r)evolutionary break with high Romanticism, but are also an avant-garde basis for Bartók's style and compositional technique, and by extension for 20th century composers such as Debussy, Reger, Busoni, Schoenberg, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Messiaen, Kurtág and others, through which the expansion of tonal-functional music and also new musical forms could arise. The focus is on the Liszt-Bartók equation: what in the end led both composers in a similar way to realize this break with early modernity from their both late-Romantic, eclectic idiom. 

A deeper investigation analyses which leading passions and mental factors inspired Liszt in 1860 and Bartók in 1908 and how this is reflected in their respective compositions. This research tries to find an answer to the question why Liszt from 1860 onwards and Bartók from 1908 onwards essentially deviate from their composing techniques used for this purpose and realize an "avant-garde" (r)evolution in Europe and in Hungarian music both in the stylistic and compositional field. Essential quotations are mainly from Liszt's and Bartók's personal letters in a diary-like chronological form. But also from authentic and historical documents, first editions, press comments in historical journals. This makes it clearer how special living conditions and essential events have influenced both their thoughts and emotional world and therefore their musical stylistic evolution, their compositional techniques. In this way, Liszt's late and Bartók's early compositions are situated, correctly dated, inspiration models investigated, placed in historical context with the ultimate aim of answering the question "which late Liszt compositions were known to Bartók and have (substantially) influenced him". 

 Bartók's collaboration with Breitkopf & Härtel (1911-1913) for the publication of Liszt Complete Werken - Bartók's introduction to Liszt's Hungarian related compositions - is discussed in detail. Special attention is paid to Bartók's revision of Liszt's Csárdás macabre. The guesses concerning the right date of composing Bartók's most iconic work, Allegro barbaro, are now better situated so that this work now gets a correct re-dating. This is based on an extremely complete chronology of his work in 1910-19013. It is also highly probable that Liszt's Csárdás macabre was the model for Bartók's Allegro Barbaro.


Freedom Is Not Free - Mashid Mohadjerin (20/05/2021)

Mashid Mohadjerin

  • 20 May 2021 - 15:00: public defence online. Send a message to mashid.fotografia@gmail.com if you want to attend.
  • Supervisors: Roschanack Shaery-Yazdi (UAntwerp), Johan Pas (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp)

Abstract

Across the Middle East and the rest of the world, historically and today, women have been essential to achieving political change. Without their participation, many revolutions would have failed. My PhD project revolves around the importance of women and the photographic representation and challenges thereof within the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. It culminates in a personal journey to my native Iran in search of my  roots and my own story of a revolution.

Inspired by the Arab Uprisings and the overwhelming presence of women within the protests, this research project investigates the influence of representation and photographic images within the context of revolutions and the way it is used on both sides of the political spectrum. I  question existing (mis)representations of Muslim, Arab and Middle Eastern women and my  aim is to create an alternative representation based on their and my own internal gaze. 

Aware of the existing conventions within my practice, which is documentary and portraiture photography, I  attempt to depict the struggle and environment of iconic female figures through a multidimensional approach in which I base my  image making on intimate conversations.

Through archival images and texts, a historical dimension is added in the form of collages. The conversations with activists and critical reflections influence my  selection and sequencing process and help me  paint a more complex and nuanced narrative. The final result is a personal kaleidoscopic account of women and resistance in the Middle East, North Africa and Iran that interweaves the journalistic and the artistic.

Exit Strategies and a Stand Alone Complex - Peter Lemmens (28/04/2021)

Peter Lemmens

  • 28 April 2021
  • 14:00: screening of the film 'Reverse Engineering'. Live stream via https://youtu.be/uMoVDjBasns
  • 16:00: public defence online. Send a message to peterlemmenspeter@gmail.com if you want to attend.
  • Supervisor: Pascal Gielen (UAntwerp), Johan Pas (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp)

Abstract

This research aims to include a set of intangible aspects of artistic production and distribution and deploy these as critical and aesthetic moments. Borrowing from Fan Fiction, as a divergent field that relies on self-organization, I wanted to look at an artwork’s operational levels for its social, economical, political and artistic capacity. On this intersection, I question how to organize oneself as an artist as I look for unsound methods and indirect approaches. To be indirectly involved as in Fan Fiction, to be engaged alongside something else is an entry point disguised as an exit. My artworks are demarcations not only of what needs to be done differently, but also of what can be done simultaneously. In this way, I like to step away from binary thinking into the ambiguous, the superimposed and the paradoxical. I adopt a strategy of simultaneity that looks for small diversionary tactics as a permanent, fragile mode of production and distribution. The research looks for its necessity, not in depicting models for linear problem-solving within a work, but in creating interfering moments of paradoxical thinking beyond the work. In this way, I look at how to create slow, indirect narratives of involvement. Through the lens of distribution I expand the question of “what is produced” with “how it’s produced”. 

 The digital publication 'exit strategies and a stand alone complex’ can be downloaded at http://diversions.be/downloads/book.html.​


Parallel narratives, different elements and forms of representations and their influence on the audiences’ perception (19/02/2021)

Ali Moayed Baharlou

  • 19 February 2021 - 17:00 p.m.
  • Online defence: please register before 18 February via Ali.MoayedBaharlou@student.uantwerpen.be 
  • Supervisors: Dr. Philippe Meers (UAntwerp), Dr. Tom De Smedt (Sint Lucas Antwerp)​

Abstract

Parallel narratives, different elements and forms of representations and their influence on the audiences’ perception researches parallel narratives in film and how choice can lead to different destinies for the protagonist. The questions raised are how the audiences perceive these topics in parallel narratives and how filmmakers can change or manipulate the perception of choices, multiple paths and free will by diverse narrative elements, devices and different forms of representations.

A Case of Recorders: Recorder Use in Spanish Churches and Cathedrals in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries - Julia Miller (14/10/2020)

​Julia Miller

  • 14 October 2020
  • Supervisors: dr. Bruno Blondé (UAntwerp), dr. Eugeen Schreurs (Royal Conservatoire Antwerp) and dr. David Burn (KU Leuven)

Abstract

This PhD project researches the use of recorders in performing sacred music in Spanish cathedrals and churches during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. As well, it examines the interaction of the historical findings with artistic questions arising in twenty-first-century performance of this sacred music repertoire.

When today's musicians seek to perform sacred Renaissance works in an historically informed manner, they are confronted with an array of questions arising from original music sources which did not generally specify the use of instruments or the manner of arranging the music for performance. Paradoxically, while numerous sets of recorders were purchased by ecclesiastic institutions during the period studied, most contemporary sacred music did not specifically call for their use. As well, surviving sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century documentation is highly fragmentary regarding the participatory role of recorders in sacred repertoire of this period.

At the same time, scholarly research and writing had not addressed this issue. Sacred music of this era offers the modern musician a large and rich potential repertoire of supreme quality and beauty. Therefore, in seeking an historically informed basis for performance, this doctoral project asks if recorders were used in such works in Spanish ecclesiastic institutions during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and, if so, how.

World Without Us - Geert Goiris (09/05/2019)

​Geert Goiris

  • 9 May 2019
  • Supervisors: Luc Pauwels and Johan Pas

Abstract

World Without Us is a practice based Phd in visual art.

Rather than stemming from a defined hypothesis or research question, it should be understood as a visualization experiment anticipating a world without humans. 

These excercises in imagination take shape in three interconnected presentations: two consecutive exhibitions and a publication.

The exhibitions wants to pronounce the perceptional shift caused by current anxieties about the future of our planet.
Fundamental changes in our ecosystem and the rise of artificial intelligences are modifying the world as we know it. The future of humankind will be a very different one. How does this affect our psychological state of mind, our imagined futures  and premonitions? In this ‘age of uncertainty’ the individual is overpowered by alarmist, conflicting information. Are we suffering from epochalism, the belief that our current era is unique in human history because it represents a disruptive break with the past? Or are we actually at a tipping point between self-preservation and self-destruction? Some of these images foreshadow what is left when humans have vacated the scene.
Still and moving photographic images are on view: framed prints, monumental wallpaper prints, analogue slide projections and a video installation.
The images are exhibited in a scenography designed in close collaboration with architect Kris Kimpe.  

The book accentuates the spatial character of my recent work by presenting a number of installation views of the exhibitions in Antwerp and Bologna. Next to this documentation, a sequence of photographs and an extensive interview with Steven Humblet is presented in the book to further investigate the narrative potential of still images in distinctive spaces and temporalities: the exhibition space, the book space and in time-based media such as video-installations and analogue slide projections.

During this Phd research I continued to develop a practice where fragmentation and different modes of narrativity are activated to evoke a possible, but unwanted future.


World without Us
Exhibition De Lange Zaal - Royal Academy for Fine Arts Antwerpen November 15th – December 20th 2018

Terraforming Fantasies
Exhibition Palazzo De’ Toschi – Bologna January 29th- February 28th 2019

World Without Us, Monographic Publication
Roma Publications, Amsterdam
Release date: May 9th 2019

  • Photographs, video installation and analogue slide projection: Geert Goiris
  • Interview, text editing: Steven Humblet
  • Additional text editing: Robert Enoch
  • Exhibition scenography: Kris Kimpe
  • Video Editing and colour grading: Xavier Dockx
  • Soundscape: Frederik Meulyzer
  • Graphic design exhibition leaflet: Bas Rogiers
  • Graphic design publication: Roger Willems

Signature Strengths - Boy Vereecken (03/05/2019)

​Boy Vereecken

  • 3 May 2019
  • Supervisors: Prof. dr. Luc Pauwels and Michel Van Beirendonck

Abstract

Everything starts with an allegorical skit about the ‘1900’ Art Nouveau style;

‘… Loos began his battle with Art Nouveau a decade before “Ornament and Crime.” A pointed attack comes in 1900, in the form of an allegorical skit about “a poor little rich man” who commissions an Art Nouveau designer to put “Art in each and every thing:” Each room formed a symphony of colours, complete in itself. Walls, wall coverings, furniture, and materials were made to harmonise in the most artful ways. Each household item its own specific place and was integrated with the others in the most wonderful combinations. The architect has forgotten nothing, absolutely nothing. Cigar ashtrays, cutlery, light switches – everything, everything was made by him. … This Gesamtkunstwerk does more than combine architecture, art, and craft; it commingles subject and object: “the individuality of the owner was expressed in every ornament, every form, every nail.” For the Art Nouveau designer this is perfection: “You are complete!” he exults to the owner. But the owner is not so sure: this completion “taxed [his] brain.” Rather than a sanctuary from modern stress, his Art Nouveau interior is another expression of it: “ The happy man suddenly felt deeply, deeply unhappy . . . He was precluded from all future living and striving, developing and desiring. He thought, this is what it means to learn to go about life with one’s own corps. Yes indeed. He is finished. He is complete!” … For the Art Nouveau designer this completion reunites art and life, and all signs of death are banished. For Loos, on the other hand, this triumphant overcoming of limits is a catastrophic loss of the same – the loss of the objective constraints required to define any “future living and striving, developing and desiring.” Far from a transcendence of death, this loss of finitude is a death-in life, as figured in the ultimate trope of in distinction, living “with one’s own corpse.”’

Hal Foster, Design and Crime (And Other Diatribes), Radical Thinkers, Verso Books 2002, pp. 13-5.

Boy Vereecken is an Art Director and Editorial Designer based in Brussels. After graduating from LUCA School of Arts in Ghent (M.A.) and the Werkplaats Typografie (M.A.) in Arnhem, he started his practice in Brussels. From 2012 till 2019 he held the position of Art Director at the Kunsthalle Wien, a position that was rewarded with the German Design Award in 2014. Recent projects include the Art Direction for the Tai Kwun Contemporary’s Hong Kong Art Book Fair and the Belgian Pavilion for the Venice Biennial 2019. In 2016 published Signature Strengths and in 2019 Herewith the Clues, both dealing around notions of publishing history. 

Jury

Individual PhD Commission (IPC)

  • Supervisor prof. dr. Luc Pauwels (Dept. of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp)
  • Supervisor Michel Van Beirendonck (Tutor Graphic Design, Sint Lucas Antwerpen)
  • Expert dr. Goran Petrović  (Research Affiliate at Ghent University and Assistant Professor at Sciences Po Paris)
  • Chair IPC prof. dr. Paolo Favero (Film Studies and Visual Culture, Dept. of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp)

External jury members

  • Laura Herman (Curator at La Loge, writer and editor, theory tutor at the Dept. of Contextual Design, Design Academy Eindhoven)
  • Sophie Nys (Visual artist, tutor at LUCA School of Arts)

Chair jury ARIA

  • Prof. dr. Bart Eeckhout (Dept. of Literature, University of Antwerp)

A study of Applied Tai Chi Movements in Marimba Playing - Chin Cheng Lin (06/03/2019)

​Chin Cheng Lin

  • 6 March 2019
  • Supervisors: Jozef Colpaert, Ludwig Albert and Eugeen Schreurs

Abstract

This interdisciplinary artistic research concerns three aspects of applied Tai Chi movements, educational performing technique and artistic inspiration in marimba playing: investigation of musician’s movements and defining characteristics of marimba playing, development of online instructions with applied Tai Chi approach in marimba playing and evaluation of this approach in marimba education, and application of Tai Chi in musical compositions and discovering the connections between marimba and Tai Chi. 

The study examined randomized trials studying the influence of Tai Chi movements on marimba playing and measured two controlled groups, the Tai Chi intervention and the control group, by using 3D motion capture and real-time audio recording. 

The research showed that the playing of the marimba became noticeably better. It had a favorable influence on the control of breathing, the feeling of gravity, by the application of Tai Chi movements in the upper and lower body. More research is needed into the physical analysis and the educational method for performing the technique.

Inventing New Marimba Performance from the African Balafon Music Practice - On Ying (Adilia) Yip (31/10/2018)

​On Ying (Adilia) Yip

  • 31 October 2018
  • Supervisors: Henk de Smaele and Kathleen Coessens

Abstract

The aim of this practice-based project is to search for new performance perspectives for the marimba (invented in the 1910s) by inquiring into the West African music tradition—the balafon of the Bobo and Bamana peoples living in Mali and Burkina Faso. Through a triangulation of research methodology—participant-observation, literature and artistic practice—I have gained insights into the artistic experience of stepping into the 'unknown' balafon world.

The written result is a discussion of how I have overcome the obstacles of learning, performing and listening to balafon music, and how these experiences have renewed and enriched my original artistic practice and ideas. Due to the music’s oral tradition, the balafon polyrhythm and melodic materials are embodied in forms of bimanual coordination patterns rather than symbolic representation. Music-making is largely informed by the performer's motoric sensory, and body movement is given a crucial role in music communication and sensory perception.

The second purpose of this research is, therefore, to apply these balafon practices to Western performance. This yields as artistic outcome—five commissioned compositions for the marimba and a concert program 'In the Heat of the Moment'.

The Wind Egg - Haseeb Ahmed (03/10/2018)

​Haseeb Ahmed

  • 3 October 2018
  • Supervisors: Prof. Staf Van Tendeloo and Werner Van dermeersch

Abstract

Haseeb Ahmed’s art practice integrates methodologies from the hard sciences in search of a techno-poetics. His exhibition at M HKA, as part of his public defence unfolds his ongoing Wind Egg experiment.

The concept of ‘wind eggs’ postulates that animals and people can be fertilised by the wind – a belief held for millennia by ancient Egyptian, Arab, Indian, European and Chinese cultures. Ahmed has worked to realise this idea with state-of-the-art wind tunnel technology at the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium.

In the process of personifying the wind he blends art and aeronautics, myth and technology, reflecting the human capacity to project empathetic sensibilities onto nonhuman things. A project that moves from antiquity to astrobiology, the exhibition will function as a test-site for imagining the possibilities for humans to reproduce without men and with the wind.

Ahmed received his Masters from the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was previously also a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. His work has been exhibited internationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art, and the Museum Barengasse Zurich. Haseeb Ahmed is based in Brussels.

www.haseebahmed.com

Jury:

Individual PhD Commisssion

  • Prof. Dr. Florian Dombois (visual artist, professor and head of Research Focus in Transdisciplinarity at Zurich University of the Arts)
  • Prof. dr. Staf Van Tendeloo (University of Antwerp, EMAT Research Laboratory)
  • Werner Van dermeersch (architect, professor at St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp)
  • Prof. dr. Pascal Gielen (University of Antwerp, ARIA, CCQO)

External jury members

  • Prof. dr. Beatrice de Gelder (director of the Brain and Emotion Laboratory, Maastricht​ University)

  • Prof. dr. Olivier Chazot (Head of Aeronautics and Aerospace department at Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Brussels)

Chairman jury

Prof. dr. Bart Eeckhout (University of Antwerp, ARIA)

Revolutionizing the Jazz Bass: The Life and Music of Jimmie Blanton - Matthias Heyman (23/03/2018)

Matthias Heyman

  • 23 March 2018
  • Supervisors: Alexander Dhoest and Eugeen Schreurs

Abstract

This research project offers a comprehensive study of the life, music, and legacy of jazz bass player James 'Jimmie' Blanton, Jr. (1918–1942). Best known for his tenure with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra between 1939 and 1941, Blanton is widely regarded as one of the key figures in the development of jazz bass playing. From 1946 on, an iconic narrative came into being that established him as an artistic hero in the pantheon of jazz (bass) history. In most literature, such icons are treated in generalizing, uncritical manners, resulting in a flawed, limited understanding of Blanton. Previous studies have primarily focused on his recorded solos from 1940, and rarely compare his work to that of his fellow bass players. This research is the first to consider Blanton's complete recorded body of work taken from his entire five-year career, including a large number of broadcasts and live versions. Furthermore, considerable attention is dedicated to his accompaniments, and his work is properly contextualized with a selection of that of his peers.

Through a combination of biography and musical analyses, I reevaluate the importance this bassist holds in the history of jazz, adding nuance to his iconic status. This is achieved through an interdisciplinary methodology, building upon such diverse methods as archival research, reception study, music analysis, visual analysis, and historically informed performance practice. As such, this research, the first one in Belgium to focus on jazz, offers new insights into the historical development of jazz bass playing up to the 1940s, into the social and musical milieus Blanton belonged to, and into the role Ellington played in Blanton's development as a performer. Furthermore, a number of technical matters are addressed, in particular his performance posture and the impact recording technology had on his reception.

Overall, I argue that Blanton did indeed play a transformative role in the development of string bass playing in jazz, yet should also be considered as part of a continuum of bass players that each in their own way contributed to this evolution. While Blanton's approach laid the foundation for how the majority of future bassist soloed and accompanied, he himself relied in part on the groundworks established by other bassists such as Wellman Braud and Walter Page, his own musical influences such as tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and pianist Art Tatum, and Ellington's earlier experiments in writing for the string bass.

Exhibiting Knowledge - Wesley Meuris (01/09/2017)

​Wesley Meuris

  • 1 September 2019
  • Supervisors: Herwig Leirs and Werner Van dermeersch

Abstract

Sound Presence - Jan Schacher (18/04/2017)

​Jan Schacher

  • 18 April 2017
  • Supervisors: Prof. dr. Erik Myin and Prof. dr. Kathleen Coessens