PEEK Artistic Research Project in Composition
at the KUG University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria,
Centre for Gender Studies
project duration: 2019 – 2021
Principal Investigator: Dr. Pia Palme
University Assistant (pre-doc): Christina Lessiak
Student Assistant (from January to June 2020): Lena Hengl
funded by the FWF Austrian Science Fund
Project AR 537 On the fragility of sounds

On the fragility of sounds is an artistic research project designed to explore terrains of composition and contemporary music theatre as they are interwoven with feminist practice. Our study is guided alongside the compositional process. Can music theatre be conceived with ‘Another Ear’ rather than from the perspective of the ‘Male Gaze’? We propose that taking a feminist position impacts one’s listening perception: activating the feminist ear, contextual sonorities emerge. Listening to the background noises of human interaction brings them to the foreground of one’s awareness. Listening into precarious life brings up the fragility of sounds; sounds turn into physical entities. Rather than producing ‘feminist’ works in terms of content, this project aims to understand how the artistic process is affected by feminist listening. The compositional process in music theatre begins within the imagination of the composing individual, continuously integrating more artists, collaborators, and performers, as well as media from any number of contextualising disciplines. The process only comes to completion upon the work’s realisation and reception. As individuals, the members of the audience recreate the composition in their own creative process of listening. With this cycle of compositional activities as a model structure, we investigate the influence of the feminist practice on the process of composing.