Anarchiving (in) Ben Patterson's Variations for Double-Bass

Christopher Williams
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Abstract Here I employ techniques of anarchiving to explore the dynamics of notation, improvisatory performance, and analysis in Fluxus artist Ben Patterson's Variations for Double-Bass (1961). Coined by process philosophers Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, the concept of the anarchive refers to "a repertory of traces of collaborative research-creation events. The traces are not inert, but are carriers of potential." Variations' proto-anarchival qualities drive the structure of the exposition, which includes superimposed video documentation from my own performances, as well as brief analytical texts and performance instructions for the reader. I hope that this meta-anarchival process both sheds light on Patterson's work, and shows how documentation and analysis in the spirit of the anarchive can propel experimental (musical) practice forward in unexpected ways. https://doi.org/10.22501/jar.387316
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