Hugo Boothby, PhD at Malmö University, has written a research article about his work with our ensemble Elefantöra. The title is Listening with Elephant Ears: Contesting Exclusion at the Intersection of Virtuosity and Ableism and addresses the composition they created together. The article has been published in Resonance, the Journal of Sound and Culture, Volume 4, Issue 1, Spring 2023. You find the article here at Resonance's webpage where it is also available for download.
We recommend that you read the online version as media clips are included.
"This article addresses Listening with Elephant Ears, a contemporary music composition and performance created by the author together with the Elefantöra (Elephant Ear) ensemble. Elefantöra is a norm-critical music ensemble that includes both disabled and non-disabled musicians. When musicians are defined as disabled, normative assumptions regarding the correct use of musical instruments and expert definitions of good sound generate rehabilitative approaches to music that perpetuate exclusions of ableism. This article examines the intersections that exist between exclusions of ableism and exclusions based on musical virtuosity. It focuses on the ways in which Elefantöra contests both exclusions of ableism and virtuosity in their creative reappropriations of sound technology. Composed in the fall of 2020 as a collaborative artistic research engagement, Listening with Elephant Ears was first performed at the Lund Contemporary Music Festival in Sweden, October 2021. The article draws on ethnographic and sound material generated from my artistic research engagement with Elefantöra. Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, Listening with Elephant Ears actively reappropriates the Zoom video conference software as a music technology. The piece embraces Zoom’s limitations and emphasizes the aesthetic value of the audio distortions and digital interference that Zoom introduces into musical performance. Critiquing regimes of regulation that situate disabled musicians differently to non-disabled musicians, Listening with Elephant Ears applies care as a theoretical perspective from which to reflect critically on rehabilitative approaches to music and the associated exclusions of ableism and musical virtuosity."
During 2023, three PhD students from CCRMA at Stanford University will join us for research residencies.