It is our aim to create collection of oral history of the creative music scene (improvised, experimental, new music, jazz, &c. music) which is at the same time – following Gilles Deleuze’ and Félix Guattari’s notion of the rhizome – open to all sides. We do not appear as authors, we act as a medium, as translators and filters. The artists tell their story themselves, because : “Who else … would be better suited to speak about this product than the the instrument through which it appears? Surely, if such highly creative music can come from such minds, the same minds can give some insight about it and themselves in relationship” (Henry Threadgill). Our task then is the editing of the text and the graphic interpretations.
The creative music scene does not exist independently from other dimensions of reality and is constantly interacting with them. Therefore we do not limit ourselves to write a music history isolated from outside influences. The realities and constraints in the life of our interlocuteurs and their impact on their art, plays a vital role in our conversations. Art is always seen in relation to the social and the political. The private and the public are intertwined. This places these “philosophical biographies” in a historical-political-social context.
Arising from this claim, it is not only musicians who contribute to the collection of oral history for THEORAL, but also artists from other disciplines, scientists and people who make an art or a science out of their life.
The hi/stories are recorded, if possible, in the native language of the narrators. This entails issues in different languages. Our collection has no geographical borders. We want to assemble hi/stories of creative musicians and interesting people from all over the world and in turn, approach whole world with our books. “We realized that we had to do our thing with a planetary approach. We had to hit the world market. We couldn’t localize … The only way for us to survive was to develop a world audience” (Lester Bowie).
THEORAL is a Rediscovery of Slowness – we give priority to longer monologues rather than to short winded statements. The narrations and thoughts of the speakers are opened and interpreted through the illustrations.
Due to the missing of documentary images (like photos) new freedoms arise in the visualizing of the manual interpretation (graphics) – with commitment to the details – of the written language.
The pictures are an offer to develop the contents – the interview-situations and the narrations – in a certain atmosphere and style. They should and want to give space to own imaginations and associations. Perhaps the illustrations can seduce the reader to open up towards unknown, uncomfortable and unusual areas, which he wouldn’t have entered otherwise.
citations: George E. Lewis (2009): A Power Stronger than Itself. The AACM and American Experimental Music. Chicago University Press