The initial engagement with the concept of “play” and “event” landed very well with me. My own personal practice, and that of many of my students sustains some form of relationship with music. – this perhaps better framed using the vocabulary of Christopher Small “musicking” a broader, if not broadest, sense of all those social practices surrounding a cultured activity of ritualised and organised sounding. While of course such activity involves “work” for many, “play” clearly has a close connection to a certain aspect of musical practice. Shechner’s work on play, performance and ritual, positioned within Performance Studies is a vital strand of investigation, exploration and discussion shared on the BA Sound Arts course in the context of my teaching.
Vilhauer discusses “encounters with art” and draws a connection between artwork and spectator in a symbiotic play of presentation and recognition. This has a close relationship with, for example, some of my own work regarding psychoacoustics and the phenomenological experience of sound from both the position of the musical performer and the musical listener i.e. a member of an “audience’ auditing sonic effects / affects.
Notions around the movement of play are also very reminiscent of some of the work and discourse explored on the course regarding improvisation, collective and individual Vilhauer quoting Gadamer “the players are not the subjects of play; instead play merely reaches presentation through the players (TM 103). It is the game itself (das Spiel selbst) that is the subject or subject matter of the play, and this game has a character of an “event” (Geschehen). Quoting Vilhauer “Play, then, is fundamentally something larger than the individual player or his mental state; it is a pattern of movement that surpasses the players, and it is something to which both players belong.” (Vilhaur 2010:32)