There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
I must admit that for me “being creative” was an embedded state of mind since early childhood. No one asks musicians whether they feel or not feel IT on a specific occasion. Concerts get cancelled only if someone dies (often not even then) or if the person is literally not capable to “stand on their feet”. With that drill, mental, emotional, and psychological “switches” become more reactive.
I learned to be responsive and I've created in all sorts of states of mind and under all sorts of conditions. On the other hand, the creative process can be applied as a regulatory activity, through which the creator is slowly attuning to herself while at the same time reducing whatever is the cause of imbalance.
I never thought that a universal or ideal state of mind for creating exists. There are creators who need some sort of pressure to be more productive or well concentrated. They are others that block if they have been exposed to too much distress around a specific process. I believe that the creative process becomes an internal and very much personalized dynamic which conditions overall psychological balance. And as with everything else in behavioural patterning, it depends on the habits we expose ourselves to.
In my case, I am exposed to a lot of multitasking, in which I process, think and create in my mind a lot, before I sit down to materialize the ideas. Ideas are never singular, they multiply and they grow from each other. I create in a condensed amount of time and I always work on several projects at the same time. That sometimes looks like a disciplined and organized approach but also sometimes hurls toward entropy. What actually “does the work” is exactly the time when I don’t do anything, and my back-processor, being a subconsciousness or simply non-obvious psychological processing, is doing “something”. That is where transformation is rooted, and where creativity is slowly sprouting from.
As a professional musician I’ve been dealing with “creative crises” already at an early age and learned how to overcome them. Performing psychology has specific structuring but it's certainly not unfathomable, and the great pleasure is to have fantastic mentors. I was lucky to work with some really incredible people, and I am dedicated to passing the knowledge onto my students.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
Nowadays soothing sensations triggered by sound and music are often mistaken for having healing power. In reality, they don't even come close. A person needs to be ready and articulated to be able to heal, and especially with such abstract means as with music. The transformative power of music works only if a person is capable of embracing change and apply it to the healing process.
My point is, to call healing on something we first need to acknowledge and articulate the trauma. We are exposed to a spectrum of possibilities of how we could employ sound constructs. From basic frequency manipulation applied to brain waves to energy attuning, from connecting with the collective past through the history of music to personal cognitive memory tracing. But the astonishing history of spiritual anthropology that uses sound in ritualistic practices tells us that we have a pretty strong root for sound-healing conceptualization that might be a bit more complex, or to interpret it freely - multidimensional.
I am very much interested in primordial resonance and resonant fields that are embedded in all-pervading nature (in a cosmological sense). I am quite aware of the physics of sound and its role in energy distribution within an environment. I admit I experimented on myself a lot, and it is much more difficult for me to enter the state of passive listening, than the other way around. I see huge potential in improvisational music as self-regulatory process, and I see a huge potential for a culture of sound that can support transcendence and energy balancing through employing instruments made from specific materials. A great example of this practice is the instrument laboratory by Jochen Fassbender.
I don’t believe that putting a sound-bath-instrument on your chest will do much healing. The approach to healing has to be thorough and deeply involved in underlying content, which is usually a very specific traumatic construct. In this sense, I appreciate more the practice of Jill Purce, who developed sound practice within the practice of a phenomenological therapy called Family Constellations.
Regarding negative notions, my focus falls on an anxious political discourse comprehending socio-cultural manipulation through sound in consumerism. Considering that we cannot close our ears as we can shut our eyes, we get exposed and manipulated on every step, unaware that the overall cacophony of the busy social life actually acts formatively on our brain and nervous system.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses – and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
For me the most inspiring overlap is hearing and the sense of touch, it developed from fine and micro motor skills a violin player acquires. The one I enjoy the most is proprioception overlapping with hearing but also involving the skin. This sort of overlap we find in contemporary dance especially physical theatre and contact improvisation.
The most common overlap we find in AV performance where sound and vision are melted into an immersive experience. Every sensory information is a multimodal transmitting compound, while most of the perception is actually happening in neural networks. The nervous system, as an extension of our brain, is much more “involved” than we give it a credit. According to the studies of bio- energetics, it is also deeply embedded into body energy centres.
My concern as a sound researcher is this constant insisting that we listen with our ears. We don’t listen with our ears, ears are more important for quite some metabolic processes in body-mind regulation. I often engage multisensory perception in my work in order to explore or re-imagine certain psychological aspects. That way ideas become embodied, rooted in a sensory experience that is funnelling attention toward the desired state.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
It is not a job, it is a way of life, therefore my life and the ways I chose to live are a political statement. And when I say political I don’t refer to a specific bureaucratic framework, but to a comprehensive synthesis of social, both human and non- human, organization.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
Words are vehicles, sounds are the fuel. Sound transforms and can never die. I am pretty certain that sound exists in death, since we do know that we are deeply connected to the environment through sympathetic resonance. Music reaches and triggers beyond obvious intellectual constructs, and there is this specific narrative people nourish about the relationship between music and the soul.
For example, I believe that the history of music has a huge potential to tell us more about the past and in much greater detail than we are paying attention to. Music takes us through time with ease. It penetrates. It abolishes death.
But let us never underestimate the power of words especially those contextualized around death. A poet will never abandon the word. Not to mention mind-blowing spiritual traditions such as Vedic Sanskrit or Kabbalah which are based on the power of the word. For me, one of the most amazing human expressions conceptualized around death by using both music and words are the Silent Songs by Valentin Silvestrov.