Gloria is a young Canadian who works in the human rights sphere. In her leisure time, Gloria likes to make music and plays in an indie band. In the social media she discovered the what-if blog. Since that time, Gloria has shared thoughts about her Korean roots and her identity on that blog, composed music and personalised the multimedia installation Read me, which she now wants to present at a gallery in Canada. The installation is part of an arts-based research project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF.
High art – inspiring a young audience
With the help of TransCoding, the project manager Barbara Lüneburg from the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Graz wants to encourage young adults between 20 and 35 to take an interest in art and, what is more, let them participate in the art process. “This age group is more often attuned to popular culture and therefore hard to reach for contemporary and experimental art”, explains Lüneburg. The trained violinist has made a name for herself as someone who likes to move freely between genres and art forms and as a specialist of new music. For a long time she has also been engaged in research on the topics of “concert aura” and “collaboration”. In this context, Lüneburg explores how artists can engage with the audience and how (young) people can be motivated to address issues that affect them by means of art.
Social media as a pivotal point
In order to reach her target audience, Lüneburg chose “identity” as the artistic theme of the FWF project. “A topic that concerns everyone”, notes the musician. Hence, the question she puts to the “community” concerns the nature of identity and what it means to them. “In this way, the project enables a young audience to participate both in an art process and societal discourse across socio-cultural boundaries”, says Barbara Lüneburg. Since February 2014, which saw the start of the project and the ensuing launch of various online platforms, an international network of more than 800 interested individuals, young artists and professionals has emerged. The blog constitutes the central medium for exchanges about music, text contributions and creative processes.
Participation via “art selfies”
The first composition entitled What if we had wings?, based on the art concept of the project leader, was premiered at the European Researchers Night 2015. The piece integrated personal desires and wishes sent in by the members of the network to the blog operators upon a call for entry. Another work of art arising from the project is the above-mentioned installation Read me. Upon request, Lüneburg will personalise it for members of the community as she did with the input from Gloria. “The people get very involved in such a thing, because it creates something that relates to them. And there is no fear or shyness because it is their own thing. – Even if it is transformed into multi-media art.” In Gloria’s version Read me presents texts that the young woman identifies with and relates to. In the background one sees a picture of Gloria, and the music was composed by Lüneburg from Gloria’s material.
You, us and the project, Making of and Art we love are further elements of the blog in which the project team lets people have a look behind the scenes of artistic work. – “Things that you wouldn’t ever normally see”, emphasises Lüneburg. The next step in the project is the creating of an offline format in terms of a multi-media solo show for violin, live electronics and video. The aim is to create cross-links between popular and high culture. Altogether it was a multi-layered and time-consuming project, summarised the project head. On the internet one has to build a community step by step, by launching calls for entries, running contests and addressing topics that everyone can relate to. Some good progress has been made, and the network thrives on all four continents, from Europe to India and the Canadian-Arctic archipelago where the young lawyer Gloria is currently working.
From a scientific perspective, the TransCoding project seeks to offer a change of perspective from the retrospective academic investigation of a work of art to an art project where the participative online and offline network explores the role of the artist and challenges an academic approach. – The aim is to enable more permeability and mutual influence. Lüneburg is convinced that this could also trigger a process of democratisation among artists.
On 1 October 2015, Barbara Lüneburg was appointed senior scientist at the Artistic Doctoral School at the Graz University of Music and the Performing Arts. Her doctoral thesis investigated the creative potential of performers in contemporary music, and she teaches in the field of new media and arts-based research. As a musician, Lüneburg is an internationally recognised soloist and chamber musician and also directed her own ensemble for contemporary music, ensemble Intégrales. Her repertoire covers a broad range from Bach to New Music and multimedia. The arts-based science project TransCoding will run until 2017.