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Wendy Luck, Doctor of Philosophy, 2011
Major: Program in Composition, Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions
New York University
Title of Dissertation:
Flute, Voice, Muse, and Multimedia: Creating a Work of Performance Art
Copyright © 2011 Wendy Luck
This study employs a qualitative arts-based methodology that documents and describes the process of the researcher/performer’s creation and production of an original one-woman work of performance art and discusses its place in the cultural context of this genre. The researcher comes to performance art from a background of extensive training and concert experience in classical flute, later branching out to other art forms. The performance piece, Aquatic Information, that utilizes flute, voice, and multimedia presents a kaleidoscope of original compositions and experiences that include tracing stories of her ancestors who emigrated from Russia, music she recorded inside the Great Pyramid in Egypt, video and animation, comedic characters that address contemporary society, religion, and spirituality. Data include journal and Blog entries, photographs, audiotapes, videotapes, musical compositions, script of the performance, and transcripts of interviews with experts in various fields who attended theperformance. The performance and the research document are created through a bricolage process, interweaving various types of data. Although the research process started with autobiographical source material, it reached out from the personal to the universal through performative means.
Findings are derived by thematic analysis of narratives of the researcher/performer and the interview participants. The researcher’s themes include: descriptions of the creative process; the importance of healing, growth, and self-discovery as revealed through the creation of a performance work; and the vital role of technology in creative expression. Cross-case themes include: the performance was symbolic of a journey through time for both performer and audience; the performance was a healing experience for both performer and audience; the use of technology enhanced the performance both visually and musically; and suggestions were made for presenting the performance differently in the future. The researcher also reflects that retelling the stories of ancestors has a social justice aspect. Healing and social justice are prominent themes in the current cultural context of performance art. Implications for developing students, educators and professional performers suggest honoring their own creative processes, taking risks by studying a variety of art forms and experimenting with new ways of performing, and undertaking the ongoing process of creating and re-creating.