Sympoiesis and Improvisation: How I work, how you work, and how we work

Simon Rose, Paul Stapleton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Open improvisation in music is an act of sympoiesis (making-together) and the entwinement of improvisation and sympoieis could offer an important tool for reading collaborative activity across experience. In this chapter, we provide a series of narratives that form an account of what it means to make-together. In order to better understand improvisation and sympoiesis we have chosen an autoethnographic approach that allows us to look at the particular from which wider meanings may become developed. The story begins with our first encounter in 2010, improvising music alongside one another as part of a larger ensemble. Collective improvisation sets the scene, but it is also an underlying theme throughout this chapter, both within and beyond the context of music making. As our narratives extend outwards in Part 2, we continue to articulate aspects of the wider set of relations that make our making-togther possible. In Part 3, we develop themes arising from our narratives with the aid of concepts from posthumanism and enactive theory. In doing so, we articulate specific forms of participatory sense-making and other moments of shared resonance that constitute emergent and precarious networks of improvisational action. While this story is about our particular interactions, we hope that it also speaks to those with an interest in how relational dynamics in music making and other collaborative practices can be nurtured and developed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRelational improvisation: music, dance and contemporary art
Publication statusAccepted - 27 Jan 2024


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