Towards a New-Gesamt-Gesamtkunstwerke: Artistic Experiments and the Engineering of Social Consciousness

By Paulo Maria Rodrigues and Helena Rodrigues.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Four community projects (Anikibóbó, BebéBabá, Sonópolis, Viagem) developed at the Education Service of Casa da Música, Oporto, serve as the basis for a discussion about the role of art and artists in society. They are presented as contrasting experiments (in terms of time scale, communities involved -from babies with imprisoned mothers to disabled people or urban dancers, or aesthetics-music only, music/dance/theatre/film) allowing a broad view about the potential of music to be the root of innovative interdisciplinary practices that can deeply change the perception of social consciousness. Within this practice-based framework a few simple ideas emerge about the potential of Art, and Music in particular, to nurture affection, self-esteem and empowerment, and the importance of participatory, creative projects in changing the world of the people that participate in them. Several reasons might explain these effects but the physical experience of music making seems to have a pivotal role in the way people relate to music, to each other and with themselves. Within this context, a new approach seems to emerge for the longtime sought after idea of a Gesamtkunstwerke. In the New- Gesamt-Gesamtkunstwerke the composer is no longer isolated from the people he/she is creating for and at the centre of highly hierarchical system that is assembled to perpetuate his/her vision of the world. He/she becomes, instead, the catalyser of a complex network of dynamic relationships, and the art itself is far more than the crystallization in time of a set of achievements in several forms of expres-sion. The new-gesamt-gesamtkunstwerke deals with interdisciplinary as a media rather than a product and new ethic-aesthetic values need to be incorporated in order to fully understand what art is.

Keywords: Community, Interdisciplinary Artistic Practice, Social Consciousness

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.33-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 6.755MB).

Prof. Paulo Maria Rodrigues

Professor, Departamento de Comunicação e Arte, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Paulo Maria Rodrigues is a composer, performing musician and educator. After a PhD in Applied Genetics he resumed earlier music studies and studied opera and composition. His work as an educator started with composing/directing music theatre pieces for children in Musiworks, London, where he was also, an assistant at the Baylis Programme at ENO. Around 1998 he co-funded the Companhia de Música Teatral, which allowed the creation and presentation of several original projects within the realm of Theatrical Music, namely pieces for toddlers and children and interdisciplinary projects with an emphasis in technology. From 2006 to 2010 he was the coordinator of the Education Service at Casa da Música, Porto. He devised a vast program of original musical activities for a broad range of audiences and using diverse approaches to music making/creating/listening/knowing and directed several interdisciplinary artistic and community projects He presented his academic and artistic work in Portugal, Spain, UK, Finland, USA and Canada. He is a Professor at DeCA, University of Aveiro and Advanced Research Associate at the Planetary Collegium.

Prof. Helena Rodrigues

Professor, CESEM-Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

Helena Rodrigues is the Director of the Laboratory for Music and Communication in Infancy of CESEM and a Professor at the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She is one of the funders of Companhia de Música Teatral, a group that has specialized in creating artistic and educative projects that have Music at the root of interdisciplinary practice. She is a disseminator of Music Learning Theory of Edwin Gordon in Europe since 1994, and an expert in psychology of music/musical development in early childhood and infancy. She holds a Phd in Psychology from the University of Coimbra and a Piano Diploma from the Music Conservatoire of Oporto. She has attended courses in Chamber Music, Music Pedagogy, Music Psychology, Therapies, Voice and Drama and she sings regularly with the Gulbenkian Choir.


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