Ragnhild May/Ensemble Apparat: Monstrous Multiplayer Instrument - Klang Festival Copenhagen Experimental Music Menu

Ragnhild May/Ensemble Apparat: Monstrous Multiplayer Instrument

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In the work Monstrous Instrument, a collaboration between interdisciplinary artist and composer Ragnhild May and innovative brass quartet Ensemble Apparat, the instrument's connection to the body is examined. It is a generally accepted idea that instruments can be considered an extension of the body, but often in a very singular, individual sense, where a single body is connected to a single instrument. Monstrous Instrument examines what happens when an instrument can only be played using multiple bodies. What happens when performers and instrument merge into one monstrous organism?

Monstrous Instrument takes as it's starting point an understanding of the relationship between body and instrument inspired by the American quantum physicist and new-materialist theorist Karen Barad and her concepts of entanglement and intra-action. Barad's theory contributes a post-anthropocentric way of conceiving bodies, objects, technology, and materiality: not as autonomous, singular entities, but as interwoven in a constant, dynamic relationship.

What potential does self-designed technology have as a feminist alternative to instruments designed for able, masculine bodies? Can you hack existing structures? The performance utilizes an instrument built from brass and pipefittings, a completely malleable system that can be rebuilt and assembled in different ways. Building instruments is composing. During the performance, the sculptural instrument is assembled in varying ways, and the musicians play it in different constellations. Behind the piece lies a fascination with the non-verbal intimacy that exists between musicians playing together.

In collaboration with SV-festival

Supported by 
Statens Kunstfond, KODA Kultur og Goethe-Institut Dänemark

Photo: Ragnhild May


Karens Minde Kulturhus

Wagnersvej 19 2450 København

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Ragnhild May (1988)

Artist and composer working in an interdisciplinary sculptural, performative, and sound artistic practice dealing with the cultural history of instruments and embedded gendered and bodily biases.

Ensemble Apparat

Berlin-based ensemble exploring the myriad contexts of brass instruments within new music and sound art. They have presented work at a large number of international festivals and have spearheaded numerous new large-scale chamber works for brass.