The role of music in multi-modal contexts
Although music has always been my first love, my first creative activities were in the field of crafts, then visual arts. Many of my early musical compositions formed the musical part of multi-modal works (see Collaborations). Living with a sculptor for over 35 years, and having several friends in the visual arts, I have enjoyed exploring the parallels and differences between the arts, and what effect they have on each other. While in Portugal (1994-99) I taught in a department of communication and art, where such issues moved to the forefront, and I began developing courses where students of music collaborate with the other students of the department (Design and New Technologies of Communication). In addition, I collaborated with Dudley Snidall at the Waterford Institute of Technology to coordinate a multi-disciplinary project between our two institutions, whereby a few of the music students at the University of Aveiro composed music to be used in animation projects by the students at Waterford.
The (then-)dynamic Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University was one of the primary reasons for my move back to Montreal in 1999 (complemented by the active cultural life of Montreal and fond childhood memories of Montreal autumns and winters). I worked with Silvy Panet-Raymond in Contemporary Dance and with Cilia Sawadogo in Animation to stimulate and coordinate collaborative projects between our students. Also, I worked with various colleagues in the Faculty on the establishment of clearer foundations for research in the multidisciplinary context, and helped develop the Hexagram Institute for Research & Creation in Media Arts and Technologies.
The choice of the term "multi-modal" is tentative. Like many colleagues, I often shy away from the term "multimedia" because of its prevalent use to mean a specific type of boardroom presentation. A requests for suggestions and comments on appropriate terminology forms one of the Seldom-Asked Questions (SAQs) of the initial Armchair Researcher questionnaire.
This project is now being further developed through the IMP-NESTAR project.