Call for contributions 2016-17

Traduction française

“Use of Graphic Scores in Artistic Acts”

Presentation of the problem

Since 1950, at the initiative of composers such as Morton Feldman, John Cage, Earl Brown, Sylvano Bussotti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Cornelius Cardew, Anestis Logothetis (etc.), the use of graphic scores, requiring performers themselves to decide the meaning of the signs inscribed on paper, has been largely experimented. These practices have resulted in a major controversy on the impossibility of determining how a sound result could be attributed without ambiguity to a specific score written by a particular composer (see for example Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols, Hackett Publishing, 1968). The concept of a work of art as the ideal creative object produced by a specific author was directly questioned.

In 1969, the architect Lawrence Halprin, in collaboration with the choreographer Ann Halprin, presented in a book, The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment (G. Brazilier, 1970), the idea that in all creative processes, a score (S of RSVP) was present in graphic form (as for example architectural plans), and consequently any graphic form could be used to determine productions in all the different artistic domains: using materials (resources, R of RSVP, value systems (V) and particular processes (P).

After a period of intensive experimentation (1950-70), it seems that the use of graphic scores in Western contemporary music has practically disappeared. However, the use of graphic scores can be found in a more anonymous manner in musical practices in which improvisation takes an important place: the score is no longer considered as a major object of identification of a work of art, but as a simple tool (among others) for developing forms. In this context, graphic scores play an important role in instrumental and vocal pedagogy, allowing a reflection on sound production to take place and on how this can be contemplated in a collective context.

Today, it seems interesting to attempt to see to what extent the phenomenon of graphic scores continues to play a role in artistic practices. The broadened definition of “graphic score” in the context of this call for contributions can be as follows:

A graphic form, combinations of visual signs, determining actions realized by human beings according to various modalities. Or on the contrary, actions realized by human beings producing some graphic forms according to various modalities.

A graphic form can be a source of action for music, dance, theatre, poetry, etc. In the case of music, the signs of the traditional musical notation are not excluded, but the task of transforming the signs into sounds, has to be determined (at least in part) by the performer.


A new line: “Graphic Scores”

In the perspective of an evolving internet site or digital space, PaaLabRes envisages another new multimedia form for the coming year: a new line would be added to the ‘metro map’, called “Graphic Scores” – similar to the central line “Cartographie PaaLabRes” of the existing version:

  1. The stations on the Graphic Scores line would be composed of extracts of performances of graphic scores (for example a sound track accompanied with the score)
  2. Travelling between stations would be composed by texts (collages) providing a transition between the artistic content of one station and that of the next one on the line.
  3. Some stations (maximum 3 or 4) would comprise referent research texts relative to the use of graphic scores.


Call for contributions

The collective PaaLabRes (Lyon, France), in the perspective of developing its digital space, calls for contributions in the realm of artistic practices using graphic scores. The call implies three types of contribution:

  1. An extract of an artistic act using a graphic score combining a graphic support and its artistic rendering – performance or other forms (maximum 5 minutes in duration). For example the sound track can be accompanied with a visual track, showing the score itself (which would have to be free of rights). This is only one example among other forms which can be proposed.
  2. Same constraints as in (1), but this time using exclusively an extract from the score Treatise by Cornelius Cardew (Peters Edition, 1963-67).
  3. Research articles (no limit of size) on the general subject of graphic scores as defined above. Our intent is to publish only three or four such contributions.

For propositions (1) and (2), a text (in English, could be very short, and maximum 1500 words) should mandatorily accompany the artistic content. This corresponds to PaaLabRes’ initial intent to systematically associate in each of its projects, research and invented artistic forms. We propose for this text three possible forms:

  1. A text describing the processes used by the participant(s) in the realization of the graphic score.
  2. A free text, which can be poetical or expressing some ideas to juxtapose to the artistic realization.
  3. A text dealing with theoretical aspects linked to the processes.

This text will be translated in French. It will be used by the PaaLabRes editorial committee to build, through collage procedures, a transition between two stations, mixing two texts belonging to two adjacent stations, with eventual additions by the editorial committee. All the texts will be published integrally, but in a format chosen by PaaLabRes. Different character fonts will allow the reader to identify the authors of the texts. If possible, an English version will eventually be also presented.



Closing date for submission of proposals: December 31, 2016.
Announcement of accepted proposals by PaaLabRes: February 1, 2017.
Publication of the new version of the digital space PaaLabRes: May/June 2017.
Proposals should be sent to contribution[]paalabres[]org
If you have questions concerning this call for contributions, they can be sent to the same address.


Other contributions

Furthermore, PaaLabRes is seeking contributions to add to the existing lines in its digital space: “Improvisation”, “Recherche artistique” (Artistic research), “Politique” (Political), and “Compte-rendu de pratique” (Projects and actions), the English Editorial in particular. Note: the line « Cartographie PaaLabRes » (PaaLabRes cartography)
is definitively constituted, there is no plan to add new contributions to it. We encourage a diversity of forms in the contributions: research articles, free or poetical texts, videos, sound tracks, graphic forms, hybrid multimedia forms, etc.

These contributions can be sent at any time to this address: contribution[]paalabres[]org


General Information

The submitted texts can be in French or English. In the first case, they will be presented with an English abstract. In the second case, they will be published in English with a French abstract, or if possible in a bilingual version. The English texts already published will be translated in French with references to their initial publication.

The members of PaaLabRes collective form the editorial committee, which will determine the content of the digital space.

The members of the production committee are: Samuel Chagnard , Jean-Charles François, Noémi Lefebvre and Nicolas Sidoroff.


Download the Call for contributions (3p, letter format, 148Mo)