Aberrant Nuptials

Paulo de Assis, Lucia D’Errico, Marlene Monteiro Freitas

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 21, 2017
venue: Handelsbeurs Concertzaal
format: concert
practice: music and sound
keywords: Robert Schumann, Roland Barthes

abstract video about the author(s)


The two parts of this performance expose two different takes on experimental performance practices: Part I: Aberrant Decodings—explores the powers of divergence, proposing simulacral renderings of Baroque and Classical pieces; Part II: Rasch25: vers la nuit—stages a dialogue between music, philosophy, and imagery, shattering semiotic boundaries.

Aberrant Decodings

Lucia D’Errico, concept, composition, guitars, laptop, digital images
Marlene Monteiro Freitas, dance

In the performance Aberrant Decodings the figure of the interpreter of Western notated art music is questioned and challenged in favour of an experimental attitude towards past musical woks. The performance takes place in the form of a “recital,” staging pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, Giulio Caccini, Sigismondo d’India, Athanasius Kircher, Claudio Monteverdi, Robert Schumann, and Nicola Vicentino. Yet, instead of presenting the pieces in their original instrumental and sonic configuration, they are evoked through sounds and gestures unrecognisable as belonging to their pastness: electronics, guitars, dance. The interpreter turns into the operator, a figure that instead of replicating, reproducing, reconstructing the past, emphasises the potential in it latent for the emergence of the new.

Whereas execution and interpretation relate to an ideal and aprioristic sonic image of the musical work (as Platonic copies), Aberrant Decodings produces simulacra: performance becomes a sonic “image” that relates to what is different from it (the musical work expressed by a score) by means of difference, and not by attempting to construct a (supposed) identity. In this process, internal resemblance is negated, together with the idea of composition as origin and performance as its telos.

The physical presence of the operator on stage is double: on one end the musician, whose body exposes various degrees of involvement with sound production (from hyperphysical engagement with the instrument to evaporation into electronic sound); on the other end the dancer, whose body is traversed by the de-anatomising affective power of sound- music.

Rasch25 : vers la nuit

Paulo de Assis, concept and piano
Lucia D’Errico, concept, guitars, video and sound projection
Juan Parra Cancino, live electronics and sound projection
Marlene Monteiro Freitas, turntable

Raschx is a series of mutational performances based upon two basic materials: Robert Schumann’s piano phantasies Kreisleriana, op. 16 (1838), and Roland Barthes’s essays on the music of Schumann, in particular “Rasch” (1979), a text exclusively dedicated to Kreisleriana. To these materials other components are added for every single version: pictures, videos, other texts, or further sonic elements, such as recordings or live- electronics. Situated beyond interpretation, hermeneutics, and aesthetics, this series is part of wider research on what might be labelled experimental performance practices— practices that productively deviate from conventional (repetitive) performative strategies, and that transform familiar artistic objects into objects for thought. They generate a network of aesthetic-epistemic cross-references, through which the listener has the freedom to focus on different layers of perception: be it on the music, on the texts being projected or read, or on the images.

Rasch25: vers la nuit particularly explores the relations between recorded and performed music, between a music one listens to and a music one plays on an instrument: “They are two entirely different arts, each with its own history, sociology, aesthetics, erotics” (Barthes in “Rasch”). Listened music implies a passive mode of perception, enabling romantic dreams of artistic autonomy, while the music one plays is a muscular music, viscerally involving and requiring the beating body of the performer. This music contains something inaudible, something for which audition is not the exact mode, something that opens     a wide horizon of expressions, the limits of which seem to be early-Beethoven’s quasi- parlando (on one end) and Alban Berg’s cry of Marie (on the other end). “In Schumann, a whole learned labor has this sober and simple result: deterritorialize the refrain, produce a deterritotialized refrain as the final end of music, release it in the Cosmos, opening the assemblage onto a cosmic force” (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus).


about the author(s)

Paulo de Assis

Paulo de Assis is Fellow Researcher at the Oprpheus Institute, Ghent and  general chair of the DARE conferences. He is an artist-researcher with transdisciplinary interests on Philosophy, French Post-Structuralism, and Epistemology.

He studied Piano with Vitaly Margulis and Alexis Weissenberg (a.o.) and Musicology with Jürg Stenzl and André Richard (a.o.), receiving a PhD and a post-doctoral appointment on the works of Luigi Nono. Commissioned by the Foundation Giorgio Cini (Venice, 2003), he completed Camillo Togni’s Piano concerto—a piece that remained unfinished at the composer’s death.

Between 2009 and 2012 he was Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music (CESEM) at the University Nova Lisbon and Research Fellow at the Orpheus Research Centre in Music [ORCiM].

For the period 2013-2018 he was granted a European Research Council Starting Grant for the project “Experimentation versus Interpretation: exploring new paths in music performance in the twenty-first century,” hosted at the Orpheus Institute, in Ghent (Belgium). He has authored two books (on the music of Luigi Nono and Camillo Togni) and edited four others (on music notation and on contemporary composers).

info & contact


Orpheus Institute, Ghent, BE


paulo.deassis [AT] orpheusinstituut.be



Lucia D’Errico

Lucia D’Errico is an artist devoted to experimental music, performing on acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, oud, and several other plucked string instruments. As a performer and improviser, she collaborates with contemporary music groups and with theatre, dance, and visual art companies. She studied classical guitar at Conservatorio B. Marcello in Venice and modern languages at Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice. Currently, she is undertaking doctoral research (ME21 at Orpheus Institute Ghent, docARTES programme at Leuven University) on recomposing Baroque music. She is also active as a freelance graphic designer.

info & contact


Orpheus Institute, Ghent and KU Leuven, BE


lucia.derrico [AT] orpheusinstituut.be



Marlene Monteiro Freitas

Marlene Monteiro Freitas was born in Cabo Verde where she was co-founder and member of the dance group Compass. She studied at P.A.R.T.S. (Brussels), at E.S.D. and at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon). She worked with Emmanuelle Huynn, Loic Touzé, Tânia Carvalho, Boris Charmatz, among others. Her creations include Of Ivory and Flesh—Statues also Suffer (2014); Paradise—Private Collection (2012–13); (M)imosa (2011), a project developed with Trajal Harell, François Chaignaud, and Cecilia Bengolea; Guintche (2010); A Seriedade do Animal (2009–10); Uns e Outros (2008); A Improbabilidade da Certeza (2006); Larvar (2006); Primeira Impressão (2005). The common denominator of these works is openness, impurity, and intensity. She is the co-founder of P.OR.K, a structure of production based in Lisbon.

info & contact


Independent dancer


geral [AT] pork.pt