As a relatively casual musician, I admit I had some personal reservations going into this research project. I certainly would not consider myself an expert on the music of 1920’s Paris. However, it would seem that I find myself in good company, each member of this team bringing a variety of skills to the table.
Because the ultimate goal of this research project is to create an interactive map of the 1924 musical geography of Paris, I feel that the research is and should be directed especially towards the elements that construct the experience of 1924 Paris: spatially, visually, and, of course, audibly. In plotting the various events which took place over the course of the year, we are attempting to recreate a snapshot of Parisian life during a time of continental fluctuation and change. Using the map allows us to orient our research in terms of space; combined with photos and SoundBits, the spatial awareness transforms knowing or analyzing the musical scene into experiencing it. This seems to me to be an important if subtle distinction.
Moreover, we are designing this map for a potentially wide-ranging audience. Ostensibly, the map (and our research blog) will be accessible to the students and faculty of the St. Olaf community. I imagine, though, that in the oceanic vastness of the internet, the work that we accomplish here might even be of use to others beyond our community; as a result, we have to keep in mind the diversity of our audience in formulating our research.
As an art history and medieval studies major, I think that an acute awareness of the audience and the use of our findings is one of the skills and perspectives that I can bring to the table. In addition, I have an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of the arts, as in ballet or opera, and the interaction between the occasionally arbitrary categories of ‘artist’ or ‘musician’ or otherwise…I am naturally analytical and inquisitive, so anything that my team members put forward I will eagerly follow further. It also cannot hurt that, in addition to a proficient comprehension of French, I am also fluent in German, which may allow me to access a variety of sources related to our project.
While working on this project, I would also like to pursue the findings of a previous summer’s research on various art dealers and historians who were active in the first half of the 20th century (like Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler or the elusive C.T. Loo). Hopefully, I will be able to incorporate my interest on that subject into the research on the musical geography of Paris in order to create a cohesive paper that I can either present at an undergraduate research conference or file for future applications. Most of all, I look forward to the chance to develop my French language and software skills and to gain valuable research through this project while contributing to the efforts of the team.
Juan Gris. “Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler”. 1921-2. Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 12 June 2015. Web. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Juan_Gris,_Daniel-Henry_Kahnweiler,_1921-2.jpg