DXG #6: Thinking with Improvisation Critically

Thursday 7 December 2023

Live performances by Maria Chávez, Lore Lixenberg, Elaine Mitchener and Shiori Usui. (In-person)

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Thursday 7 December 2023, 19:00 - 20:30

Cooper Gallery
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design,
13 Perth Road,

Cooper Gallery
Booking required?

An experimental music/sound performance that explores the idea of the improvisation with and of that which is understood as Blackness within that which is understood as culture. 

Live performances by Maria Chávez, Lore Lixenberg, Elaine Mitchener and Shiori Usui.

This live event forms part of The Ignorant Art School Sit-in Curriculum #3 programmed in collaboration with the Department for Xenogenesis.


The performance is free and open to all. Book a ticket via Eventbrite.

Audience Info

In-person at Cooper Gallery. The four performances will happen across both floors of the gallery.
Alcoholic drinks will be served. Non alcoholic refreshments will also be available.

performer head shots


Born in Lima, Peru and based in NYC, Maria Chávez is best known as an abstract turntablist, sound artist and DJ. Chavez’s abstract turntablism work is known for taking the detritus of vinyl and repurposing them into sonic sculptures that can sometimes be compared to improvised musique concrete pieces, or, conceptually, improvised sonic sculpture sessions. Maria is the only turntablist in the world that was performing with a rare double headed needle called the RAKE. Chavez’s 2012 book on abstract turntablism, Of Technique: Chance Procedures on Turntable, written and illustrated by Maria, has developed a reputation as both an academic resource and a foundational text for a new generation of turntablists. 

Maria was on the cover of the Wire Magazine, UK (March, 2023) and is also on the cover of the textbook on the History of Experimental & Electronic music by Routledge Publishing.

Lore Lixenberg is an opera maker and vocalist. Her own work extends into coding, soundart, radiophonic work, film and direction according to the needs of the idea. Having studied with Galina Vishnevskaya and David Mason as a mezzo soprano, she went on to apply operatic voice to physical theatre with UK based, leCoq trained, Theatre de Complicite and the revolutionary controversial comedy club, KUUUB ZARATHUSTRA. She has also performed worldwide as a mezzo premiering many new works written for her voice in music festivals and opera houses working closely on productions with composers such as Acquaviva, Aperghis, Oliveros, Hind, Stockhausen, Turnage and Wishart.

Studies in composition with Maxwell Davies, Saxton, Woolrich and Vores, led her to harnessing the voice in her own works, including ‘200 Birdsong Studies by Lore Lixenbenbird and Birds’, ‘INNANACARA’, ‘theVoicePartyOperaBotFarm[myMuseIsMyFury] winning the Phonurgianova international soundart prize 2021.

Elaine Mitchener is a British Afro-Caribbean vocalist, movement artist and composer working between contemporary/experimental new music, free improvisation and visual art. She is a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist (2021-26); a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellow (2022) and an exhibiting artist in the British Art Show 9 (2021-22). Elaine is founder of the collective electroacoustic trio The Rolling Calf (with Jason Yarde and Neil Charles). In March 2024, DAAD  Gallery (Berlin) will host Mitchener’s first performative exhibition curated by The Otolith Collective. 

Originally from Japan, Shiori Usui is a BBC Proms commissioned composer, improvising musician (playing inside and under piano and noise vocal), and performer based in Dundee. Shiori is currently developing a sensory theatre show for/with disabled young people in a hydro-pool, using sound and music as core materials of the work.  

The Otolith Group is an award-winning artist led collective founded by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun in 2002.

Their moving image, audio works, performances and installations are characterized by an engagement with the legacies and potentialities of diasporic futurisms that explore modes of temporal anomalies, anthropic inversions and synthetic alienation.

Approaching curation as an artistic practice of building intergenerational and cross-cultural platforms, the collective has been influential in critically introducing particular works of artists such as Chris Marker, Harun Farocki, Anand Patwardhan, Etel Adnan, Black Audio Film Collective, Sue Clayton, Mani Kaul, Peter Watkins, and Chimurenga in the UK, US, Europe, and Lebanon.

About the exhibition

...But There Are New Suns is the first major exhibition in Scotland by the Turner Prize nominated artist collective The Otolith Group; and is the third iteration of The Ignorant Art School: Five Sit-ins towards Creative Emancipation.

13 October – 16 December
Monday – Saturday, 12–5pm

Read more on our exhibition page.


The gallery is on two floors. First floor has ramped access and disabled toilet.

Second floor is accessible via lift and for wheelchair access via a stairclimber. The event will take place on both levels of the gallery.

Please email in advance if you require lift or stairclimber access so we can arrange support.

Large print versions of the exhibition information handout are available, please ask our Guides.

If you require live captions for the discussion please email to request.

All enquiries please contact: exhibitions@dundee.ac.uk


Funding support

The Ignorant Art School at Cooper Gallery, DJCAD is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. 

Image credit

Maria Chávez by Alicia Gardès
Lore Lixenberg by Ross Fraser McLean
Elaine Mitchener, The Rolling Calf 2 by D Djuric
Shiror Usui by Sarah Smart

Logo block. Cooper Gallery, DJCAD, Creative Scotland, National Lottery Funded

Cooper Gallery

Event type Gallery event
Event category Design and Art