Doctoral Project Artistic Research

Voice-shifting as a Method: Eco-Gods in Future Orthodox Chants

Sanja Anđelković

Voice-shifting as a Method: Eco-Gods in Orthodox Chants

“Voice-shifting as a Method: Eco-Gods in Orthodox Chants” proposes an alternate reading of the Serbian/Slavic Orthodox chant. The project strategically observes chants as a form of Serbian state nationalism. Examining Serbian Orthodox chants as the only official state performance ritual that re-emerged after the fall of the Former Yugoslavia, looking into their historical contexts— during the Byzantine era and its pagan roots. The research takes the elements of Orthodox chants (e.g. form, narrative, melody, rhythm, and performance) out of their customary thematic/narrative patristic [1] binary uses, and recontextualizes these elements with an eye toward possible future eco-narratives. It changes the narrative and its discourse-what it is sung about, who it is sung to, and how it is composed. The proposed project will look into chants not only as sound morphologies but as cultural phenomena. By detaching them from the experience of the patristic past and the inherited narratives that church rituals enclose, my project proposes to create new narratives that relate to the present time and think about possible futures that take current anthropogenic ecological events into account. Using the narrative strategy of speculative fabulation, the work will weave complex myths into transnational experiences, capturing and complicating the idea of ​​cultural heritage. In this research I will contemplate the following questions: What can we learn from insects to facilitate voice-shifting? How might performing chant not to God (a singular, male, anthropomorphic figure) but with and about insects— disrupt previous institutional alignments and make room for new identifications?

[1] Patristics (or patrology) is a theological science that presents the history and content of the teachings of the church fathers. The patristic tradition has the character of a dogmatic synthesis on which the apostles, apologists, martyrs, confessors, ecclesiastical writers, and fathers of the Church worked.