Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Preservation through Innovation: New Works Inspired by Tradition


Cite this article:

2022 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918,

In this Wildcard presentation at EPIC2022, violinist and composer Zosha Warpeha speaks about her artistic research in Norway, which involved an immersive study of Nordic traditional music and the development of a highly personal solo performance practice. This session illustrates a participatory model of ethnographic research through which the artist built an embodied knowledge of traditional music and laid the groundwork for artistic expansion. She speaks about aural transmission in traditional folk music, tacit knowledge attained through embodied practice, and reciprocal relationships between bodies in space. She also discusses the tension between two visions of preservation—one that captures a tradition in a single moment in time and one that allows the tradition to organically evolve alongside a community—and makes the case for the necessity of innovation as a method of preservation and resilience. This video includes a short musical performance that demonstrates the culmination of the artist’s immersive research.

Wildcards are a program category at EPIC2022 designed to inspire out-of-the-box ideas from our community. The committee invited creative proposals, of any kind, that engage with the theme of resilience—and the result is a mix of visual, interactive, contemplative, and other unique engagements.