Chris Mann (born 1949) is an Australian composer, poet and performer specializing in the emerging field of compositional linguistics,, coined by Kenneth Gaburo and described by Mann as “the mechanism whereby you understand what I’m thinking better than I do.”
Mann studied Chinese and linguistics at the University of Melbourne, and his interest in language, systems, and philosophy is evident in his work. Mann founded the New Music Centre in 1972 and taught at the State College of Victoria in the mid-1970s. He then left teaching to work on research projects involving cultural ideas of information theory and has been recognized by UNESCO for his work in that field.
Mann moved to New York in the 1980s and was an associate of American composers John Cage and Kenneth Gaburo. He has performed text in collaboration with artists such as Tom Buckner, David Dunn, Annea Lockwood, Larry Polansky, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Mann’s unique style of reading incredibly dense, parenthetical texts at a high speed has brought him recognition as a unique performer and recording artist. He has had a variety of recording projects over the years, including the ensemble Machine For Making Sense with Amanda Stewart and others, Chris Mann and the Impediments (with two backup singers and Mann reading a text simultaneously while only being able to hear one another), and Chris Mann and The Use.
Mann currently teaches in the Media Studies Graduate program at The New School in New York City.