Revisiting a relational approach to Electronic music performance

Marino, Luigi (2022). Revisiting a relational approach to Electronic music performance. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The relationship between people and digital processors in electronic music performance has been a widely discussed topic since the first musical applications of microprocessors at the end of the 70s by the League of Automatic Music Composers. In this dissertation I make the point that this relationship is too often reduced to the role of machine agency with problematic consequences for new applications of micro and nano processors in performance: critical misunderstandings in the chain of mediations between people and machine stem from the lack of understanding of human actors, especially regarding their intuitive processes, and not from the assessment of machine behaviour. Starting from Herbert Simon's theory of bounded rationality, the discussion highlights how this faulty assessment was among the major causes of catastrophic outcomes of recent social phenomena involving new technology. Electronic music performance is also a social phenomenon that falls in this category. To make this point, I analyse two case studies closely related to improvisation that, contrary to more common approaches, successfully integrated new media displaying more attentiveness to human intuitive processes, as they are known today according to modern neuropsychology: the Berlin's Echtzeitmusik and the New London Silence. Once the narrative of the relationship between people and machines shifts to take into account modern notions of intuition and human and nonhuman agency, we open the field for alternative approaches to integrate micro and nano processors in electronic music performance. All the discourse that follows explores these alternative approaches proposing standpoints of observation that draw from relational aesthetics and actor-network theory. The thesis ends with the presentation of a portfolio of relational works exploring the aesthetic of the relationships among a broad variety of actors, providing practice-led examples to look for new narratives to answer the question: how do the relationships between human and nonhuman actors contribute meaningfully to the aesthetic of electronic music performance?

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved All rights reserved All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Music
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music


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