2019 - 2023, NWO Veni postdoc onderzoeksproject, ASCA/Muziekwetenschap
Hoe leeft elektroakoestische muziek voort?
Experimentele elektronische muziek is moeilijk te bewaren en opnieuw uit te voeren. Dit komt door de snel verouderende software, de ongewone apparatuur, de unieke samenwerkingsverbanden en de vluchtigheid van geluid en performance. In hoeverre is de vergankelijkheid essentieel? Wat kan wel behouden blijven? Hoe? Wie zijn daarbij betrokken?
Preservation as performance: liveness, loss and viability in electroacoustic music
Digital technologies are integrated into almost every aspect of contemporary culture. But the preservation of digital information is a complex problem: how to select what has to be preserved and how to keep it in working condition, to prevent a 'digital dark age'. In electronic art music, such preservation issues are prominent, due to the early obsolescence of new media and technology, the liveness and ephemerality of performance, its interdisciplinarity, and aesthetic, cultural and social-political developments. This is exemplary for the current crisis of contemporary cultural heritage where new media, technology, art and culture intersect.
While previous research mainly focused on technical solutions and procedures, this Veni-project will investigate processes of preservation and heritage formation in West-European electroacoustic music as related to its production, dissemination, performance, reception and aesthetics. Various human and non-human actors are surveyed, such as composers, sound engineers, performers, music publishers, electronic musical instruments, music institutes, musea, archival institutes, publication media, and music technologies. IRCAM, STEIM, PME-técnica, and twelve compositions function as research ‘nodes’. These are interesting and relevant because of their international reputations, long track records, and interconnections, and because they represent the amalgamation of composition, improvisation, instrument creation, and live performance in various ways.
By plotting actor-networks and trajectories of musical objects and by editing extended score documentations, compositions or instruments will be conceived as dynamic, evolving in time, in a network of heterogeneous actors. Musical and cultural analysis will add an aesthetic and reflective layer. This dynamic and contextual conception of musical heritage as performative practice will challenge prevalent ideas on authenticity and preservation.
Liveness, loss, viability and preservation of electroacoustic music affect all musical actors at the core. Besides disseminating my findings via academic channels, I will engage music professionals and heritage experts via workshops and other projects.