Multiple temporalities in intercultural musical performance: imagining the future by bringing the past into the present
(London School of Economics and Political Science)
Paper short abstract:
Looking at music improvisation in an intercultural setting, I trace how different musical and migration histories are being articulated in the microsociality and microtemporality of the musical performance and how such articulations of the pasts make imaginations of postmigratory futures possible.
Paper long abstract:
This paper draws from an ethnographic study of the Turkish-German music project Selam Opera situated at the Comic Opera Berlin. Looking at an improvised performance that took place in the context of this project, I explore how different temporalities figure in this musical performance in which various musicians with different musical and migratory biograpahies were engaged. Based on Born's (2017) notion of social aesthetics, I trace how different musical and migration histories are being articulated in the microsociality and microtemporality of these musical practices and how such articulations of the pasts make imaginations of postmigratory futures possible. Pasts, in this connection, take on a dual form. For one, individual musical trajectories inform the creative practices of the musicians. These musical biographies moreover intersect with and are shaped by specific migratory histories that thus become thelmselves active sites of creative engagment, interaction and negotiation. Such individual experiences of time, however, are also embedded in and build on longer-standing historical developments relating to both musical institutionalisation processes in Germany and Turkey, as well as to migration flows and regulations between Turkey and Germany. I explore how the practice of improvisation not only makes musical distinctions and connections between Western art music and Turkish musical traditions audible, but might also productively challenge broader hierarchies manifesting in Western musical institutions by unsettling expected creative formats and approaches to performance. I argue that through articulating musical and migratory pasts in the present setting of muscial improvisation, a postmigratory approach to aestehtics (and beyond) becomes imaginable.
Time and tradition: theorising the temporalities in and of cultural production