Accepted paper:

Recalibrating complex multi-temporality in musicking with contemporary views of complex systems


Juan M. Loaiza

Paper short abstract:

The presentation highlights a heuristic view of the complex multi-temporality of musicking. It introduces concepts from contemporary complexity-based sciences that shed light on the emergence of patterns and regularities of experience and cultural production.

Paper long abstract:

Christopher Small's concept of musicking is often praised for bringing the production of musical meaning back to the ground of actions of multiple agents -from venue cleaners to conductors. The concept is thus usually brought to bear on discussions about ethical inclusion, and democratisation. There is, however, a different aspect of Small's proposal that often remains underdeveloped. That is, a conceptual link with theories of complexity and cybernetics. Small, harking back to Bateson, casts the complexity of musicking, aesthetic experience, and cultural production in terms of a "pattern which connects" (Small, 1998). This paper takes Small's complexity-inspired view as a starting point and updates it with contemporary views of complex adaptive systems (Kauffman, 2000), synergetics (Haken, 2000) and enactivism (Thompson, 2007). The aim is to show that the 'connecting pattern' can be reframed in terms of the co-emergence of multiple dynamical processes that occur at many distinctive time scales. A focus on nested layers of self-organising processes foregrounds histories of dynamical path selection. In short, these views explain the emergence of regularities -from experience to cultural tradition- fundamentally in a dynamical / temporal way. The paper highlights a heuristic formulation of the complex multi-temporality of experience and cultural production. It proposes a mapping of time scales that represents not only different duration of processes but crucially rearranges time scales into distinctive temporal ranges according to levels of complexity. The paper discusses the intra-disciplinary advantages of this heuristic mapping, as well as the opportunities for inter-disciplinary conversation across humanities and science.

panel Cre08
Time and tradition: theorising the temporalities in and of cultural production