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Un/doing science/fiction: artistic research methods in the anthropology of sound and music 
Bernd Brabec (University of Innsbruck)
Matthias Lewy (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts)
Victor A. Stoichita (CNRS (LESC/CREM))
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Thursday 25 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

The value of imagination and fiction in writing and performing music and sound research deserves scrutiny and critical examination. We welcome reports about experiments and best practice suggestions for methods of doing and undoing science and fiction in, and beyond, music and sound scholarship.

Long Abstract:

Contemporary anthropological and ethnomusicological research in music and sound is often complemented by artistic research and writing methods. The ambiguous nature of the research object—music—invites artistic experiments that may generate certainties and knowledge where scholarly methods are challenged. For example, asymmetrical power relations among researchers, the researched, and research funders demand ethical considerations. Epistemological or ontological incommensurability awaits translation and communication; often, one stakeholder’s “reality” appears as “fiction” to the other. For instance, Indigenous ritual songs are often directed towards or stem from “the spirits”—entities that carry a fictitious quality for most research funders. Can fiction help bridge the gap between their requirements for “innovation” and those of collaborative ethnography, where researchers should ideally “not say anything above” of what the research partners have to say (Lassiter 2005:14)? In some situations, researchers cannot openly speak while preserving their associates’ safety. Michael Taussig proposed writing in a “fairytale mode” to protect individuals but also “to heighten, not to diminish, reality” (2012:ix). In contemporary art music composition, AI and “black box” algorithms are increasingly used to heighten creativity; dealing with them can be reminiscent of the ways Indigenous ritualists handle the “fictitious” spirits. Anticipation is another exercise in imagination where social sciences meet fictional writing: Futurology recently received increased interest in anthropology (e.g., “Futurofolies,” Terrain 79, 2023). How can music, as a realm of sonic fiction, be combined with writing to envision alternate versions of the future? Can arts and performance aid to more symmetrically generate and warrant knowledge?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -