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Saturday March 16 | Session 15:05 - 16:35 (20 min)
De Brakke Grond | Steegzaal
In this paper I will examine the role of the institution in musical practice, exploring how institutional forms shape the kinds of subjectivities that can exist in these institutions. My two primary theoretical sources will be work on ‘institutional practice’ by the psychotherapist and activist Félix Guattari, and the musicologist and anthropologist Georgina Born’s recent work on musical mediation. Through these thinkers I will consider how music’s varied institutional forms have served on one hand to restrain the mutability of musical practices and foreclose the subjective capacities of those within it, and on the other have provided the conditions for previously unforeseen routes of musical inquiry and allowed for an active production of subjectivity.

I will study this through two primary examples: the ‘New Conceptualism’ that has reintroduced a form of institutional critique into New Music over the last decade, and the AACM, a non-profit organisation founded in Chicago in 1965 to catalyse the development of a diverse range of black musical practices. Contrasting New Conceptualism’s critical perspective on the institution of New Music with the AACM’s experimental institution-building, I will draw on Guattari’s notion of the ‘three ecologies’ and Born’s four-plane schema of musical mediation to argue that a pluralistic mode of analysis, accommodating a variety of different social and political planes, is necessary to account for how musical institutions shape the subjective positions and capacities to act of those who are part of them.

Iain Campbell is a visiting researcher at Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh, and a member of the Scottish Centre for Continental Philosophy. He has written on topics across philosophy, music, sound studies, and art theory for publications including parallax and Contemporary Music Review. He holds a PhD from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University, with a thesis exploring experimental practices of music and philosophy in the work of John Cage and Gilles Deleuze. He has lectured at the University of Brighton, and is a member of the editorial board of Evental Aesthetics.
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