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Title: From active to passive noise :rethinking the radicalism of Japanese noise music
Authors: Potts, Adam Simon
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In recent years noise has gained theoretical momentum as a concept used to consider the complexity of difference in both culture and art. Despite a great degree of variance between its authors, there is nevertheless a common insistence within noise theory that noise must be thought negatively. Particularly in accounts of Japanese noise music, noise is construed as oppositional to musicality and meaning traditionally understood. This thesis aims to reassess this claim with the argument that the true alterity of Japanese noise music cannot be reduced or essentialised to the categories of negativity and radicalism. It will be argued that the language of this music is predicated on a fundamental absence that makes any essential categorisation impossible. Drawing on twentieth-century continental philosophy, particularly the work of Maurice Blanchot, this thesis will develop an entangled relationship between two different, although fundamentally dependent, languages of noise. Chapter one will lay the theoretical groundwork for these languages by distinguishing between active noise and passive noise. If active noise names the language of negativity and radicalism through which we understand the materiality, sonority and performances of Japanese noise music, then passive noise names the way in which this language is problematised by Blanchot's challenge to atomistic and holistic thinking. Chapter two will demonstrate how an intentionless alterity, which constitutes passivity, accounts for a different idea of transgression than the kind frequently attributed to the erotic and sacrificial activities of Japanese noise music. Chapter three will continue this discussion by exploring Japanese noise music's relationship with death and impossibility. The conclusion will examine Blanchot's idea of community as a possible way of understanding the community centred around Japanese noise music. By way of summary, it will be argued that no unifying principle collectivises either the community or language of this music, because both are fundamentally predicated on an irreconcilable impossibility.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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