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Title: Encountering the hidden worlds of musical objects
Authors: Parkinson, Adam Douglas
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis articulates an approach to our musical interactions with sounds and technologies influenced by Object Oriented Philosophy and the thought of Gilles Deleuze. The research question is borne out of the practice itself and the questions it poses: how to make sense of my own relationship with sounds as a listener, improviser and composer, and how to understand my engagement with the technologies which mediate this relationship. The most prominent technology I encounter is the laptop, which throughout my practice is used as a musical instrument, and a large part of my research also involves the development of a sensor instrument which utilises the Apple iPhone. The research thus serves as an exploration of both the laptop-as-instrument and certain ‘post laptop’ possibilities, alongside the development of a framework within which to critically consider our relationships to these new instruments. Music involves multiple ‘objects’, a concept which includes (but is not limited to) sounds, songs, instruments, speakers, performers and listeners. Object Oriented Philosophy tells us that these objects are withdrawn: they possess ‘hidden worlds’ or reservoirs of potential that we do not exhaust through any one encounter. Sounds and instruments can be always be used in different ways and reveal different qualities through the networks they are placed in. Listening and playing are construed as being a challenge to find the hidden potentials and affordances in sounds, through changing the way we listen or recontextualising or reworking the sound itself: a range of different strategies for approaching sounds is discussed. I also bring this approach to new instruments - such as laptops, sensor instruments or electronics set-ups - asking what their unique affordances and ‘hidden worlds’ are, and how they might not be actualised should we approach them with fixed ideas about what instruments, performance and music are.
Description: PhD Thesis Multimedia items accompanying this thesis to be consulted at Robinson Library
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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