Curating Music: Understanding Material Relationality in Music Performance
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This thesis explores how a changing material relationality in music performances challenges curatorial practices in music. By analysing the artistic work of Rafaele Andrade, BUI, and Tactology Lab, I illustrate how material relations between the instrument and the performer's body, and between site and performer can be approached differently. This raises questions about how music can and ought to be curated. I aim to answer the research question: what are the curatorial implications of a changing material relationality in music performance? Drawing from relational ontology, as introduced by Karen Barad, and the insights it provided to musicology, I question the taken-for-granted dichotomies between the performer and instrument, and performer and performance site. Through the notion of somatechnics I provide an understanding of the mutual affective relationship between the performer's body and the instrument. By engaging with discourses on site-specific art and the concept of becoming-with, I introduce the notion of becoming-with-site to stress the site as an active force in site-specific music performance. At last, through theorizing curating as reality making itself, I propose to turn away from individualized and logocentric curatorial approaches. By using diffraction as a methodology I can take into account both the interdisciplinary aspects of the works discussed and my position as a researcher in relation to the research object. The analysis provides an understanding of how material relationality in music performance can impact curatorial practices. Being attentive to the way how the bodies of performers are implicated with instruments opens up new possibilities for a reality-making curatorial strategy. Through the notion of becoming-with-site it’s illustrated how performances are not only referring to reality through narratives but become part of reality itself. Lastly, I argue that structuring a curatorial project as an educational project can be a way to address the material relationality in music performance.