EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Ecosystem or Technical System? Technologically-Mediated Performance and the Music of The Hub

Christopher Haworth

Christopher Haworth, School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary


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This paper represents the early stages of an attempt to think through technological mediation and temporality in electronic music; a vast question, and not one I can hope to do full justice to in these pages. But as a preliminary to further investigation, I want to take what I consider to be one of the most well developed recent theories we have for understanding and analysing highly-technologized music and essentially put it to the test: the notion of the man/machine/environment nexus as an ‘ecosystem’. The talk gives a summary of the concept in contemporary music, followed by a brief genealogy of the ecosystem metaphor in the 20th Century. It then turns to the practices of The Hub, the Bay Area network music pioneers, who have since the mid 1980s occupied a precarious space right at the vanguard of new technology adoption. What I’ll argue is that their music both utilises, and provides the basis for stretching and moving beyond, ecosystemic thinking in music.

EMS14 Proceedings