#1 Posūkiai, lūžiai ir žvilgsniai

Benjamin Piekut

"Postmusic, Presound: Assembling Sound Art"

Balandžio 5

This presentation considers some methodological questions about the historiography of sound art, arguing that existing scholarship has failed to define its object: sound art was a concept that emerged historically and socially around 1980 in English, and soon thereafter in German. This concept, I will contend, came into shape in response to a varied problematization of the category “music” across diverse artistic practices of the postdisciplinary avant-garde after 1960. I conclude the presentation by framing sound art in relation to a global contemporary artworld that one influential theorist has labeled “the postcolonial constellation,” characterized by discrepant relationships to the histories of capitalism and socialism and marked by variegated experiences of time.

Benjamin Piekut studies music and performance after 1960 and is currently researching the history of sound art. His monograph, Experimentalism Otherwise: The New York Avant-Garde and its Limits, was published in 2011 by the University of California Press. Situated at the intersection of free jazz, the Cagean avant-garde, Fluxus, radical politics, and popular music, the book portrays New York experimentalism in the 1960s as a series of conflicts, struggles, and exclusions. His second monograph, Henry Cow: The World Is a Problem, was published in 2019 by Duke University Press; beyond documenting the history of the British rock band, it analyzes the movement of experimentalism into popular music domains and how such transformations might suggest a reformulation of theories of the avant-garde. 

He is also the editor of two books. The first, Tomorrow is the Question (Michigan, 2014) explores new corners of experimental music history, most notably those in popular culture, in performance and recordings, and in sites outside of North America. The second, the Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (co-edited with George E. Lewis), is a two-volume set with 60 contributors from the arts, humanities, social, and natural sciences (2016). With David Nicholls, he co-edited a special issue of Contemporary Music Review for John Cage’s 100th birthday, and he co-edited an issue of Third Text on amateurism in 2020 with Julia Bryan-Wilson.

He has published articles in a wide range of journals. His essay, “Deadness,” co-authored with Jason Stanyek, received the “Outstanding Article Award” in 2011 from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. He is a professor and chair of the department of music at Cornell University.

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Susitinkame 14 val. Vilniaus dailės akademijos 102 aud. (VDA C1 pastatas, Malūnų g. 3, Vilnius).