Conference and concerts.
// Date: 16–18/01/09
// Address: HAU 1: Stresemannstr. 29, 10963 Berlin, HAU 2: Hallesches Ufer 32, 10963 Berlin, HAU 3: Tempelhofer Ufer 10, 10963 Berlin
Curated by Tobi Müller
and Christoph Gurk
. With Jaques Attali, Tom Holert, Mark Terkessidis, Matthew Herbert Big Band, Young Marble Giants and many more.
The collapse on the financial markets may produce more dramatic consequences than the turbulence in the world of music. But both these developments have led to stories with almost religious overtones. The crisis on the stock market and in the recording industry are often described as if they were natural phenomena – as »storms that clear the air« and have the metaphysical necessity of catharsis contained within them. Doesn't the widespread derision surrounding the downfall of the big recording companies – and the quiet pleasure the Left is taking in the collapse of the money markets – contain a hope that things will change for the better? Does not that in itself reveal an astonishing faith in the power of the market to heal itself?
Probably no-one today will dispute that the erosion of the recording market, and associated businesses, caused by digitalization is a symptom of a fundamental crisis in the added value of music. The less the relationship between its financial value (the amount listeners are prepared to pay for a recording) and its “ideal” value leads to a functioning market, the more heavily it has to rely on other forms of income. The relationship between music and mass culture – and therefore also its role in social mobility – appears to be undergoing a fundamental change. In the age of digitalization, there is a threat of a deep aesthetic rift that merely reflects a social one. At one end of the spectrum, there are the cheap products that continue to be viable through sales; they culminate in ring tones. At the other end, there is a booming high-end market share serving customers with a high level of education and corresponding purchasing power that is increasingly connected with the pecuniary and cultural economies of the theater and fine arts. What was once in the middle was the universal promise of pop music.
The theme weekend Dancing With Myself – Music, Money, and Community After Digitalization
provides a forum for discussion about a future that has already begun. Far from lamenting falling sales figures, and far from the usual themes dealt with at ordinary industry conferences, we aim to examine the cultural and theoretical implications of the digitalization of music, through a plethora of lectures, discussion panels, concerts, performances and parties, as well as selected films.
Dancing With Myself
– as the intentionally polemical conference title suggests, digitalization leads to the concern that tastes will become isolated. If everyone can put together their own radio station from the internet, at some stage, all we hear is what we already know we like. The consequence of the perfect target group optimization is the completely individualized advertising profile. On the flip side, internet election campaigns and Facebook groups appear to have a tremendous mobilization potential that could lead to the birth of new communities. The campaign for Barack Obama’s election to the US presidency, organized by David Plouffe, is an impressive example of this.
Given all this, the Dancing With Myself
weekend will be about examining the social, political, and aesthetic effects that arise from this paradoxical simultaneity of interconnection and isolation – using music as an example. If need be, you really can dance alone. But talking is something that should be done in groups of at least two. Especially now, after digitalization.