The Research Networking Day provides a platform to exchange ideas and experiences for students and researchers from different European graduate and postgraduate programmes traversing the fields of audio, arts, media, design and related theoretical disciplines. A yearly initiative co-organised with local universities and organisaitons, this edition is presented in collaboration with the Berlin University of the Arts, the German Association for Music Business and Music Culture Research (GMM), and Humboldt University of Berlin. The RND sought submissions from students, junior researchers and persons pursuing higher levels of research and studies to present projects and findings connected to the CTM 2020 Liminal Theme.
Research Networking Day Welcome and Opening
Anita Jóri, the scientific supervisor of the Vilém Flusser Archive, Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin, UdK), opens the Research Networking Day with a welcome and introduction. Her research and publications focus on the linguistic (discursive and terminological) aspects of electronic (dance) music culture. She studied applied linguistics and history, and in 2017 finished her PhD thesis, “The discourse community of electronic dance music.”
The first module within the 2020 Research Networking Day is hosted by Alberto de Campo, Professor for Generative Art / Computational Art at the University of the Arts Berlin. He has led interdisciplinary research projects on sonification of scientific data (SonEnvir), and on designing new musical instruments (3DMIN). He plays improvised music in groups like AetherOre (with Liz Allbee and Hannes Hoelzl) and creates installations involving networks of machines (and humans), often with the Society for Nontrivial Pursuits.
Politics of Ecstasy – Negotiating the Sacred in Contemporary Club Culture
Tara Hill (University of Hamburg, DE)
The sacred belongs to no one. It was the wind, the valley with the stage and its soundsystem, the people completely enthralled. Liminality denotes a Plateau of Intensity, in which the aggregate state changes, novelty begins, haecceity ensues. These moments, of course, overcome personal adversity, compartmentalisation and snobbery, which is why they are sought-after even by high-brow communities. Understood as a negotiation of “ghosts of the past” or an unexpected memorial service to the violent foundations of our civil society, these “neo-archaic” rituals and practices (though closely intertwined with today’s individualism and neoliberalism) nevertheless evoke the spirit of a supposedly already extinct tribal past, reemerging with a vengeance. Emphasising the importance of these postmodern recallings of spiritual and sacral practice for social cohesion and integration in an increasingly insecure and fragile new world order, “Politics of Ecstasy” will offer a new perspective on so-called archaic techniques of intersubjectivity such as trance, transcendence, and techniques of ecstasy. It considers the longing for a new form of utopian cosmology, archetypal mythology, and religious eschatology in the 21st century.
Tara Hill spent half her life with one foot in the global techno movement, and the other in its critical reflection: first, as fascinated raver and music journalist, later as a DJ and creator of temporary club projects as well as keen reporter on the underground scene for Swiss and German dailies, magazines and blogs, nowadays as activist merging academic research and transcendental empiricism.
Raving Potentialities. Un/Doing the Field
Jasemin Khaleli (University of Vienna, AT)
The challenge to embrace unsettlement, uncertainty, and constant questioning can determine a field researcher’s identity and agency: this particular in-betweenness of different spaces reveals itself in the liminality of spatial transition. Approaching Lisbon’s topography of club activism, Jasemin Khaleli enquires into the sensitivities of doing nightly fieldwork as an insider-outsider in considering the urgent need for so-called “safer space” parties that have emerged out of discriminatory societal systems and structures. Yet these spaces allow not only for temporary autonomy via their ritualised enactments of collectivism and ecstasy; rather, safer spaces also remain closely connected to the mainstream and are permeated by nuanced forms of violence, whether through co-optation by economic forces or in fragmentation and categorisation by identity politics, and, perhaps, also by the pigeonholing gaze of a researcher. Encountering the ‘other’ as a such-and-such looking, moving, consuming, gendered researcher novice, Khaleli considers the transformative journey of accessing and experiencing raves as a field. Taking vulnerability and riskiness as positively adopted potentialities of knowledge, changeability, and care, Khaleli strives to reflect on the relevance of narrating emotionality and empathy in academic work.
Jasemin Khaleli graduated in Visual Arts, Music and Modern Media studies (Marburg, Germany) and is now completing a Masters in Musicology at the University of Vienna, Austria. With a strong interest in marginalisation across the lines of gender and migration in sonics, Khaleli conducted field research in Lisbon, working closely with collectives such as mina, suspension, and kit ket. Engaging with the topographies of queer-feminist nightlife activism, Khaleli joined the research team of ‘Sounding Out the Tourist City: Sound, Tourism and the Sustainability of Urban Ambiances in the Post-industrial City’.
Entrainment: In the Space Between Perception & Action
Steve Garofano (Humboldt Universität, DE)
When mating fireflies flash in unison, or photons align to create a laser beam, or dancers lock their movements to the beat of a song, entrainment is at work. It allows independent oscillating systems to synchronise. Steve Garofano’s research at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain investigates the way entrainment enables neurons in the human brain to synchronise their firing to the tempo of music when we listen or perform. Human entrainment to rhythm occurs in a liminal space between sensing and acting. In a contemporary view of cognition as an ‘embodied’ process, the dualist delineations between mind and body, perception and action are erased. It is here, at the intersection of sensation and motion, that we find our natural inclination to dance, to collaborate, to align our actions with the physical, biological, and social rhythms that surround us. In this talk, Garofano hopes to spark an interest in the brain’s mechanism for decoding musical rhythm, as entrainment points to humans’ in-built capacity to synchronise to our environment and to each other.
Steve Garofano is a musician and neuroscience researcher based in Berlin and New Orleans. He is concluding a Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain at Humboldt Universität, where his research investigates the brain’s mechanisms for the perception and production of musical rhythm. A professional drummer, Garofano has experienced the power of rhythm to connect humans across cultural and geographic lines.
Dr Anita Jóri is scientific supervisor and research associate at Vilém Flusser Archive, BerlinUniversity of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin, UdK).
Alberto de Campo (born 1964) studied classical composition with Andrej Dobrowolski, Georg Haas, and Beat Furrer; Jazz guitar with Adelhard Roidinger and Peter O'Mara; and electronic music with Curtis Roads and Stephen Travis Pope. After being a Visiting Scholar and Research Director at CREATE (UC Santa Barbara), he taught at IEM Graz (Austria), at the Academy for Media and Arts (KHM) in Cologne, Germany, and, as an Edgard Varèse guest professor for Elektronic Music at Technical University Berlin.