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.
The second module within the 2020 Research Networking Day is hosted by Stefanie Alisch, a musicologist from Berlin. In 2017, she obtained a PhD from Bayreuth University with a pioneering study on an electronic dance music form from Angola called kuduro. Alisch studied musicology, Portuguese, and English at Humboldt University Berlin, and ethnomusicology at UFBA in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. As of October 2018 Stefanie Alisch represents the chair of Popular Music Studies at Humboldt Universität Berlin.
Becoming ‘Hong Kong’: Sound and Music of the 2019 Hong Kong Protests
Alex Yiu (City University of Hong Kong, HK)
Since the on-going protests in Hong Kong persist after the official withdrawal of the extradition bill, the demands have shifted into calling for an independent investigation of the police’s abuse of power, discharging the arrestees, retracting the proclamation of riots on 9th and 12th June, and calling for immediate dual election through universal suffrage. The anonymous online forum LIHKG and instant message platform Telegram have played major roles in the protests, and their anonymous natures have helped initiate a lot of leaderless protests within the city—some of which are highly involved with sound and music. These activities temporally transform spaces such as residential areas and shopping malls into a site for forms of sonic protest. This paper analyses the sonic-spatial aspects and online activity in relation to these protests, in order to suggest how these kinds of protests alleviate citizens through their transformative experience from the escalating tension.
Alex Yiu is a sound artist, music producer, curator, and a researcher based in Hong Kong. He is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Prior to his PhD, he completed the MMus Sonic Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests include the current deconstructed club music scene on social media, the Hong Kong underground music scene, and other music/sound-related topics. A member of the local underground club music collective Absurd TRAX, he has performed and DJ’d in numerous venues and platforms such as XXX, OIL Club, ALL Club, Sónar Hong Kong 2019, Times Museum, Tai Kwun Contemporary, NTS Radio, and more.
Sounding the Dissolution: ‘90s Russian non-official music between past ideology and future hopes
Giada Dalla Bontà (University of Venice, IT)
In Russia and most of the ex-USSR countries, the 90s signalled a period of highly destabilising transition from socialism to the multifaceted “post-Soviet space.” Already mythologised, this decade simultaneously embodies the disgregation of a totalistic ideology and a moment of almost anarchic suspension, where the impossible seemed to disclose the possible. In addition to pop and rock music, the underground scene also saw many other phenomena blossom out in this period. German Vinogradov’s works, deploying metallic architectural installations for ritualistic, industrial-sounding performances, links music to both Moscow’s squatting art scene, and spiritual and psychedelic activities. More radically artistic is the group Srednerusskaja Vozvyshennost, a “simulative rock band” of conceptualists aiming to deconstruct musical language into purely performative, liberating acts. The Theremin Center for Electroacoustic Music, founded in 1992 to gather musicians and computer scientists, was of significant impact on Russian sound artists. In these interconnected, unofficial communities, three perspectives are considered in an attempt to trace how music reflected historical renegotiations, confronting it with the present.
Giada Dalla Bontà is a researcher, curator, and writer focusing on unofficial Soviet art and music; art and politics; and semiotics and experimental music. Postgraduate in Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, she has won various scholarships and grants from the Moscow NCCA, V-A-C Foundation, Valand Academy - University of Göteborg, and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Throughout her career, Bontá has worked with Lisson Gallery, Mondrian Foundation, HNI Rotterdam, Venice Biennale, and others. She is currently based in Berlin, where she collaborates with independent art projects and experimental music labels such as Staaltape.
Listening to (Post-)Algerian Memories on Display
Elsa Guily (Universität der Künste Berlin, DE)
Memories of migratory experiences which emerged in and around the Algerian independence war (1954–1962) remain oppressed, silenced, or the subject of controversy in France today. In asking to whom and from whose perspectives memories of migratory life experiences can speak, Elsa Guily’s research project focuses on the postcolonial issue of so-called ''memory wars'' of 'France's colonialism in Algeria. How can research based on collective listening experience reconstruct gaps and silences in history? What kind of visual and sonic strategies could be developed to listen to a patrimony on the margin silenced by the museum? Does the museum have sonic materiality at all that is hearable for the viewer? “Listensing to (Post-)Algerian Memories on Display” aims to challenge Eurocentric assumptions of representations of citizenship-belonging and to make audible complex voices as a means of contesting cultural and political modes of imperial domination inherited from colonisation.
Elsa Guily studied Fine Art at ERBA (Ecole des Beaux arts de Rennes), Art History, Culture Studies at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin (BA), and Art History in global context at the Freie Universität Berlin (MA). In addition to her academic work, she works as a freelance cultural critic and editor for Contemporary And (platform for international art in African perspectives) as well as IAM (Intensive Art Magazine), and as an independent research curator, focusing on the intersection of decolonial practices and critical theory in visual culture studies.
The Liminal Politics of Happiness: Collective Joy, Public Spaces, and the Infectious Utterance of Hope
Matilda Jones (Freie Universität, DE)
Defining happiness in liminal terms, or as an emotion “always hovering somewhere between the strictly personal and potentially public,” Lynne Segal’s 2018 book Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy locates the role and meaning of happiness against a pervasive culture of individualism. Using Segal to move away from the neoliberal notion of happiness as a pacifying, consumer-oriented tool, “The Liminal Politics of Happiness” maximises potential of happiness, exploring the realm between the public sphere and private emotion. Delving into Barbara Ehrenreich’s history of collective joy whilst tapping into Sara Ahmed’s etymological discussion of ‘the hap’—the moment in which we are open to good fortune—we can present happiness as a personal instance further induced by a sense of public pleasure and general well-being. Thus, presenting happiness as a moment, an occurrence which bridges the public and the private sphere, we can consider how our relationships to time and social spaces can foster a shared, joyful and utopian vision that translates into a vehicle for sustained social, political, economic, and ecological change. In zeroing in on the idea of a collective, utopian spirit, privileging a radical optimism (in opposition to Lauren Berlant’s bleak diagnosis of cruel optimism), we can assert the infectious, affirmative power of the utterance of hope.
Matilda Jones is a researcher at the Freie Universität and a producer/singer-songwriter who released her debut EP, Bright Future, in 2019. Jones, aka Teplice, straddles academic and artistic worlds. She has worked as a researcher for BBC Radio Four’s current affairs programme, completed a residency at the London Metropolitan Archives, and produced the flagship Blueprint radio show featuring esteemed junglist Ray Keith. Her current research, teasing out the politics of collective spaces in relation to selfhood, looks to social movements, cultural moments, and national memory.
Stefanie Alisch is a musicologist from Berlin. In 2017 she obtained a PhD from Bayreuth University with a pioneering study on electronic dance music form from Angola called kuduro. Alisch studied musicology, Portuguese, and English at Humboldt University Berlin, and ethnomusicology at UFBA in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.