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7 - Rethinking Liveness in the Digital Age

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2019

Nicholas Cook
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Monique M. Ingalls
Affiliation:
Baylor University, Texas
David Trippett
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

This chapter reconsiders what liveness means in a musical culture saturated with digital technologies. Where once live performance was understood in simple opposition to recordings, the proliferation of electronic audio technologies throughout the second half of the twentieth century and their deployment in myriad performance settings has made the categorical separation of recording from performance impossible. Digital technologies have become even further intertwined with the creation of performative meaning than their analogue predecessors. After explaining the development of the liveness concept, the author emphasises the increasing variability of its configuration in the digital age, drawing on discourses around virtuality, posthuman subjectivity and intermediality. The chapter concludes with case studies in musical activity in Second Life and in the microtiming-based compositions of Richard Beaudoin, emphasising the extent to which liveness has become for some artists an actual element of aesthetic interrogation, rather than just a way of categorising a musical experience.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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References

Auslander, Philip. 2008. Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, 2nd edn. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barker, Martin. 2013. Live to your Local Cinema: The Remarkable Rise of Livecasting. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Emmerson, Simon. 2007. Living Electronic Music. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
Fischer-Lichte, Erika. 2008. The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics. Translated by Jain, Saskya Iris. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hayles, N. Katherine. 1999. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sanden, Paul. 2013. Liveness in Modern Music: Musicians, Technology, and the Perception of Performance. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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