Can Music be Contemporary?

Nolan, Ryan ORCID logoORCID: (2019) Can Music be Contemporary? In: Time, History and Materials, 26 January, 2019, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract / Summary

If, as Peter Osborne suggests, contemporary art is both a generic and trans-medial concept, then the question of music becomes problematic. So much so, that it begs one to ask whether or not ‘music’, in its medium-specificity, can ever be considered contemporary? The answer to this question may seem clear, as ‘contemporary music’ is a phrase attached to a number of institutions, events, ensembles, and has been since at least the latter half of the twentieth century. The use of the term in these instances, however, serves a historicizing function and addresses tropes such as ‘music of its time’, or as a differential marker to distinguish the ‘newest modern music’. In this talk, I will consider the dual relationship between music and contemporary art from the perspective of historical contemporaneity. From this perspective, the historical present is considered as the relational product of increasingly complex temporal processes and historical trajectories. Under the rubric of what Osborne terms the ‘postconceptual condition’ of contemporary art, I will argue that ‘music’ must be ontologically retheorized, or at least radically repositioned within a historical philosophy of art if it is to contribute meaningfully to a generic and critical understanding of contemporary art. What is at stake is either the concept of ‘music’ itself, as it has been historically received; or a notion of ‘art’, theorized by Osborne in the collective singular, that does not include within it specific artistic forms and practices.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Music
Courses by Department: Academy of Music & Theatre Arts > Music
Depositing User: Ryan Nolan
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 16:02
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:19


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