N-Determination

“Music is the weapon. Music is the future. Music is the weapon of the future” ~Fela Kuti

A post from Daniel on contingency and indeterminate nature of politics and music.

DAN DIPIERO

This week, I’ll be traveling to give a paper at this graduate student conference, hosted by the comparative literature department at UC-Irvine. The conference theme is on my very favorite subject: indeterminacy.

Approaches to indeterminate procedures are the link in my work between music and politics. In both areas, attempts to intentionally design procedures that will have an unknown result have become crucially important. In improvised music and in democratic politics, this unknown outcome is, at least in theory, the defining characteristic of such practices. This has been the connection that has interested me from the beginning.

Around the same time that I started researching this connection, a small book called The Medium of Contingency came out, signalling a sort of “intellectual moment” in which contingency became fully legitimated as a subject worth studying in its own right. My paper sort of picks up from this point, discussing some of…

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