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Rethinking the Music-Language Metaphor: Music as Performative Utterance
Organisator: Andrew Chung

Mi 25. Juli 2018, 11:00 – 12:30
OS Showcase

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This lecture attempts to think about a philosophical formation, “performativity” and “performative utterance,” that have become key terms in the recent musical discourses. When we talk about performativity and utterance, we are invoking some version of the music language metaphor. This talk clarifies how the performative utterance idea, from J. L. Austin’s treatise How to Do Things with Words, fundamentally challenges both the ways we accept and reject the music-language analogy by placing this analogy on a different foundation. I will sketch a theory of musical meaning that I hope will provide more robust resources to thinking about music and language, music as communication, and music as critique. This will involve a deep dive into the performative utterance concept and the philosophical biases it challenges and under it not because these terms are somehow totally new or unfamiliar, but for the exact opposite reason. We are intuitively very familiar with the term „performative,“ but its philosophical context contains a powerful, even fastidious set of distinctions that are occluded from our intuitions–fuzzy, and indistinct. The goal is to give a clear, precise roadmap of the philosophical intervention that the performative utterance idea allows, so that a familiar but murky idea can become more useful and handy for our goals, activities, and concerns. Time permitting, I will discuss pieces by Ashley Fure, Peter Ablinger, and Michael Beil.

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