Technology in Music – Book Sprint
Call for Theorists, Musicologists, Musicians, Curators, Composers, Artists

Technology in Music – Critical Making, Thinking & Writing
curated by Camille Baker
as part of the DEFRAGMENTATION – Curating Contemporary Music project

2) Book Sprint

Workshops with selection process
Participants: theorists, musicologists, musicians, curators, composers, artists
Work phase: 15 to 21st July 2018
Maximum number of participants: 6-8 participants
Deadline for submissions: 31 May 2018
Applicants in this call can be, but don’t need to be enrolled as participants of the Darmstadt Summer Course.

Project Leader: Diann Bauer

Topic: Collaborative writing in a book sprint, or journal paper, or newspaper, toolkit, manifesto, guidelines, etc. that addresses the topics below in one week.


Defragmentation – Curating Contemporary Music is a research project aimed at enduringly establishing the debates currently ongoing in many disciplines on gender & diversity, decolonization and technological change in institutions of New Music, as well as discussing curatorial practices in this field.

On the technology team, Camille Baker, media artist / academic researcher / curator is inviting experts to participate in the Darmstadt Summer Course 2018 for its duration for two activities, which involve two outcomes – making and writing – to explore concerns on the impact of technology on new and contemporary music, overlapping the other themed areas (curation, decolonisation, gender and diversity), and how they affect composition, performance, the music itself and festivals presenting it.


The book sprint project as part of the Defragmentation project is a way to bring critical theory around ways to understand technology in the context of new and contemporary music, its impact on the art form and the future.

A Book Sprint is a method of creating a book collaboratively in a short period of time, usually between 3-7 days (see for more info). Books are made available immediately at the end of the sprint as e-books and / or with print-on-demand services. The book sprint leader(s) will lead the structure of the 1 week using submitted proposals as the basis of the book structure, working with team to connect subjects and guide writing activities. A completed critical book should be ready to publish at the end of the week.

Applicants are asked to propose a chapter topic and how it might relate or address one or more of the topics below and its affect on new music composition, collaboration and performance:

Liveness & Locality – what difference does a liveness and presence versus and recorded or virtual / streamed performance make? Auslander, Phelan, and others have explored this topic, what new light can be shed on the topic in the context of new and experimental music and sound art? Can virtual and augmented reality bridge the gap between corporeal presence and recorded or streamed performance?

Critical Engineering ( / Critical Making ( – what role does new music have in raising awareness about the technological changes of our time? what role does the artist/ musician have in critically engaging with a range of digital production tools, integrating them into their musical practice, to supplement and extend critical reflection ? what role does the artist/musician have in using a range of digital production tools in their musical practice to critically engage with topics around the impacts of those tools on their practice, music in general and society? How are new music artists and composers critical engineers or critical makers ?

Post-Digital – How has music become Post-digital in terms of how aesthetic and technological influences are combined, controlled and developed within the genres crossing analogue and digital divide? How have things changed in the way music is distributed and disseminated (i.e. the revival of vinyl and record players, etc)? How have new relationships developed between artists and their audience(s) (enabled by technology)? How have new forms of musical consumption have evolved and new forms of musical function? How has the democratisation of technology has been facilitated? What role has technology played (software and hardware) in enabling new forms of musical expression (glitches, circuit bending and databending, aesthetics of failure,  live coding, generative & machine learning music, Virtual Reality Musical Instruments (VRMIs))?

AI (artificial intelligence), neural nets and machine learning – What decisions and rules must be made to develop AI, neural nets and machine learning systems for generating algorithmic composed music (reference article: Neural Nets for Generating Music – see also Google Brain’s Magenta team)? And what data should be used? Which/whose music should be included? Companies like Google, Sony Music, and Spotify are developing systems to answer this in terms of listening, but what is the role of AI, neural nets and machine learning? Who/ what then is the artist? The programmer? (“Daddy’s Car” (2016) by Flow Machines, a research project at Sony CSL coordinated by François Pachet.) Is the relationship between musicians/ humans and technology one of: collaboration? master(human) & slave (technology)? Will these intelligent algorithms compose music of value to humans? If so, can it surpass, bypass human musicians? What then will be the role of human musicians? what role should the human musician continue to play?

Xenofeminism – Laboria Cuboniks on their website ( created a  Xenofeminism Manifesto and stated “XFM constructs a feminism adapted to these realities: a feminism of unprecedented cunning, scale, and vision; a future in which the realization of gender justice and feminist emancipation contribute to a universalist politics assembled from the needs of every human, cutting across race, ability, economic standing, and geographical position.”  She later asks: “Why is there so little explicit, organized effort to repurpose technologies for progressive gender political ends? XF seeks to strategically deploy existing technologies to re-engineer the world?”. How can new music artists/ musicians /composers address this question? Following Cuboniks’ lead, what practical measures or “radical opportunities afforded by developing (and alienating) forms of technological mediation” can be taken now and in what way?


Interested theorists, musicologists, musicians, curators, composers or artists can apply to participate with a proposal of what they might like to write about – addressing one or a combination of the above topics above (and a few sentences on why that topic interests them), but some artists and theorists will be invited to to lead the teams as well.

Please send a brief proposal of why you are interested in participating and what you hope to bring to the project in terms of your experience, background, activities and specialism and why.

Please include

  • your name, email and contact details
  • proposal for a topic / chapter
  • a short cv
  • applicants must include at least one sample of your critical writing: academic, journalistic, or otherwise

Please send your application as ONE PDF (with the title containing your lastname) by 31 May to

Participants are chosen based on their ideas and background but the project will be a collective outcome and so the final outcome may be different than proposed.

Applicants in this call can be, but don’t need to be enrolled as participants of the Darmstadt Summer Course.