Digitizing Performance in Africa. Politics, Aesthetics, and Historical Continuities in the Circulation of Music

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Title : Digitizing Performance in Africa. Politics, Aesthetics, and Historical Continuities in the Circulation of Music 

Organized by Giordano Marmone (LAMC-ULB), Katell Morand (Université Paris Nanterre) and Raymok Ketema (University of California Santa Barbara) 

Abstract :

This conference brings together anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and historians to discuss the ways that communication devices have continued, reinforced or altered how African people are sharing sounds and images of performance. The practice of exchanging and circulating music, dance, poetry, or rituals has shifted to include use of new technologies over time. During the latter half of the twentieth century, the radio and analog audio recorder were key tools used during African self−liberation movements. Since the end of the 2000s, the widespread use of cell phones and media file sharing applications has impacted not only urban areas, but also rural areas. Excerpts from ritual musical performances, funerals, weddings, or even military events are shared and circulated via SD cards, Bluetooth connections or social networks on the continent and on a transnational scale.
The local and global music industries have had great impact on the way people circulate, listen to, and relate to music. However, the visual and sound recording of musical events is now also implemented by participants of the performance themselves, and not only by outsiders, non−African visitors, or (inter)national media. How to describe practices of «fileization» of musical performances? What are their historical continuities and connections? How are they embedded in histories of colonialism and neocolonialism? What are the political or aesthetic stakes when these music files are used in intra or inter−community interactions?

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  • When ?

Thursday 19 and Friday 20 January 2023

  • Where ?

Université Paris Nanterre

Bâtiment Max Weber

Salle des conférences

Université Paris Nanterre

200 avenue de la République

92001 Nanterre