The Life & Mind Seminar Network

Seminar #48: Digital Musical Systems as Epistemic Tools

Posted in Seminars by Tom Froese on February 6, 2009

This coming week we will have a Life and Mind seminar entitled:

Digital Musical Systems as Epistemic Tools

Thor Magnusson

Time: 4:30-6:00pm
Date: Wednesday, 11th February
Location: Pev. 1, room 2A02

In this talk, I intend to explore the differences in the design and performance of acoustic and new digital musical instruments, arguing that with the latter there is an increased encapsulation of musical theory. The point of departure is the phenomenology of musical instruments, which leads to the exploration of designed artefacts as extensions of human cognition in ways that might echo Andy Clark’s Extended Mind thesis or even be seen in the context of autopoietic feedback loops (both topics that might inspire fun discussions after the presentation).

I emphasise the pronounced epistemic dimension of digital instruments when compared to acoustic instruments. Through the analysis of material epistemologies it is possible to describe the digital instrument as an epistemic tool: a designed tool with such a high degree of symbolic pertinence that it becomes a system of knowledge and thinking in its own terms. In conclusion, I hope to round up the phenomenological and epistemological arguments, and point at issues in the design of digital musical instruments that are germane due to their strong aesthetic implications for musical culture.

All welcome!

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One Response

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  1. Tom Froese said, on February 12, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Hey Thor,

    Thanks for the great seminar yesterday! I just came across a short paper on “Technical mediation of sensorimotor coupling” by Lenay and his group that you might find interesting. You can download it from here.

    It is also worth checking out the online discussion on “Enaction and engineering” by John Stewart and colleagues, which you can find here.

    Cheers,
    Tom


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