VIEW the livestream of the “Curating Diversity in Europe: Decolonizing Contemporary Music” symposium

Co-organized by the Akademie der Künste, inm – initiative neue musik berlin e.V. / field notes, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival as part of the Sounds Now project

The “Curating Diversity in Europe” symposium provides a platform for keeping the discourse on diversity in contemporary music in Europe alive, developing potentials for transformation during a time of limited international encounters and swelling nationalistic currents. The focus of the symposium is on processes and profiles of curating that critically question power structures and Eurological patterns of thought, to implement political, collective or participatory strategies in the curatorial decision-making process.

Opening remarks from Jeanine Meerapfel, Thorbjørn Tønder Hansen and Julia Gerlach

Keynote speech by Du Yun: “The Multiplicity of our Bloodlines”

Performer, composer and curator Du Yun speaks with composers Sunny Jain, Chinary Ung, Liza Lim and Raven Chacon and explores the concept of diversity in new music. Alongside their shared experiences, she provides guidelines for promoting inclusion and points out pitfalls in current systems.

Playlist by C-drík:

  1. Natela Svanidze – Epitaphium (Live Performance)
  2. Vedanza – The Job Mersch
  3. C-drík – Solo concert for no audience on a Galilean moon

Panel I: The Emancipation of Curating

with Stefanie Carp, Artyom Kim, Sharif Sehnaoui, Du Yun, Juliana Hodkinson

In the first panel, we explore strategies for the emancipation of curatorial processes from current power structures. The focus is on the role of curators today in fostering diversity and provoking change by negotiating topics that are relevant for a pluralistic society. In addition, we discuss how regional contexts can change perspectives on curating and create completely new approaches and musical emphases that shift our understanding of contemporary music itself.

Keynote speech by Sandeep Bhagwati: “Curating Musicking as a Mode of Wakefulness in Interesting Times”

In his keynote speech, “Curating Musicking as a Mode of Wakefulness in Interesting Times”, Sandeep Bhagwati explains that decolonization needs to go beyond the confines of the Eurological.

Playlist by C-drík:

  1. Dennis Wong – Study on Movement & Electrodermal
  2. Yan Jun plays Junky – Cassette
  3. Deniz Tafaghodi – Quiescence
  4. Phyu Hnin Thwin, Crazy Eels Society and Ito – Satkyarwalar

Panel II: Decolonizing the Curating Discourse in Europe

with Sandeep Bhagwati, George Lewis, Elaine Mitchener, Anothai Nitibhon, Christos Carras

The second panel examines how a discourse focused on colonial, musical and intellectual history can inflect the curatorial practice. Based on this, we consider to what extent cultural institutions should be rethought and canons questioned in order to enable a realignment of musical epistemologies and to recognize the equal coexistence of various musical traditions.

Playlist by C-drík:

  1. Akram Khan Company – Loose in Flight
  2. Camila dos Santos & Zigorayopineal – La respuesta VII
  3. 王长存 – After Dry Kind Seas
  4. Nilüfer Ormanli – Art of Dying

Panel III: Archives and Transcultural Composition. “Looted Music” and Accessibility

with Carlos Gutiérrez, Lars Christian Koch, meLê yamomo, Tiago de Oliveira Pinto, Julia Gerlach

In parallel to the restitution debates in the visual arts, the question of how to deal with “looted music” also arises in music: how can one advocate for musical traditions that have been marginalized or threatened by cultural missionary processes? Under what circumstances have our archives been set up and how we can ensure that archive materials are adequately examined and contextualized with regard to their colonial background? What alternative forms of archives are there? Who do the artefacts belong to and who has access to them?

More comfortable reading? Read an adapted version of George Lewis’ keynote or click the image below to read Sandeep Bhagwati’s keynote speech:

The symposium will be continued in May 2021 as part of the “Memories in Music” festival (May 6-9, 2021) at the Akademie der Künste.