The research presented here is the result of a joint research project from research master students of the program "Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology" (2014-2016) at Maastricht University.
The seven of us have each conducted individual studies incorporating various cases that deal with musical cultures from the perspective of Science and Technology Studies (STS).
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s notion of “experimental systems” has been central to the work of MusicExperiment21 since the beginning of the project. While the wider epistemological consequences of such systems have been investigated within the project by Michael Schwab, this exposition — specifically made for the SAR conference in Helsinki, 2017 — explores their practical use for the design of artistic-research experiments, providing an overview on the context and rationale of MusicExperiment21's concrete use of experimental systems. The exposition is organised in five sections: "Modes of Research" situates MusicExperiment21 in terms of existing typologies of research and knowledge production; "Rheinberger’s Experimental Systems" offers a brief overview on the notion of experimental systems, making some terminological specifications in relation to their use for artistic research; "MusicExperiment21" presents the project as a “thought collective” and as an ensemble of experimental systems; "Epistemic Complexity in Music" briefly introduces an innovative understanding of musical entities as complex assemblages of innumerable material things, preparing the reader for the project’s specific use of the notion of experimental systems; and "Series of Experiments and Modules of Research" displays the diversity of research practices, especially achieved through the use of “series” of aesthetic-epistemic experiments, and of “modules” of research. Diverse materials for further reading, as well as hyperlinks to several case studies from MusicExperiment21 complement the text.