Musicians regularly make use of technology in their creative practices. They design different kinds of digital instruments and interfaces and develop the necessary skills to play with them, forming an almost intimate relationship with these tools. Technology has become an integral part of the creative process – an extention of the musician's body, perception, and imagination. In fact, it would be true to say that the practice of music has become so intertwined with technology that it would be virtually impossible to discuss the former without mentioning at least one digital apparatus that was used during the work process, in order to create, record, play, or analyze sounds.
The ubiquitous presence of technology in music brings up certain fundamental questions: Why do we choose to use these kinds of tools in the first place? What purpose do they fill? How do we choose to engage with our surrounding environment using our computers, interfaces, and algorithms? Philosopher and sociologist of science Bruno Latour suggests that ”[technology] has never ceased to introduce a history of enfoldings, detours, drifts, openings and translations that abolish the idea of function as much as that of neutrality” (2002, pp 253-4). His approach invites us to explore the yet-undiscovered possibilities hidden in our apparatuses, and to try and imagine the way they open up unforeseen paths, re-shape our very existence, and affect our decisions and actions. He adds: “The moral law is in our hearts, but it is also in our apparatuses. To the super-ego of tradition we may well add the under-ego of technologies,'' underlining the moral implications brought up by our continuous adventures with technology. How we understand the world and how we interact with one another are determined by our entanglement with our digital apparatuses, and music can suggest a valuable perspective into these issues.
The following sections document the ARC session held on 13 April 2021. Anıl Çamcı, Jenn Kirkby, and Ilya Ziblat Shay present their work, and discuss the way in which they use digital tools in their practices and in their creative approach to music technology.
Latour, B. (2002). Morality and Technology, The End of the Means (Venn, C. Trans). Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. 19(5/6): 247–60.