On Music or The Combat of Chronos and Aion
With: Vincent Meelberg (Chair), Edward Campbell, Pascale Criton, Brian Hulse, Martin Scherzinger, Deborah Walker
Day 3, 11 November, Orpheus Concert Hall, 16:30–18:30
Whereas Chronos was inseparable from the bodies which filled it out entirely as causes and matter, Aion is populated by effects which haunt it without ever filling it up. Whereas Chronos was limited and infinite, Aion is unlimited, the way that future and past are unlimited, and finite like the instant.
Gilles Deleuze (1990, 165).
Already in 1969, thinking about extra temporality of the event, and inspired by the Stoics, Deleuze rehabilitated for contemporary thought the distinction between Chronos and Aion. Introducing an outside of time into the inner fabric of time itself, Deleuze argued for a chronology that is derived from the event—the event being the singularity that originates any given chronology. For a musician, for someone permanently involved in the radical here and now of the performative moment or compositional decision, Deleuze’s argumentation seems completely logical, even if paradoxical. Later, in collaboration with Guattari and particularly in A Thousand Plateaus (1980), Deleuze further developed notions of time that are seminally related to Pierre Boulez’s concepts of the smooth and the striated: (1) the non-pulsed and the pulsed flow of musical time, and (2) the continuum or the discontinuum of musical spaces. Boulezian dualisms, like Deleuzian ones, are meant neither as oppositions nor as dialectical pairs; more creatively, they refer simply to attractors, which might be activated or not, according to different actualisations of forces. The combat of Chronos and Aion is, therefore, not to be seen as a fight between opponents, but rather as lightings, as bidirectional discharges of power between two fields loaded with differential energy.
For this dialogue, the combat of Chronos and Aion is taken both as an initiator to the discussion and as a pars pro toto in terms of possible relations between Deleuze and musical practices: How and to what extent can the work of Gilles Deleuze contribute to or enhance new understandings of music? How can it be used reflexively and productively? Is there a new music after Deleuze, a new musicology after Deleuze, a new performer after Deleuze, a new listener after Deleuze?
This dialogue is born out of a public dissensus: Brian Hulse’s review (Deleuze Studies Journal 9 ) of Edward Campbell’s book Music after Deleuze (2013), and Edward Campbell’s response to Hulse’s review (Deleuze Studies 9 ), a debate that makes reference to some texts by Martin Scherzinger and a debate that was published at a time when Martin was a visiting research fellow at the Orpheus Institute (February 2015). In a slightly provocative gesture, but in the sense of enabling a richer debate on Deleuze and music we decided to invite all parts and have a productive dialogue on music before, after, with, or without Deleuze.
[Paulo de Assis]
Campbell, Edward. 2013. Music after Deleuze. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Deleuze, Gilles. 1990. The Logic of Sense. Translated by Mark Lester with Charles Stivale. Edited by Constantin V. Boundas. New York: Columbia University Press.
Vincent Meelberg is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Department of Cultural Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands and at the Academy for Creative and Performing Arts in Leiden and The Hague. He studied double bass at the Conservatoire of Rotterdam and received his MA both in musicology and in philosophy at Utrecht University. He wrote his dissertation on the relation between narrativity and contemporary music at the Department of Literary Studies, Leiden University. Meelberg has published books and articles about musical narrativity, musical affect, improvisation, and auditory culture, and is founding editor of the online Journal of Sonic Studies. His current research focuses on the relation between musical practices, interaction, and creativity. Beside his academic activities he is active as a double bassist in several jazz and improvisation ensembles as well as being a composer.
Edward Campbell is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Aberdeen and co-director of the university’s Centre for Modern Thought. He specialises in contemporary European art music and aesthetics including historical, analytical, and aesthetic approaches to European modernism, the music and writings of Pierre Boulez, contemporary European opera, and the interrelation of musical thought and critical theory. He is the author of the books Boulez, Music and Philosophy (CUP, 2010) and Music after Deleuze (Bloomsbury, 2013) and co-editor/contributor to Pierre Boulez Studies (CUP, forthcoming 2016). He is currently working as co-editor on The Cambridge Stravinsky Encyclopedia as well as on a monograph on the importance of Asian and African music in French music since Debussy.
Pascale Criton studied composition with Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Gérard Grisey, and Jean-Etienne Marie. She earned a PhD in musicology (1999) and undertook a musical computing course for composers at IRCAM (Paris) in 1986. Her works explore sound variability, ultrachromatism, multi-sensoral receptions, and the spatialisation of listening. Artistic director of Art&Fact, she initiates concerts combining music, architecture, and materials that invite the public to experience new sound representations (Ecouter Autrement, Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2015). Her works are performed internationally by ensembles such as l’Ensemble 2e2m, l’Itinéraire, Aleph, Accroche Note, Taller Sonoro, and Dedalus, are commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, Radio France, and Sacem, and are published by Jobert Editions. She is currently an associate researcher at the Lutherie Acoustique Musique laboratory (Pierre and Marie Curie University, CARS). Her encounter with Gilles Deleuze determined her interest in philosophy and from 1974 to 1987 she became one of his interlocutors concerning music. She recently co-edited Gilles Deleuze, la pensée-musique (Cdmc, Symétrie, 2015).
Web: www.pascalecriton.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Hulse (PhD Harvard) is Associate Professor of Music at the College of William and Mary in Virginia (USA). He has published articles and given talks on a variety of topics, most notably those engaging the work of Gilles Deleuze and Henri Bergson. With Nick Nesbitt he co-edited the volume Sounding the Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the Theory and Philosophy of Music, in which he provided the chapter “Thinking Musical Difference: Music Theory as Minor Science” (Ashgate, 2010). Forthcoming publications include “Becoming-Composer” (Perspectives of New Music) and “On Repetition and Musical Ideas” (Deleuze Studies). In addition, Hulse is a composer with albums on Centaur Records (Stain, 2015) and Albany Records (pseudosynthesis, 2009).
Martin Scherzinger is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU Steinhardt. His research specialises in sound studies, music, media, and politics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a particular interest in the music of European modernism and after, as well as African music and transnational musical fusions. His research includes the examination of links between political economy and digital sound technologies, the poetics of copyright law in an international frame, the relation between aesthetics and censorship, the sensory limits of mass-mediated music, the mathematical geometries of musical time, and the history of sound in philosophy. This work represents an attempt to understand what we might call contemporary “modalities of listening”; that is, the economic, political, metaphysical, and technological determinants of both mediated and (what is perceived as) immediate auditory experience.
Deborah Walker is a new music performer and improviser based in Paris. She was born in Reggio Emilia (Italy) in 1981 and studied cello in her hometown. After graduating she moved to Paris to continue her cello studies with Agnès Vesterman and Anssi Karttunen. Since 2007 she has been a member of Dedalus, a variable experimental and contemporary music ensemble, which has collaborated with Tom Johnson, Pascale Criton, Christian Wolff, Antoine Beuger, and Jurg Frey, among others. She has played in many festivals including I Suoni delle Dolomiti, Italia Wave, ZKN in Karlsruhe, Festival d’Avignon, Festival Nomad in M’Hamid (Morocco), and Switch ON (Malaysia), and she tours regularly in Europe. Deborah has recently been working on pieces for solo cello with Pascale Criton and Eliane Radigue. She also takes part in theatre, dance, and circus performances, both as a composer and a performer. Deborah is currently completing a PhD about Fluxus performances in Italy.