Bodily Expression in Electronic Music


Bodily Expression in Electronic Music

Symposium, November 5-7, 2009

Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics IEM / Institute of Music Aesthetics

University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz


Cultural Studies and theories of art have paid increased attention to the human body for quite a while. In part, this can be seen as a reaction to tendencies within dominating art forms that are contingent upon electronic media. For these media tend to, as it were, evaporize the body, make it invisible, or leave it behind altogether. Within the realm of electronic media, the human being who invents certain sounds is no longer their bodily source. This split seems to result in absence of the body within such music. Electronic media multiply available sounds and produce virtually unlimi-ted access to them over space and time; yet this gain, it seems, must be weighed against a loss of bodily contact that used to be crucial to musical expression. The discourse on the body led by the humanities has recognized as yet the technologi-cally mediated re-entry of the body into electroacoustic music via user interfaces.

This, however, does not address some central issues in the aesthetics of electronic music. To what extent does the presence of bodies manifest itself in the experience of electronic music – the presence, that is, literally of composers’, performers’, listeners’ bodies as well as figuratively of the ‘bodies’ of the relevant machinery (including those of the indispensable loudspeakers)? And how do these bodies shape the aesthetic phenomenon of musical expression? It is these questions that the Graz symposium will address – with a discourse spanning Composition, Performance, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Mind, Phenomenology, Sociology and Musicology.



“Objective Music”

Federico Celestini and Andreas Dorschel

“Embodied Generative Music”

Gerhard Eckel

“Live Electronic Music or Living Electronic Music?”

Simon Emmerson

“How Things Fall Apart: Alteration of Body in Music and Dance”

Sondra Horton Fraleigh

“Embodying the Sonic Invisible: Sketching a Corporeal Ontology of Musical Interaction”

Susan Kozel

“Expressions of the Body in Musical Structure”

Isabel Mundry

“Performing Philosophy Without the Body”

Alva Noë

“Improvising Composition: How to Listen in the Time Between.” 

Pauline Oliveros (via Skype)

“Seeing Sound, Hearing Movement: Multimodal Expression and Haptic Illusions in the Virtual Sonic Environment”

Jaana Parviainen

“Touch: Apparent and Real. On Bodily Expression in Electronic Music”

Deniz Peters

“Two Kinds of Bodily Expression – in Traditional and Electronic Music”

Kendall Walton



- Georgina Born

  1. -Andreas Dorschel 

  2. -Andy Hamilton 

- Susan Kozel

- Alva Noë

- Jaana Parviainen

- Christian Utz


No registration required. Free attendance.