Publications

Home Economics - fusing imaginaries in Wellington’s musical underground     ​​​       

   
A “lo-fi”, “do-it-yourself” (DIY) ethic has long been part of New Zealand’s sociomusical experience. Born out of isolation, creative desire, punk’s DIY legacy and the entrepreneurial imperatives of neoliberalism, the DIY ethos shapes the making of music in Wellington. Originating from this framework is the concept of Home Economics, a Wellington-based, semi-regular event organized by an initiative of local artists who transform the home into an underground performance space. As a form of lo-fi entrepreneurialism, Home Economics combines home craft, video art, sonic arts and music ranging from gamelan to acoustic folk, experimental and noise, augmenting the traditional imaginary of domestic spaces. 

The home is typically understood as a multiscalar, spatial imaginary saturated with the experiences, memories, and emotions of everyday life. It is a place of intimacy, stability and security and has traditionally been constructed as a ‘private’ space outside the demands of ‘public’ life. In this context Home Economics creates performance space resonating with the traditional confines of domestic spaces, yet detached from bourgeois conceptions of home, economic forces, and the spectre of neoliberalism.

This case-study argues that Home Economics is characterized by the “in-betweenness” of metamodernism which represents a spacetime that is neither ordered nor disordered and is characterized by the “oscillation between a typically modern commitment and a markedly postmodern detachment” (Vermeuelen and Van den Akker 2010:2ff). As such, Home Economics fuses private and public, security and freedom, tradition and creation mirroring new sociomusical dynamics in Wellington’s underground music scene.

Publication Status: Under review
Cultures and Underground Music Scenes. London: Routledge.         
    

Picturign the lyrics of the land

Music-making in the city constitutes and is constituted by a plurality of urban rhythms including the movement of people between different locations, regular temporal patterns of events, activities, experiences and practices as well as energies, objects, flora and fauna, which shape the music-maker’s mundane ‘pathways’ through the city. I used photo-elicitation as a way of capturing, understanding and interpreting the multiple rhythms that shape the musicians’ everyday life in Wellington.

The participant generated photographs captured different people, objects, places, events, interactions, fluxes and flows around the city. Besides the concrete and visible, the images elicit the non-verbal, non-cognitive, affective rhythms, which direct and propel the pulse and life of urban spaces without actually being visible. As such, photo-elicitation serves as a fruitful tool for recognising the interwovenness of socialities, atmospheres, objects, texts and images in people’s everyday lives and in this way affords opportunities for attending to the concrete, physical reality of urban spaces as well as other less tangible, less readily apparent but no less significant affective aspects that shape musical activity in the city.

Click to read in Riffs: Experimental writing on popular music Vol 1(2)  

The Scene and the Unseen - Mapping the (Affective) Rhythms of Wellington and Copenhagen 

The idea of rhythm has figured as a key conceptual and empirical motif in current research on (urban) space, place and everyday life. This article offers a way of capturing, understanding and interpreting the multi-faceted rhythmical layout of urban spaces. It will do so by introducing a rhythmanalytical methodology, which draws on participant generated photographs and mental maps as analytical tools in order to provoke compelling depictions of musical activity in the city. Based on current ethnographic fieldwork in the urban spaces of Wellington (Aotearoa/New Zealand), and Copenhagen (Denmark) this article proposes a fruitful technique of experience and experiment that seeks to recognise the interwovenness of socialities, atmospheres, object, texts and images in people’s everyday lives and in this way affords opportunities for attending to the multiple rhythms underlying music-making in the city.

Click to read in  Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies Vol. 7(2)
    

The Girls in the Boys Club 

This photo essay is about young women who take part in Wellington’s independent music scene.
It makes visible the everyday life and struggles of female vocalists, instrumentalists, managers, song-writers and sound engineers who all use their space to contribute to the city’s vibrant musical culture. These young women feel a drive to challenge gender norms and stereotypes in a male dominated environment, confronting the
‘boy’s club’ mentality in order to create positive change within the local music scene. They are alternative girls and women who represent themselves, rather than hide their creativity and music in basements, garages and bedrooms.

Click to see photo essay at the girlmuseum.org
    

   
Sensing the City – Mapping the Beat 
A rhythmanalysis of music-making in Wellington and Copenhagen

Music-making in the city constitutes and is constituted by a plurality of urban rhythms including the movement between different locations as well as regular temporal patterns of events, activities, experiences and practices as well as energies, objects, flora and fauna which shape the music-maker’s mundane ‘pathways’ through the city.

This project proposes a way of capturing, understanding and interpreting the multi-faceted rhythmical layout of urban spaces. It will do so by introducing a rhythmanalytical methodology, which draws on interviews, participant generated photographs and mental maps as analytical tools in order to provoke compelling depictions of musical activity in the city. Based on current ethnographic fieldwork in the urban spaces of Wellington (Aotearoa/New Zealand), and Copenhagen (Denmark) this project offers a fruitful technique of experience and experiment that seeks to recognise the interwovenness of socialities, atmospheres, object, texts and images in people’s everyday lives and in this way affords opportunities for attending to the multiple rhythms underlying music-making in the city.

​PhD Thesis
Click to read Thesis  

    

Show me your playlist and I tell you who you are - 
an investigation of the social psychological foundation of musical playlists

In the age of social networking and music streaming, playlists are a common tool for organizing, sharing or exchanging music in the digital realm. Most research, however, emphasizes mainly political, legal, and ethical constraints of music sharing practices yet, neglects their social impact. Thus, this paper investigates the social-psychological foundation of the playlist and analyses its functionality in establishing social relations and communication.

Following the theories of Cooley, Mead, Simmel and Solomon, I conducted and analysed interviews with young Swedish men and women, in which they talked about their experiences and attitudes towards playlists. Moreover, all participants compiled their own personal playlist, based on certain personality traits, which were aimed to be recognized by the others during the focus group discussion. The analysis of the data yields the following conclusions: The playlist is a social object, facilitating new forms of communication. The social nature of the playlist is based on the transformation from objective- into subjective culture.
By internalizing new technologies, such as the playlist, objects gain social value, thus mere musical content becomes a social form. It is through sharing and exchanging musical compilations that the playlist, as a social form, serves as a vehicle or medium, facilitating new forms of sociation and communication. ​The communicative function of the playlist is due to its construction through emotions as uniquely subjective judgements, based on the “I” as an emotional self-feeling. Thus, musical compilations take part in the self-construction process, and can serve as a tool for the symbolic expression of the self.

Moreover, the analysis points out that there are differences in how well certain parts of the self can be communicated by a playlist. Emotional expressions of the self are translated into particular universal music patterns most successfully. Furthermore, the analysis shows that some people like to browse through the playlists of others and judge them thereupon, which results in some type of musical voyeurism, termed “playlistism.” In conclusion, I argue that the musical playlist is both, socially implicated and socially implicating, and facilitates communication not only between
Swedish youth but across cultural boarders.

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