The Situated Music Manifesto

For too long music was either a sphere on its own – an autonomous system of producing meaning that effectively bypassed abstract symbolic levels and language by entering the perceptual system through a unique sensual shortcut, òr it was a representation: a symbolic narrative of consecutive emotional states. Music was either a autonomous perceptive sphere, or it re-mediated a specific emotional continuum with sonic means.
Situated music is a third way – it is not a narrative, nor a self-referential system – it is a music that touches the world, a music that the world touches.
Situated music is a music that brings play to its environment. It doesn’t absorb environments into the sphere of music-making, it is the other way around: it makes music-making an act that follows from its immediate material and memetic surroundings – a situated act.
Situated music is a porous practice.
‘Things’ don’t become instruments – instruments are things among other things, each with their own sonic agency. Some things can be directional – in them is discovered an agency that is more on a par with that of a conductor than that of a player or an instrument. Some things sound right. Other things may have a capacity for listening, or resonating.
Situated music is indeed a way of listening, that allows for holes to be present and to be filled with other givens. But it is also a way of playing – as much a way of acting as of allowing. Situated music allows a place to appropriate the sonic sphere and its related means of perception.
The time and place have come for situated music.