Tomorrow I depart from Norway to East Africa, where I will give a
keynote speech entitled “New Theories and Methods in Ethnomusicology” for the 7th
annual Ethnomusicology Symposium at University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The
conference is organized by ethnomusicology professors Mitchel Strumpf and Imani
Sanga, and this year’s event will feature a special tribute to influential musician
Following the event in Tanzania, I will give a lecture for
the Yared School of Music, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
Until yesterday I spent several days in London at King's College, where I gave
a speech for NNIMIPA entitled “Philosophy of History and a Rethinking of
Musicological Methods” and chaired a session on “Gesture and Touch” for the
third annual Music and Philosophy study group meeting of the Royal Musical
Association. Prior to that, I gave a presentation at the MayDay Group
conference in Vancouver and spent a few weeks in Seattle.
Nanette Nielsen and Tomas McAuley have done a wonderful job organizing the Music and Philosophy conference at King's College London for the past three years, and it has been a great privilege to participate in all three events. Scott Goble and Peter Gouzouasis hosted a very stimulating MayDay event at UBC-Vancouver that challenged participants to rethink possible futures for music education. Peter and I are exploring prospective international collaborations in the field of arts-based research. NNIMIPA (Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance, and Aesthetics) is also doing some very innovative research from a unique interdisciplinary perspective, combining approaches from philosophy, ethnomusicology and music education, with new insights from motion capture technologies and signal processing techniques from computer science. Alex Ruthmann (now Associate Professor of Music Education and Music Technology at NYU) was invited from the USA to join us at King's College London for NNIMIPA, along with Kristoffer Jensen, Cynthia Grund, and many others. We will be redeveloping the VocaLife project as one of an array of future endeavors.
Link for this project: http://vocalife.blogspot.no
Next month, I look forward to hosting the 25th
anniversary conference of the Nordic Association for Japanese and Korean
Studies in Bergen (where I will give the concluding plenary speech following keynote speeches by Keith Howard, Nanyan Guo, and Satoshi Kinsui), and there will be several music performances, including by the Helsinki Koto Ensemble, shakuhachi player Jonathan McCollum, and something I am preparing with our vocal jazz ensemble in Bergen. Later in August, I will be giving a keynote speech for a music conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan: “Musical
Traditions of the Orient in the Context of Contemporary Culture”.
Recently, due to my interest in the role of music in global
history, I have been concerned about cultural rights, and human rights more broadly, in relation to the
prospective impact of digital surveillance on the future of democracy. It follows that I am particularly interested in how the development of “total information awareness” via
massive digital interception and permanent storage may revolutionize
historiography from this point onward (as we exit digital prehistory into an
era in which even more of human existence is reduced to numbers manipulated by corporations and nontransparent governments). On a related
note, here is a link to the proposed International Principles on the
Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance: