Traditional Music Gone Digital: the Dialogues of Tradition and Contemporaneity in World Music Genre
The place and meaning of the concept of the tradition in contemporary times is a highly contested site in the fields of ethnomusicology and culture studies. If tradition is to be seen as something that connects us to the past through its unchangeability (which is then regarded as a „guarantee“ for its authenticity), then the new circumstances of the contemporary times (digitalization, music production, digital media, internet, social networks) seem as an impossibility for the tradition to survive and a key to its extinguishing. On the other hand, if we see tradition as a constant ability of a certain material to change and adapt to the new contexts still retaining its narrative/mythological structure, we are faced with a totally different interpretation; digital era becomes not an enemy, but a mighty vehicle for the traditional material to retain (and also shift and multiply) its function and place in the contemporary and future times. This presentation will deal with the concept of tradition and traditional music in predigital and digital era, concentrating on the World Music phenomenon which especially gained popularity through the digital media, internet and social networks and which can embody a platform for both (and many other) perspectives on the issue of the dialogues of tradition and contemporaneity in the field of music heritage and future. So is the contemporary digital era in the same time an end or a continuation of traditional music cultural development and transmitting? There is probably more than one answer, but still it’s challenging to think about it.
Seeing (My) Body Looking Back at Me, Once Again and Multiplied: the Digital Alibis of the Subject
In the times where the visual picture is produced, reproduced and distributed in a digital form, it seems that we are surrounded by the visual representations of the body more than ever, especially when the popular culture is involved. Through the billboards, commercials, photographs and other visual materials, our subjectivity is invited to recognize itself intensively in the culturally recommended visual models – the textual templates that we identify ourselves with, the digital alibis of the subject which often face us with the unreal models of a perfect(ly redesigned) body. But is the textual alibi, that repressing and haunting feeling of the necessity to “fit” in the picture all that we are left with regarding our subjectivity? Are there some possibilities of intervening into our own reading of visual textual/cultural models of the body, or, in the other words, is there a way to use a site of visuality to inscribe our own writing into it, altering the way in which digital commercial visual material is usually seen? These issues are especially challenging regarding to female/feminine body/subjectivity in its bodily/textual dialogue, which is in general always in a certain failure to completely fit into a phallocentric model that produces it. So can this exact uneasy position of a feminine subjectivity actually produce some different readings/writings in the field of digital visual material? Perhaps this question would open up another possibility of discussion and reclaim the important role of feminisms and postfeminisms in this present times.
Dragana Stojanović (1983) finished BA and MA studies in Ethnomusicology at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade. Her MA thesis focused on the research of the dialogical relations of the fields of ethnomusicology and gender studies and underlined the importance of the analysis of the cultural as textual. She followed her interest in gender studies further, concentrating on the specific position of the female body and subjectivity in the field of the language and representational spaces. Dragana Stojanović defended her PhD thesis Interpretations of the mapping of female body in the textual fields of art and culture in 2014, at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Theory of Art and Media department. She published theoretical papers in different journals in the fields of art theory, culture studies and ethnomusicology. She is currently working as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade.