Recomposed: Music Climate Crisis Change - Environmental Humanities Lecture

The environment is having a massive impact on music, changing what music is and how it comes to be, not just what it is about or how it sounds. In this lecture, Kyle Devine, professor of musicology at UiO, presents the nuances in this Great Recomposition, and the importance of overriding our defaults. 

A woman is listening to music on her earphones in a greenhouse.


About the presentation

Everywhere you look, the musical world is changing—overhauling itself in response to climate crisis. There are records made of plants and stereos that run on sunshine. Musicians, bands, and entire genres have committed to sustainable touring. We have industry-specific carbon calculators, emissions audits, and climate credentials. A variety of organizations now size up (and draw down) the environmental impact of music on all levels. And there is a lot of eco-awareness: white papers, grey literature, green roadmaps, yellow pages, university courses, podcasts, and more. We are witnessing a climate-oriented transformation of what music is and how it comes to be, not just what it is about or how it sounds. Call it the Great Recomposition.

The Great Recomposition probably seems like a Good Thing. It is. And it isn’t. This presentation explains how both things can be true at the same time. Drawing on research with the people driving music’s large-scale climate action—dozens of them, at all levels, from around the world—I argue that music’s large-scale climate action is necessary and welcome, on the one hand, but also constrained and limited, on the other. My bet is that we can most clearly see what is good about the Recomposition—as well as where its limitations lie and what else might be possible—if we learn to override some of our default settings on climate issues.

About the presenter Image may contain: Forehead, Smile, Cheek, Eyebrow, Jaw.

Kyle Devine works in the Department of Musicology and the School of Environmental Humanities at the University of Oslo. His books include Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music and Audible Infrastructures: Music, Sound, Media.

Tags: Environmental Humanities, Musicology
Published Sep. 13, 2022 10:04 PM - Last modified Sep. 23, 2022 1:33 PM