Erik Steinskog on Afrofuturism, Aesthetics and Technology
In this lecture, Erik Steinskog (University of Copenhagen) will discuss afrofuturism in music and the relation between technology, aesthetics and history.
photo: Tore Lind/Erik Steinskog
The Sound of the Future: Afrofuturism, Aesthetics and Technologyi: Afrofuturism is often defined as a form of speculative fiction emerging through the encounter with new technologies, and afrofuturist art and aesthetics exist across art forms and genre. In this lecture, I will discuss African-American music and the idea of "the sound of the future" that has informed afrofuturist discourses for the past 25 years. The use of keyboards in the music of Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock and Bernie Worrell, as well as the guitar inventions of Jimi Hendrix, represent one type of sonic extension - another appear in hip-hop production, for instance in the work of Ras G and Flying Lotus. However, afrofuturism does not primarily support linear history: the sound of the future is also a combinatory art, drawing of musical and technical references from a variety of historical contexts - as seen in Eddie Harris’ use of the electric saxophone or the role of the record player in Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man. This is a future-oriented music emerging out of speculations on time and history and questions of how technologies support the production of new types of sounds - a music that also constantly questions the historical inscription of the music itself.
Erik Steinskog is associate professor in musicology at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen. Recent publications include: Afrofuturism and Black Sound Studies: Culture, Technology, and Things to Come (2018). ”Electric Affinities: Jimi Hendrix, Richard Wagner, and the Thingness of Sound” (2019), ”Metropolis 2.0: Janelle Monáe’s recycling of Fritz Lang” (2019), ”On the Other Side of Time: Afrofuturism and the Sounds of the Future” (2019),
The lecture is free and open for all.
Published Jan. 13, 2020 4:34 PM
- Last modified Jan. 13, 2020 5:11 PM