Ole Nieling: Brainwashing Future Generations

A lecture by Ole Nieling: "OLME: Brainwashing Future Generations - How Sonic Exploration impacts cultural & humanistic traits"


Children learn through playful interactions with their surroundings. Most childsplay is based on sandbox situations: actual sandboxes, construction toys, drawing and social roleplay. These forms of exploration are essential in the development of human traits. A field where this exploration is limited, is sound. Tools and toys manufactured for creative sonic exploration cater to conventional forms of music. Furthermore these tools require pre-existing knowledge and technique in order to be operated properly. This talk focuses on challenging these notions, and poses the question how sonic exploration can be expanded upon to benefit the development of future generations.


Ole Nieling (1987) is an interdisciplinary 'life-style' artist. He playfully researches the tension amongst the fields he is expert in: music, visual art, performance, new media and craftsmanship. These mixtures result in a diverse body of work with as common denominator the mentality that: Instead of accepting predetermined notions (the famous "It's just the way it is"), one could also wonder why things are the way they are and act upon the findings. In November 2017 Ole started an apprenticeship in recorder building at the world renowned workshop of Adriana Breukink. This allows a daily insight in traditional instrument-building alongside an artistic practise. As a result the discrepancy amongst perspectives both concerning the role of art in today's world and different already existing disciplines is reduced, resulting in new possibilities for both the audience and the artist.


Based upon his childhood experiences Harry Partch (1901-1974) developed an extensive collection of instruments to be used alongside his own interpretation of musical theory. The characteristics of his scale, that is largely based upon the human voice, resemble that of microtonal music. Partch fondly recollected those childhood memories where he heard native american songs and his mother would sing to him in Mandarin chinese. Family visits to oriental opera’s were not uncommon. He refused the definition of abstract music and rather considered his work to be corporal in nature. His musical work is still being performed on the original instruments till this day, see videos here: Part 1/ Part 2.

Most of us will be well aware of the concept that entails pseudo-individualisation, yet most will not be aware of its definition. In “On popular music” Theodor Adorno considered the ‘industrialization’ of music.

Not all of his views may not have aged well as displayed by the disassembly of his rigid perspective by Roger Scruton. However the notion of pseudo-individualisation and what elements define cultural definitions are extremely valuable in assessing what defines what tastes our ear fancies.

This is a guest lecture in the course MCT4046.

Published Jan. 18, 2019 9:07 PM - Last modified Apr. 2, 2019 8:46 AM