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Work in Improvised Music: Playbour, Improvisation and Neo-liberalism
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC))
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC))ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5364-8036
2019 (English)In: PARSE Journal, ISSN 1611-1052, E-ISSN 2002-0953, no 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper is based on a combination of theoretical and practical research. The purpose of this paper is to discuss digitalisation and its effect on music in relation to the concept of “playbour”. It combines theories of games and labour with the practices of improvisation in live electronic music and economy. We observe similarities between these two research fields, one of which is rooted in the social sciences and philosophy and the other in artistic composition and creative methodologies. Although we make no assessment on a possible causality in the chain of events between theory and practice, we do want to investigate a cross-disciplinary field that combines improvisation, game studies and the organisation of labour. These three fields all use the notion of play to convey different outcomes, which are valorised differently according to the concepts of labour applied. The world of fine art and music composition has in the past been associated with that of game and play,1 and both have been seen as socially formative and educational for the participants. But, as we will argue, it is in our current digital economy that computer games, music production and organisation of work have converged as part of the neo-liberal economy. We will argue that the neo-liberal digital economy flattens the spectrum of musical performance so that it resembles modern play in computer games or in work life. As a consequence of this, improvised music in particular is devalued and the players degraded to immaterial labourers without wage compensation. Our aim is to question how improvisation is valued according to the digital economy, which does not duly compensate musicians for their labour. How can we see musical improvisation as a form of labour that is reduced to modern forms of play? What is it that produces wealth and value in improvised music?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: University of Gothenburg & Platform for Artistic Research Sweden , 2019. no 9
Keywords [en]
work, music, playbour, neoliberalism, improvisation
National Category
Musicology Music
Research subject
Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16876OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16876DiVA, id: diva2:1314635
Available from: 2019-05-09 Created: 2019-05-09 Last updated: 2019-09-30Bibliographically approved

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Bröndum, LarsKristensen, Lars

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