Tuning and metagesture after new natures

Authored by: Sally Jane Norman

The Routledge Research Companion to Electronic Music

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781472472915
eBook ISBN: 9781315612911
Adobe ISBN:


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We tune in and out, we tune machines and instruments, and fine-tune to adapt ourselves and our systems. Extended conceptions of scale and reach require new tunings and metagestures – gestures generated and relayed through digital prosthetics. In turn, the evolving dynamics of tuning and metagesture reshape creative practices. Beyond pragmatic implementations, tuning and the yearnings of metagesture are volitional forces that drive us to explore, recognise and respect nuances, to savour and value difference as a cultural strength, and to non-invasively discover new natures. Acts of tuning and metagesture are deeply ethical. Systems defined as exosomatic – artefacts that extend, substitute and compensate for natural powers of the human body – are decried by those who see them as dangerously outstripping our biological rhythms. Conversely, they are defended by those who believe that we are drawn to defy constraints, and indeed who view this as a defining characteristic of our species. Yet debate about our very identity as a species prompts questioning about what kinds and scales of experience remain meaningful, as we strive to reach beyond familiar domains. This chapter is focussed on the tuning demands of our transformed instrumental practices and technological environments.

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