I’ve been trying to work on my dissertation for the last 2-3 weeks. It was really hard to re-consider all of my material since a) I’m extremely tired and cannot think at all and b) I didn’t know what else to write about. After analysing it to the core, I realised I cannot speak of circuit-bending as a part of popular music. At least not like this.
I rather see circuit-bending as it is: a post-subcultural form of hardware hacking. A post-postmodern process of making music. And all this, in the context of the subculture of hacking. But that’s not all.
As everyone knows, there are times when subcultures influence the dominant, hegemonic culture. More specifically, if it wasn’t for hackers, I wouldn’t have an Apple MacIntosh today. Or even, no keyboards, computer software etc. All these emerged from the avant-garde and/or subcultures.
But also, there are times when something from the dominant, mainstream culture is abducted to the underground, subculture. And that’s when circuit-bending comes: benders take commodified objects – and I’m not only talking about ready-made toys or keyboards, but also electronic parts which are massively sold at Radioshack – and turn them into something new.
Sometimes, this outcome is brought back to the mainstream – for instance, benders that sell their work on purpose. This shift from avant-garde to mainstream to underground to mainstream etc constructs on the one hand a vicious circle, but on the other, it tell us how popular culture is changing. It’s like a cultural map of contemporary society.
Well that’s how far I’ve gone until now. And yeah, dissertation has totally changed:
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.2 Methodological Note
Chapter 2: Theoretical context
2.1 Theory of Culture
2.1.1 Mass and Popular Culture
2.1.2 Subculture and Post-subculture
2.2 Hacking as subculture
2.3 Contemporary Music creation
2.4 On the borders of creativity: From (post)subculture to dominant culture
This is what I’m trying to finish so far. I’m about to finish 2.1.2. It’s not too bad, is it?
I hope I can make it. I’ve set a deadline in 16 days from today.