Alum Ritwik Banerji at the MMaP Research Center

17 Feb, 2019

Alum Ritwik Banerji at the MMaP Research Center

Alum Ritwik Banerji visited the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP) at the Memorial University of Newfoundland to present "Prying Apart the Social Phenomenology of Free Improvisation" as part of Phenomenology in Ethnomusicology 2018: The St. John’s Conference, which took place June 6–8, 2018. You can now see his fantastic presentation online!

How can we access the “unassumable” (Levinas, 1998) nature of our interlocutor’s experience of an interaction? On the one hand, as implicitly suggested by Dreyfus (1972, 1992, 2007), asking human beings to interact with artificial social interactants (ASI) and discuss their failure to be adequately human prompts them to detail elements of their experience of social interaction often glossed over in their “natural attitude” towards interaction (Husserl, 2012 [1913]). On the other, the “bracketing” (ibid.) induced by the encounter with an ASI elicits the articulations of preferences for how musical or social interaction should be conducted, desires which often lie buried beneath the imperative to conduct the interaction smoothly and at speed. Drawing on several years of fieldwork testing an ASI built to perform as a free improviser, this paper examines the relationship between the accounts of the experience of social interaction elicited through the encounter with an ASI and the experience of inter-human social interaction the ASI re-embodies. The purpose is not merely to assess the relationship in this context, but to argue that the critical encounter of human musicians and machines built to perform humanly constitutes a highly productive frontier of ethnomusicological research, one which shows great promise for understanding the ever illusive nature of intersubjective experience, whether within music exclusively or in human social interaction generally.

To see more papers from the conference click here

To see the conference program and more information about the event, click here