Music curation as a site-oriented practice
: Approaches to creating and staging listening experiences

  • Aleksandra Elina

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis explores curation in music and sonic arts as an expansive practice guided by its connections with site which is addressed as both the physical and socio-cultural context. Based on personal experiences of the author as a practicing music curator, as well as on the investigation of broad curatorial strategies in the arts, the text encompasses different dimensions. It offers historical grounds linked to the development of musical venues and concert formats, and the exhibition making. This, to highlight how various formats that facilitate listening experiences existing today are rooted in the experiments undertaken over the past few centuries in Western music. The thesis directs the discussion into the notions of site and situation, setting a categorisation of site-oriented music situations, based on American artist Robert Irwin's typology of public/site art, in order to propose a broader terminology to the works and events working directly with space. It also explores the parameters that constitute a framework in the musical context, questioning the ways it contours spatial and temporal boundaries in a concert or other listening activity. The text discusses the areas of responsibility and the role of the music curator as someone who mediates between sounds, spaces, and individuals. It suggests that the aspects involved in this activity can create an impactful listening experience for the audience when studied and reflected upon. Ultimately, this thesis uncovers the links between musical content, social context, and the site in which the sound works are presented. It aims to contribute to and broaden understanding of the multifaceted role of the curator in the music field, highlighting unique qualities and responsibilities associated with it, as this nascent discipline is being established in the industry.
Date of Award7 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMonty Adkins (Main Supervisor) & Rowan Bailey (Co-Supervisor)

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