13 November 2021
Music as Spectral Infrastructure

Le Guess Who? 2021

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht proudly presents Music as Spectral Infrastructure, a two-day program of discussions, sound works, film screenings, and DJ sets organized in the framework of the festival Le Guess Who? 2021 in Utrecht.

Taking place 13–14 November 2021, Music as Spectral Infrastructure features, among others: artist, scholar, writer, and DJ Lynnée Denise (London); artist and writer Laura Grace Ford (London); writer and researcher Edward George (London); artist and musician Paul Purgas (London); researcher and teacher Paul Rekret (London); artist, writer, and musician xin (London); and occasional writer, editor, curator, and musician Ollie Zhang (London).
Spectral Infrastructure
Part of a long-term research project “Spectral Infrastructure” by freethought collective at BAK (20202023), the program inquires into how the sonic, visual, and spatial modalities of electronic music hold today a key position along the intersections of culture, politics, and economics. The history of dub, house, hip hop, techno, jungle, grime, etc. not only forms a source of capital exploited by cultural industries, tourism, and gentrification projects, music itself has become, through streaming platforms, an electronic medium in which environments can be personalized and the desires of audiences can be tracked.

But what if music could become a medium of socio-spatial composition—a spectral infrastructure—opposed to the systems of digital individuation and financial accumulation cultured by racial capitalism? Or a spectral infrastructure that forms the invisible, undefinable, illegible, yet empowering texture of collectivity; an ephemeral glue that can hold us together in affective modality to ward off the regimes of capture deployed by the powers that be?

These questions form the basis for an interconnected program of presentations, conversations, and DJ sets, reflecting on the different dimensions and histories of music and sound, in order to study the ways in which electronic music has and can continue to become not only a medium of collective experience, but also a mode of collective thought and political action. Musicians, artists, writers, researchers, and educators ponder this possibility and draft fragmentary genealogies of both resistance to neoliberal governance and propositions that go beyond the economies within which the music is conventionally considered.

Music as Spectral Infrastructure has been devised by Louis Moreno (lecturer, Department of Visual Cultures and the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London, London) for freethought and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in the context of the Le Guess Who? 2021, and is realized as part of an ongoing collaboration between BAK, basis voor actuele kunst and Le Guess Who? in Utrecht.
Day One, Saturday 13 November 2021, 14.00–18.00 hrs
Day one reflects on the present and historical state of electronic music, looking at how it registers traces and resistances to the corporate and statist drives while structuring collective musical and sonic desire.

Afternoon (14.00–17.00 hrs)
14.00–14.15 hrs
Louis Moreno

14.15–15.30 hrs
India Tapes (19691972)
Paul Purgas
Presentation and conversation with music

15.30–17.00 hrs
Music for Airports, Playlists, and Other Rent-Seeking Platforms
Paul Rekret and Ollie Zhang
Presentations and conversation with music excerpts

17.00–17.15 hrs

17.15–18.00 hrs
Radical Spectrality: Solstice 93
Laura Grace Ford
Listening session for a new sound work by Grace Ford, Solstice 93

Day Two, Sunday 14 November 2021, 13.00–18.00 hrs
[/b]Day two considers the sound system as a form of spectral infrastructure, and how anti-colonial resistance to racial capitalism was channeled through sound system music such as dub, house, techno, and jungle.

Afternoon (13.00–16.00 hrs)
13.00–13.15 hrs
Louis Moreno

13.15–14.30 hrs
Black Audio Film Collective (Reece Auguiste), Twilight City, 1989, 60 min.
Film screening

14.30–15.15 hrs
Turntable Epistemologies
Lynnée Denise
Presentation and conversation with music excerpts

15.15–16.00 hrs
The Strangeness of Dub
Edward George
Presentation and conversation with music excerpts

16.00–16.15 hrs

16.15–18.00 hrs
Turntable Methodologies Listening Session
Lynnée Denise

Sound of Music Listening Session
Edward George

All times are Central European Time/CET

Program update 12–11–2021

Dear visitor,

In response to the rising number of infections and hospitalizations in the Netherlands, last evening the Dutch government announced new Covid-19 measures, which go into effect from Saturday 13 November 2021, 18 hrs.

The program of Music as Spectral Infrastructure, organized in the context of Le Guess Who? 2021, thus takes place in an adapted version, with adjustments to time schedules and seating. The most important change is that the program ends at 18 hrs on both days. The evening contributions are in part moved to the afternoon program and partially cancelled. The program is now fully seated, so we ask you to please take a seat as soon as you enter BAK’s auditorium. Here’s what this means for the program:

Saturday 13 November 2021:

– Laura Grace Ford’s new sound work (that was set to take place from 18.30–19.30 hrs) is now moved to 17.15–18.00 hrs (with a short break from 17.00–17.15 hrs);

– Dinner and the three DJ sets by Laura Grace Ford, xin, and Paul Purgas in the evening are cancelled.

Sunday 14 November 2021:

– The two DJ sets by Lynnée Denise and Edward George (that were set to take place from 17.00–19.00 hrs) are turned into seated listening sessions and end at 18.00 hrs (with a short break from 16.00–16.15 hrs).

What does this mean for your planned visit to BAK?
You are very welcome to join us, either with a booked ticket via BAK or with a Le Guess Who? 2021 festival wristband, combined with your Coronatoegangsbewijs (“Corona proof of entry”) and a valid ID. Please follow BAK’s Covid-19 guidelines, to help us ensure a safe environment for all those present.

For those who booked tickets for the afternoon programs: these are now valid until 18.00 hrs. For those who booked tickets for the evening programs, which are now cancelled/moved to the afternoon program: we will contact you separately.

We are happy to be able to continue the program in spite of these challenges, and look forward to having you with us at BAK this weekend!

The BAK Team