Hide to Show: ‘Memefying’ Live Music

DOI I https://doi.org/10.51191/issn.2637-1898.2022.5.8.29 


Pascal Gielen (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2846-4328)

University of Antwerp, Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA), Antwerp, Belgium

Author’s contact information: : Pascal.Gielen@uantwerpen.be


Thomas R. Moore (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6614-2330)

University of Antwerp and Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp (ARIA), Antwerp, Belgium

Author’s contact information: thomas@thomasrmoore.co.uk


INSAM Journal of Contemporary Music, Art and Technology, Issue 8, 2022

Main Theme of the Issue: Fighting for the Attention: Music and Art on Social Media

Publisher: INSAM Institute for Contemporary Artistic Music, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina  


Abstract: Michael Beil’s scenic composition Hide to Show (2021) thematizes a basic principle of social media, namely hiding mistakes, failures, or any vulnerable matters with the purpose of simulating an ever-perfect, active, and successful image and profile. Beil’s piece, with memes and memefication as a guiding principle and compositional format, plays along the hyperreal boundary between live performance and digital re-representation. The audience is continuously misled and often left guessing between real and digital, confusing a real body with its projected simulation and live performed music with a (pre)recording. Perhaps more misleading, the live music and vocals are frequently processed in real time, too. Mistakes, but also individual interpretations and authentic appropriations of the piece are smoothed out or erased. Beil’s composition may realize with this ‘fixing’ technique one ideal of today’s live performer: guaranteed perfectionism on stage. In this article, a performer-researcher from Hide to Show and a sociologist of culture and politics analyze the possibilities and limitations of digital art and Internet culture found in Beil’s work. What (new) requirements are demanded of the live performers and technicians? And how does digital simulation affect the artistic experience and aesthetics of contemporary art music and of social life itself?  

Keywords: perfectionism, meme, digital performance, scenic composition, simulation, hyperreality, the Real.


2. INSAM Journal 8, Gielen and Moore

ISSN 2637 – 1898
On the cover: Tiamat by Kim Diaz Holm
Design and layout: Milan Šuput, Bojana Radovanović