SPAM (An)Archive: Performing under Surveillance


Isabel J. Piniella Grillet
Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent, Univ. Paris 8 – CNRS, Paris, France
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INSAM Journal of Contemporary Music, Art and Technology, Issue 9, 2022

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

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



Abstract: Inspired by the attempt to disrupt data gathering and asking ourselves about “spam” digital practices as forms of resistance, the project SPAM (An)Archive brought together the work of the (post)composer and media artist Óscar Escudero and the collective SoundTrieb, whose collaboration took place digitally via Zoom and physically in Switzerland in 2021. Escudero’s collaborative work in the last few years with the (post)composer and musicologist Belenish Moreno-Gil has been fruitful at a sociological and cultural level of analysis, beyond music aesthetics, as they both deal with social networks and digital behavior in their music theater compositions. Using Facebook as a digital stage, SoundTrieb’s version of [Custom #2] (a digital melodrama) allowed performers to develop a double personalization of the piece, intervening their own social media profiles. This paper does not intend to discuss a theoretical approach to these artworks, but their subversive capability. Through a cultural analysis approach, this article recognizes the critical potential against the architecture of digital surveillance that they can achieve, while drawing attention to our complacency to ubiquitous technologies. For this purpose, I introduce notions such as DIY music and coded representation, but I also borrow concepts such as Brigitta Muntendorf’s social composing and Escudero’s spam art. This paper explores, through work examples by all the above-mentioned artists, recent models of compositional work that blur the line between the digital and the physical, the virtual and the real, the private and the public.

Keywords: Digital surveillance, dataveillance, spam art, contemporary music, digital performance, performance analysis.


8. INSAM Journal 9_Piniella

ISSN 2637 – 1898

On the cover: Additive Duality by Joe Beedles, photo: Matteo Favero © IKLECTIK

Design and layout: Milan Šuput, Bojana Radovanović


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