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Involving experiences: audiencing and co-reception in Pleasure Garden

Browning, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7013-7959 (2020). Involving experiences: audiencing and co-reception in Pleasure Garden. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 145(1), pp. 191-227. doi: 10.1017/rma.2020.10


This article takes a site-specific, interactive sound installation called Pleasure Garden as a space for thinking about contemporary forms of musical experience. I develop a relational account of the ‘coreception’ of Pleasure Garden, centred not on listening subjects, but distributed across audience members, artists, researchers and the more-than-human assemblage of the installation itself. I also discuss the effects of several overlapping cultures of ‘audiencing’ associated with Western art music, sound art, and other forms of cultural experience – variously individualistic, distracted and participatory – characteristic of late capitalism. Tracing how Pleasure Garden both responded to, and was interrupted by, these wider forces, I take this case as suggestive of a deep ambivalence: that musical experience is at once powerfully conditioned and generatively uncertain. Throughout the article, problems of method, interpretation and representation intertwine, raising questions about how to study forms of musical experience that evade conventional ethnographic inquiry.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of the Royal Musical Association, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Audiences, Ethnography, Musical Experience, Reception, Sound Art, Western Art Music
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Text - Accepted Version
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