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Sonic Figurations for the Anthropocene: A Musical Bestiary in the Compositions of Liza Lim

Browning, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7013-7959 & Lim, L. (2021). Sonic Figurations for the Anthropocene: A Musical Bestiary in the Compositions of Liza Lim. Journal of the Royal Musical Association,


This article presents a musical bestiary, a collection of creatures found in the work of the composer Liza Lim. It is a thought experiment, meant to unsettle current ways of thinking about music and its relationship with the world. Centring our discussion on sonic figurations rather than on a composer’s works, we experiment with alternative musical ontologies and consider their lessons for understanding the role of contemporary art in a time of ecological breakdown. Thinking of Lim’s musical creations in terms of strange beasts inhabiting the Anthropocene draws out a range of themes – including uncanny ventriloquism, performerinstrument symbiosis, theatricalisation and the everyday, musical ourning and witnessing – that might help make sense of the sensory and conceptual derangements of our time. The prose style and nonlinear format are likewise experimental, intended as provocations that we might read and write otherwise about music in the Anthropocene.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is to be published in a revised form in Journal of the Royal Musical Association, This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © copyright holder.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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