Feminist and Queer Noisemaking: An Exploration of Gender and Sexuality in Electronic Art Music

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper

Abstract: Men can be said to dominate the music industry, especially when it comes to composers and musicians who create experimental music and sounds which fall outside of mainstream music.Women and members of the LGBTQ+ community remain minorities within these genres, with little research being done on queer and feminist perspectives. This qualitative thesis focuses on female and LGBTQ+ perspectives by critically examining how nonheteronormative notions of gender, sexuality and emotion can manifest in these types of music. It attempts to answer thefollowing research questions:a) Are nonheteronormative discourses of gender, sexuality and emotion present incomposers’ and musicians’ creative processes? If so, how?b) How do these expressions of identity contribute to the overall diversity of sound art and experimental music?c) Can feminist and queer activism be found within these types of music?Theoretically, this thesis is rooted in feminist musicology and sound studies, the literature ofwhich will be combined with gender studies theories such as performativity, disidentification, queer temporalities and queer subcultures. Methodologically, interviews were conducted with the Stockholm based noise duos Seroconversion and Sisterloops in combination with the analyses of their pieces and an analysis of Playground of Yesterday by Merve Erez. Critical discourse analysis was used to identify feminist and/or queer discourses in the interviews which then went on to inform the piece analysis. The findings suggest that gender can be present in the process of composing such pieces and the music itself can become an empty signifier upon which the artist is free to add discourses, which sometimes allows for activism to present itself.

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