I’ve been doing some research into the ways in which different national jazz agencies around Europe use the internet as part of what they do.
At the 2011 Jazzahead conference, I interviewed delegates representing music centres and national jazz agencies from the UK, Netherlands, Slovenia, Iceland, France, Hungary, Finland, Estonia, Catalonia, Denmark, Belgium, Norway and Sweden. From those interviews, I was able to discern a number of shared concerns, overlapping strategies and common goals and approaches that these organisations have used to think about their online offerings.
While each national agency is essentially interested in the promotion and propagation of the jazz music of their own country, this basic commonality of intent is not uniformly reflected in the strategies each brings to the Internet in order to achieve that aim. In fact, in many ways, the approaches differ substantially. In part, this is attributable to the various differences in the cultural, economic and political objectives that underpin the activities of these organisations, but it also reflects differences in audience demographic profiles, access to financial, technical and human resources to develop the online offerings and the levels of online experience (and interest) staff members of the organisation possess.
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This is a short video taken by one of the artists involved in the Aftershock Project in Manchester earlier this year. In it, some musicians are composing a song together. A week earlier, most of them had never met. A week later, they had performed that song together on stage in front of a packed audience, and returned to their homes in England, France and Italy.
By itself, the video is fairly unremarkable, though it does give a brief insight into the creative process, which normally would be hidden from an audience. Musicians traditionally tend to like presenting finished things.
But what it represents in terms of a methodology, a process and a way of ‘making internet’ with respect to music (and musicking) is something that really interests me – and has formed the basis for much of my academic work over the past year or so.
Because what’s interesting is not the video itself, but the way in which that video potentially links to other, related videos from within the same context – and makes connections from which narrative meaning can be constructed.
Call it associative vernacular mediation.
In other words, just as you can build something unique with a set of Lego bricks, you can create a multi-perspective story using these rough-and-ready vernacular video clips.
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