Like so many things I both know and don't know

Busby, Lisa. 2017. Like so many things I both know and don't know. Dancecult Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture, 9(1), ISSN 1947-5403 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In 2014, I was commissioned to make a new work for Survival Kit Festival, Umeå, Sweden. The outcome, I begin alone in this action: a series of sounding zones, was a number of outdoor long duration sounding performances in the city and surrounding rural area. In eight different locations, I undertook a series of eight-hour DJ performances with a bespoke and portable, self-powered sound system, and a selection of domestic playback equipment. This site-specific set of actions proposed to explore bodily endurance in performance; the socio-cultural role of the soundsystem as a viable tool to create what Bey termed the “temporary autonomous zone” (1985); the fringes or limits of what skills and sites might be considered DJ practice. I have continued to investigate site-specificity in DJing through collaborative practice; in 2015 artists Ruthie Woodward, Francine Perry and I formed the ensemble, The Nomadic Female DJ Troupe. In our performances we also worked without mains electricity and “off stage” at festivals and gigs on the UK DIY scene. We developed interests in blurring the lines between experimental live improvisation and more traditional mixing practices; using our live sung voices in our mixes; and investigating plurivocal and collectivised structures inspired by various moments in feminist activist histories.

This article brings together textual and material fragments to illuminate this process; and reflects on strategic affinities with feminist histories, improvising feminism, opting out of hegemonic narratives and spaces and exploring norm-criticality in sound as a feminized and feminist practice, ‘edge-walking’ and inhabiting liminal spaces, the female voice in the the DJ mix, and vulnerable and confrontational bodies.

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DJ; site-specific; feminism; improvisation; autoethnography

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


14 November 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

01 Dec 2017 14:14

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2018 13:57


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