Exhausted Commodities: The Material Culture of Music

Will Straw

Abstract


Abstract: The twentieth century ended with the widespread conversion of cultural artefacts into digital information. Less attention has been granted to the ways in which cultural artefacts accumulate in the form of "things"-tangible books, recordings, and other objects whose economic value has often withered. This article examines the question of cultural waste and looks at those commercial and social institutions (such as the flea market and garage sale) which have evolved in order to keep old cultural commodities circulating. The recycling of old musical styles within contemporary practice is examined as one means of retrieving and revalorizing cultural waste.



Résumé: La transposition massive d'artefacts culturels sous forme digitale a marqué la fin du 20e siècle. En revanche, on a porté moins d'attention à l'accumulation de ces artefacts sous forme de «choses»-livres, enregistrements et autres objets matériaux dont la valeur marchande a fortement diminué dans bien des cas. Cet article examine la question de détritus culturels, et jette un regard sur les institutions commerciales et sociales (telles que le marché aux puces et la vente de garage) qui ont évolué afin de garder les vieux biens culturels en circulation. En outre, l'article examine le recyclage d'anciens styles musicaux dans la pratique contemporaine, à titre d'exemple de récupération et de remise en valeur de détritus culturels.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2000v25n1a1148

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