Performance: Out of the Absurdity of Life


Audio-visual Stories around subcultural and experimental music in Africa, Asia, and Switzerland today. Thomas Burkhalter, founder of - Network for Local and Global Sounds and Media Culture - mixes music, video-clips and quotes from his physical and virtual fieldtrips. - In two formats: Performance or Sound-Lecture.

Lecture @ My Sound of Music Festival, Salzburg (Photo Lorenz Migsch)

Lecture @ My Sound of Music Festival, Salzburg (Photo Lorenz Migsch)

Burkhalter discusses what he calls «World Music 2.0»: Musicians from Beijing to Tijuana, from Istanbul to Johannesburg, mix and manipulate local and global sounds and ideas within their music. They network with artists and multipliers (e.g., curators, producers, journalist, and scholars) worldwide and experiment with new ways of producing, distributing, and selling music. Style-wise, the sample is broad: commercially successful styles of pop music like reggaeton and kwaito, and electronic music styles like kuduro, tecno brega, baile funk, mahragan (electro sha’abi), shangaan electro, or cumbia electronica form the popular end of the spectrum. The experimental end offers African, Asian, and Latin American musique concrète, free improvisation, noise music, and sound art.


> 06.12.2014, Post Digital Cultures, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne
> 16.07.2014, Eine Welt Haus, München
> 15.07.2014, Mediendesign, Ravensburg
> 26.06.2014, Noises Festival, Noises Festival, Koblenz
> 12.06.2014, Aga Khan University, Karachi (Pakistan)
> 28.01.2014, Palace, St. Gallen
> 03.12.2013, Völkerkundemuseum, Zurich
> 26.11.2013, Favorit Bar, Munich
> 13.09.2013, My Sound of Music Festival, Salzburg
> 06.09.2013, Berlin Music Week, Berlin
> 06.04.2013, Cully Jazz Off Festival, Cully
> 09.03.2013, 100Copies Space, Kairo


Performance or Sound-Lecture, 30 to 60 minutes, in English or German language.

Perfomance @ 100Copies Space, Cairo.

Perfomance @ 100Copies Space, Cairo.


Dr. Thomas Burkhalter is an ethnomusicologist, music journalist, and cultural producer from Switzerland. The founder and director of Norient, he published the book Local Music Scenes and Globalization: Transnational Platforms in Beirut (Routledge) and co-edited The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity (Wesleyan University Press), Seismographic Sounds – Visions of a New World (Norient) and Out of the Absurdity of Life – Globale Musik (Norient/Traversion). He works as a researcher and project leader at the University of Basel and the University of Arts Bern (HKB), financed by the Swiss National Foundation (SNF). As the director of the Norient Musikfilm Festival, a documentary filmmaker and audio-visual performer, he places emphasis on transdisciplinary approaches between theory and practice.

See CV, publications, films and projects: Here

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