This is a very interesting piece.
I think we need to look past the “decolonizing” frame, but I really love the consideration of multi-perspectivalism, and how certain perspectives and cultural leanings get physically encoded into LR systems — which can then restrict the forms of expression that can be enacted using those systems.
This is an interesting case, because electronic music obviously emerged through the West, so the software is going to reflect Western temperament, tones, scales, idioms, music theory, etc. And that software then gets exported into other cultures with their own temperaments and scales, which is inevitably going to feel restricting and maybe even “colonizing” to the artists in that culture — especially since these are the only kinds of software available to them.
It feels like this article is a great opportunity to invite more “post-woke” (as opposed to “anti-woke”) conversations. It surfaces some of the really-real realities and multicultural challenges that wokism is legitimately trying to respond to — while also showing how limited their interpretations and prescriptions tend to be.
Yes, LL biases get encoded into LR systems (in this case into the systemization of music theory itself, and then that music theory gets encoded in the software). And oftentimes these biases go unnoticed until that LR system is dropped into a new LL context. Yes, some things that are commonly described as “universal” or “worldcentric” still retain some regional/cultural bias.
No, these are mostly not intentional efforts to colonize or oppresss. It’s just the result of local cultural expressions (and technologies) finding their way to the world stage and rubbing against each other.
I think this post-woke context (again, in contrast to “anti-woke”) is very important. If anything, it invites more people to play, and reminds us that here are some very real babies the need to be saved from the bathwater of illiberal overreach.
As I like to say these days, I think we need to elevate the idea of “intersectionality of identity" to a genuine “intersectionality of perspective", where “identity” is just one of many layers in the stack.
Integral IS intersectionality. It just does it better.
Where woke intersectionality is purely an intersectionality of “types” (race, gender, orientation, etc.), integral intersectionality brings all the other major factors.
Healthy “wokism” invites us to take a closer look at the Zone-4 waters we are swimming in — waters that are typically very difficult to notice before we get to the green altitude — and to clean up that water when we need to. Unhealthy wokism, on the other hand, imagines that the other 50% of the country are deliberately dumping poison into the water, when more often than not they are just swimming in waters they themselves cannot yet see.
Let’s go post-woke my friends.