'The Vertigo of Eros': Examining the Aesthetic-Ecstatic Space of Electronic Music for the Postmodern Subject
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This study applies modem and postmodern theoretical concepts toward the analysis of interviews and observations collected at two American music festivals, as well as in examining the subcultural productions of the electronic music genre. Much of the terminology regarding modem-postmodem cultural productions and subjectivity that have informed this paper come from Marianne De Koven's critical literary text, Utopia Limited. DeKoven's work locates the 1960's as the critical transitional period between the modem (through the 60's) and the postmodern (post-60"s), as dominant cultural forms in the United States. Within this framework, the modem is roughly organized by the ideals of the 19th century Enlightenment and its promises of total social transformation through 'moral' and 'scientific' progress; the postmodem represents the disintegration of many of these ideals and the shift toward 'subject politics' or local, particular, and diffuse forms of identity and resistance toward oppressive social structures. De Koven's conception of "utopia limited" documents the resilience of modernism's utopic aims as they have been preserved and transformed in the postmodem context; I seek to further the implications of this concept in order to recover the value of modem and postmodcrn insights. and in understanding the "structure of feeling" (DeKoven, 2004) ern bedded within electronic ·music's performative subculture. In examining the performance as a dynamic system of interchange, and the locus of the resilient utopian 'impulse' through aesthetic and subversive ecstatic experience, the progressive implications of this "utopia limited" are explored, be they distinctly fragmented, local-particular, and always-already unrealized aims.