“Experimental” Music Practice and/or Self-Determination Politics: A Sicilian Diasporic Perspective


How can an intellectual project, centred on the revindication of one’s peripheral identity, be based on a privileged, ethnocentric corpus of (extra)musical practices and rituals — described as “experimental”, “new” or “contemporary” — that is inevitably imbricated with impalpable and yet perniciously operative notions such as “erudite”, “classical”, “Western”, “European”, etc.? On the one hand, self-determination activism and avant-garde music may both be seen as forms of symbolic production characterised by situations of substantial political isolation. On the other hand, claims for territorial and ethnic liberation may clash with the not-so-implicitly Eurocentric, white, aristocratic premises upon which the whole “erudite music” rubric is predicated. In addition, as someone born and grown up in the Southern fringes of Europe, who has lived and worked both in Northern Europe and South America, I also need to acknowledge the slippery nature of my supposed peripherality, always suspended between the racialised stereotypes traditionally assigned to Sicilians and the privileged condition of a white EU passport holder.


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