This thesis discusses music's role in utopian community-building by using a case study of a specific composer, Pauline Oliveros, who believed her work could provide a positive "pathway to the future" resembling other utopian visions. The questions of utopian intent, potential, and method are explored through an analysis of Oliveros's untraditional scores, as well as an exploration of Oliveros's writings and secondary accounts from members of the Deep Listening community. This document explores Oliveros's utopian beliefs and practices and outlines important aspects of her utopian vision as they relate to three major utopian models: the traditional "end-state" model, the anarchical model, and the postmodern "method" utopian model. Oliveros exhibits all three models within her work, although this thesis argues that she is, for the most part, a method utopian. While her ceremonial group improvisations like Link/Bonn Feier resemble anarchical works by John Cage, they exhibit a greater interest in the past and in process than most anarchical models allow. Likewise, while her visions of a future aided by AI and bio-technologies appear end-state, her improvisational works with her Electronic Instrument System (EIS) suggest a more process-based, method utopian approach. Her Deep Listening practice is deeply method-utopian, and her Center for Deep Listening can be viewed as an attempt at bringing these method utopian principles to the real world.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Music
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
McLaughlin, Hannah Christina, "Pauline Oliveros and the Quest for Musical Utopia" (2018). All Theses and Dissertations. 6828.
Pauline Oliveros, utopia, postmodernism, John Cage, utopian novel, electronic music, Deep Listening, improvisation, ceremonial music, Ray Kurzweil, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, speculative fiction