El Sistema: A Subjectivity of Time Discipline (2012)
The creation of a youth symphony orchestra by the economist, former politician and passionate music practitioner José Antonio Abreu, in the late seventies, has evolved into a social initiative overwhelmingly acclaimed by the general public and legitimated by a large number of world institutional powers that has more recently spread to many other parts of the globe. El Sistema, as it is commonly known, seeks to socially include poor communities around the world by promoting music education focused on the experience of symphonic performance. This article critically approaches the Venezuelan program by discussing the subjectivities surrounding the symphony orchestra that made it symbolically representative of the ideals of discipline and productivity according to the social rationality of industrial capitalism. Moreover, it defends the preponderant role of the modern construct of linear time, fundamental for such rationality, in the disciplining of intuition in symphonic performance.
Keywords: El Sistema, symphony orchestra, time, intuition, Modernism, performance.
Sistema Scotland: A Critical Inquiry into the Implementation of the El Sistema Model in Raploch. (2012)
In the mid-1970’s a group of young Venezuelan musicians, led by the economist, politician and musician José Antonio Abreu, started a youth symphony orchestra that became the social initiative broadly known nowadays as El Sistema. By offering free classical music education to deprived communities, the initiative aimed at rescuing millions of Venezuelans from poverty. Since then, El Sistema has not only grown into a solid institution in its home country but has continued to expand to other parts of the globe. In 2008, the Venezuelan program was launched in Raploch, a community in Central Scotland with a long history of deprivation. Named Big Noise and under the supervision of the charity Sistema Scotland, the initiative seeks to positively change the life of the residents of Raploch. This work offers a critique of the El Sistema movement and its implementation in the community of Raploch by analyzing contemporary subjectivities emerged from the current cultural dynamic in the institutional discourse of both initiatives.
Keywords: El Sistema, Sistema Scotland, social inclusion, discipline, symphony orchestra .
A Orquestra Sinfônica: Uma Nova Economia da Experiência Estética. Uma subjetividade do modernismo no contemporâneo. (The Symphony Orchestra: A New Economy of the Aesthetic Experience. A Subjectivity of Modernism in the Contemporary.) (2009)
In his article The Coming of the New Organization, Peter F. Drucker introduced the idea of the modern symphony orchestra as a corporate management model in the context of globalization. Simultaneously, the use of the symphonic ensemble as an educational instrument for social inclusion in poor communities of “developing” countries has proliferated. This work offers a critique of the concomitance of these applications within globalization. It broaches the changes in capitalism and its effects on human subjectivity, linking three elements: the body, music, and space-time. For the construction of the argument, this paper discusses: 1) the foundation of aesthetics as a term which originally referred to the senses, and the over-valorization of reason — flagrant in Western society — from its origin in the Classical period to its surpassing of intuition as a way to acquire knowledge in the ideals of the Enlightenment; 2) music as a form of bodily experimentation through imaginative, intuitive exercise, Aiôn vs. Khronos, creative time vis-à-vis chronological time; third, space-time transformations in the rise of modern society, the gradual emergence of the large symphony orchestra in the 19th century, introducing a new economy of the aesthetic experience — an incursion in human subjectivity, the unfolding of the modern space-time consciousness, fundamental to the affirmation of the capitalist mode of production.
Keywords: symphony orchestra, aesthetic experience, body, espace-time, globalization, social inclusion.