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Between Popular Music and People's Music: Kim min-ki's Media Experiment, "Light of a Factory"

최유준 1

1전남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

If there is any room for 20th century ‘popular music’ to be interpreted as ‘people’s music’, the grounds for such an interpretation would be the oral practices embedded in popular music. But we cannot discuss the orality of popular music without considering sound reproduction technologies or the mass media connecting the individual members of an modern industrialized society to one other. And it is an inevitable irony that this mechanical reproduction and the mass media are products of a highly developed ‘literacy’ marked by scientific method, ‘rationality’, literate communication, and so forth. Therefore, at the very moment when our discussion of popular music turns to the question of a people’s political power exerted through orality, we end up with the following contradiction: that one of the main political ends of popular music is found in the affirmation of sound technologies that give popular music a ‘secondary orality’ and thus negate the ‘literate’ mass-mediated musical systems. Focussing on this dialectic character of orality implied in music in the age of mechanical reproduction, I examine a unique musical experiment, a musical play titled ‘Light of a Factory’ that was in 1978. I consider the value of popular music as ‘people’s music’, or its political potential to suggest a kind of musical orality focused on the relationship between popular music and mass-mediated reproduction.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.