August 30, 2013

William Fourie: The aesthetics of crime: Urbanscapes and markers of place

Filed under: hearing landscape critically,music,William Fourie — ABRAXAS @ 1:34 pm

South Africa, post-2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, is, according to Sarah Britten (2012) eliciting a grim cultural narrative, dominated by tales of ‘crime’, ‘corruption’, and the ‘impatience of the masses’. This narrative is not isolated to one particular space, rural or urban, but instead permeates the whole country. It is in the urban space, however, that tensions suggested here by the use of the word ‘proximity’, can aggravate these social problems. Based on this premise, the following paper will explore the electroacoustic work Breach by the South African composer Angie Mullins. This work can be heard as a ‘breach’ of personal proximity but I will argue that the work could also be understood to sound larger environmental tensions. These tensions, I posit, are represented aesthetically here as a product suspended between the tropes of ‘proximity’ and ‘breach’, terms that in the context of the work become theoretical tools by which we can understand a notion of ‘the aesthetics of crime’. The question I then pose is whether the representation of the urban space is an attribution to the aesthetics of crime.


William Fourie (Stellenbosch) is a BMus student in his third year at the University of Stellenbosch and specialises in musicology. Under the guidance of Dr Ralf Kohler, his current research focuses on computer music and aesthetics.

Comments are closed.