A critique on Philip Auslander’s ‘Digital Liveness: A Historico Philosophical Perspective’


A critique on Philip Auslander’s ‘Digital Liveness: A Historico Philosophical Perspective’

What is the author’s argument?
Is there anything about the context/wider scholarly discourse?
How does it relate to the performance of music?
What values are exposed in the argument?
How successfully does the author make his point?
Do you disagree with any points?

references from:
Phelan, Peggy. Unmarked:The Politics of Performance. ‘The Ontology of Performance:repersentation without reproduction. London and New York; Routledge, 1993.

Broadhurst Susan. Performance and Technology

Citron, Marcia J. Opera on Screen.
Ready Paper Excerpt


Auslander’s article talks about the concept of digital liveness. The article also reviews various ideas forwarded by other writers on digital liveness apart from stating Auslander’s thoughts on the issue. Auslander argues that our experience with digital technologies as being live is because of the function of the technologies’ capability to react to us in real time.5 He claims that liveness is an effect of mediazation that takes place in various fields of technology. Auslander states that recording technologies led to the idea of perceiving representations as being live.1 This is with a claim that there was no need for a live category in performances before the advent of recording technologies.

The author argues that the origin of live performance ranges between the last 100 to 150 years. The author claims that live and mediatized forms of performance have a relationship that is historical and dependent and cannot undergo absolute differentiation. The author notes that necessity is always the cause for any creation and thus there was a need for liveness. He tries to extend Winston’s notion of generating ideas as the reason behind any creation. The author argues that media technologies arise because of a “supervening social necessity”. 12For instance, he states that sound recording as an aspect of liveness developed in the nineteenth century due to the institutionalization of radio broadcasting.

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