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Playing for Change

Music Festivals as Community Learning and Development


Michael B. MacDonald

Playing for Change – performing for money and for social justice – introduces a critical pedagogy of arts-based community learning and development (A-CLD), a new discipline wherein artists learn to become educators, social workers, and community economic development agents. Challenging the assumption that acculturation into a ruling ideology of state development is necessary, this book presents a version of CLD that locates development in the production of subjectivities. The author argues that A-CLD is as concerned with the autonomous collective and the individual as it is with establishing community infrastructure. As a result, a radical new theory is proposed to explain aesthetics within arts movements, beginning not by normalizing music cultures within global capitalism, but by identifying the creation of experimental assemblages as locations of cultural resistance. This book offers a new vocabulary of cultural production to provide a critical language for a theory of anti-capitalist subjectivity and for a new type of cultural worker involved with A-CLD. Drawing from a four-year study of thirteen music festivals, Playing for Change forwards A-CLD as a locally situated, joyful, and creative resistance to the globalizing forces of neoliberalism.
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Chapter 5. A-CLD: Production of Subjectivities in the Carnival-Machine


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Carnival is an assemblage with no expressed interest, no hierarchy, and no central control; it is the desire of social becoming in the expression of wildness. I suggested in the preceding chapter that the festival is a machine for the production of the art product and the production of aesthetic consensus with a location in the production of subjectivity. It could be easy to confuse capitalism with the festival-machine and collapse one into the other. But the festival-machine existed long before contemporary capitalism.1 Capitalism decoded some of the flows of the festival-machine and allowed musicians to connect to some of these decoded flows.2 The stage produces art before and after capitalism. The festival-machine produces a wide variety of desires that can be satiated by capital exchange. The purchase of products that are associated with the festival is used to establish membership. As an act of remembrance (souvenir), purchase a CD of an artist, band, or group one loved, or contribute to the festival organization by contributing financially (even-split ticket sales, community association membership fees, etc.). There is also a list of other basics of life that need to be purchased even after the entrance fee has been paid. Food and beverage are the most significant here but may also include shelter in the form of sun protection (hats, sunglasses, sunscreen), weather protection (long-sleeve or short-sleeve shirts, which also serve as ← 87 | 88 → souvenirs; warm...

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