Unmenschliche Musik

Compositions by animals, machines & accidents

Is there such a thing as inhuman music created by animals, machines or mere accidents? - And if not: Can we even imagine a world in which only human beings would be capable of performing an aesthetic approach to their world?


The Western concept of music has been expanded and enriched for some time now: once via World Music and second by the interest of musicians and composers in non-European concepts of music. We think it is time to go one step further: the thematic weekend Unmenschliche Musik aims at questioning geographical, historical and personal references of generating music in general.

The programme we intend to present in a thematic weekend at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin includes new and inspiring approaches to current discourses, e.g. reflections on artistic creation, intellectual property, on artificial intelligence and on aleatorics and chance operations in the arts. These days, bruitisme as the art of noise and other emanations of the European avantgardes in the arts of the 20th century are to be revisited and re-evaluated on occasion of their 100th birthday. We will celebrate this jubilee in a special way of questioning and revisiting the aesthetics of the non-human. Besides that, even more fundamental questions are to be focused in all the events of Unmenschliche Musik concerning human creativity,  sensory perception, the understanding of art and the nature of music.

The heart of this thematic weekend is the presentation of music generated by machines – but also examples of autopoietic screensavers and generative music. For good measure lecture performances are thrown in on the music of animals and natural phenomena – as well as performances, in which appliances, gadgetry and constrcution machines communicate with each other, or performances of imagined music of extraterresitial creatures (e.g. the „Klingon Opera“) and game shows, in which the goal is to guess if a certain piece of music is made by a human being or a programmed/ constructed being? Traditional roundtables and panels will provide an insight for the audience into the history, the theoretical questions and the performative challenges of non-human music.

Unmenschliche Musik is part I of a series of III thematic weekends at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt on the fringes of musical cultures in the 21st century:

Part I: Unmenschliche Musik/Inhuman Music (2013)
Part II: Böse Musik/Evil Music (2013)
Part III: Doofe Musik/Stupid Music (2014)



Detlef Diederichsen



Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2012/13)
Kulturfonds des Deutschen Bundestags (2012)



Unmenschliche Musik



berliner gesellschaft für neue musik
Haus der Kulturen der Welt



Unmenschliche Musik. Musik von Maschinen, Tieren und Zufällen – Ein thematisches Wochenende, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin Februar 2013 (together with Detlef Diederichsen)

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