Masterclass: Interdependence by Mat Dryhurst

Masterclass & Network

In the age of platform/information capitalism, electronic musicians – and other digital creators – have become completely dependent on large streaming platforms and social media giants. Recently, the Spotify CEO became discredited by his controversial statements about the frequency of releases by artists to keep up with the algorithmic streaming model. These types of ecologies, and the impact of COVID-19, are causing an extreme erosion of the sector, inequality and unfair dependency.

Linked to the festival theme Instability and FIBER’s actions to review dominant systems in an honest and sustainable way, we present the masterclass Interdependence with Mat Dryhurst. This masterclass is aimed at independent musicians – and digital artists who depend on networked platforms and large institutions – who want to alter their thoughts on  social, alternative and resilient ways of organising practices.

Interdependence is a research project and podcast hosted by artists Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst debating guests shaping 21st century culture from their studio in Berlin. They hold high level, casual discussions on topics as far ranging as AI, data ownership and experimental economics. Guests include Evgeny Morozov, Kate Crawford (AI Now) and Tim Maughan (Infinite Detail).

Matt Dryhust: “I believe that those on the margins would do well to shift focus on to more ambitious and untested fund-generating efforts that emphasise the interdependence of musical communities of place and purpose. We need technical and economic concepts that reflect what working artists have long known to be true: an artist creating challenging work is dependent on resilient international networks of small labels, promoters, publications and production services to facilitate their vision. A vision of interdependence acknowledges that individual freedoms thrive in the presence of resilient networks and institutions.” – Guardian

About the masterclass

The masterclass consists of a lecture and conversation by Matt Dryhurst on the research, findings and vision behind the Interdependence project. Afterwards there’s room to discuss, brainstorm and exchange thoughts about the development and application of Interdependence.

In this conversation Mat will critique the notion of independence in music. In the platform economy, everyone is rendered isolation independent agents, and interdependence is in fact a more accurate and hopeful way of describing a challenge to the status quo rather than the impossible legacies contemporary artists have inherited from the 20th century. These legacies were made in a different time, and a different economy, and now offer little more than abstract inspiration.

When considering Interdependence, we might begin to look at more equitable and truthful pay and accreditation structures within music, and propose new protocols of behaviour to help address imbalances. Why, when a headlining DJ plays someone else’s song, does the creator of that song not receive a cut of their live fee? Why is our sympathy almost always with the sampler, or the curator, and not the creator? He will attempt to give some historical context for this ideology, and touch a little on projects he has been working on related to new technological tools such as machine learning, that make reconsidering the ideologies inherited from 20th century culture all the more urgent.

Mat prefers for these sessions to be a discussion, so feel free to bring questions, and if you want some context on some of the issues he works with, check out his Interdependence podcast with Holly Herndon.

About Mat Dryhurst

Mat Dryhurst releases music, research and artworks solo and in conjunction with creative partner and musician Holly Herndon. He’s an artist and active writer whose work sits at the intersection of tech, art, music and activism. Dryhust actively experimented and worked with blockchain technology and machine learning within his research and collaborative stage performances with Holly Hernon and the Holly Hernon Ensemble.

He teaches at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Music, and hosts discussions with figures shaping 21st century culture on the Interdependence podcast.