Staging the musical self(ie). An interdisciplinary approach to the subversive potential of musical persona performance in times of social media

Start - End 
2020 - 2024 (ongoing)



This research project explores how (popular) music artists disclose public identities incorporating elements of their quotidian precarious identity in an era of social media. It departs from the contemporary performance artists Ivo Dimchev and Matthias Ringgenberg (PRICE), who multiply their performed presence as a music artist in the contemporary performing arts scene into a hybrid musical persona, by deliberately playing with the reconfigured context of social media.

This amalgamated musical self(ie) provides an interesting critical potential for staging precarious identities related to queerness, socio-economic status and new media. In contrast to how these theatrical stagings reflect the reconfigured context of social media for the music artist, the concept of musical persona attaches to several disciplines yet has never been explicitly re-negotiated in relation to the potential of social media as a performance platform. Rather than revisiting the notion of musical persona, this study has the ambition to aggregrate performance parameters contributing to the constitution of a persona paradigm into a truly interdisciplinary understanding of the contemporary musical persona. In order to so, it will hold carefully selected case studies of both pre-social media and contemporary music artists who equally negotiate dimensions of precarious identity against the work of PRICE and Dimchev.

This comprehensive interdisciplinary conceptualization of the musical persona will enable an in-depth reading of the subversive potential of social media-infused forms of self-presentation, both in the context of popular music and of contemporary performance.



Phd Student(s)


Abigail De Kosnik

Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies - UC Berkeley Center for New Media