Recent Experimental Electronic Music Practices in Iran
: An ethnographic and sound-based investigation

  • Hadi Bastani

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this thesis is to identify and locate an experimental elec-tronic music ‘scene’ in Iran within a web of historical-social-political-religious-economic-technological agencies. Drawing from the growing traditions of digital ethnography and artistic research, this project doc-uments and analyses the processes, aesthetics, and practices that shape the ‘scene’, while exploring and feeding back to those through sound-based practice. In setting ethnographic study and artistic practice in action within a mutually-interpenetrating loop, this work suggests a context for further anthropological and/or (ethno-)musicological in-quiry that incorporates (collaborative) music- and/or art-making as a beneficial and rigorous research methodology.

Digital ethnography—online fieldwork and one-to-one inter-views—as well as individual and collaborative composition, installa-tion, and collaborative performance are the main strategies applied to investigate the subject matter. The outcome is, therefore, presented in the form of a portfolio of original works along with this thesis that is produced to contextualise the project’s concurrently theoretical and practical engagement with and investigation of the case at hand.

Furthermore, through a grounding in personal experience, this text provides reflections on the author’s relevant backgrounds and in-volvements, both inside and outside Iran, to further uncover the com-mon processes of production-consumption within experimental elec-tronic music networks in Iran. It investigates how his own practice has performatively taken shape in contact with, while mutually influencing, the material subject to scrutiny in this work. In so doing, the thesis aims to balance the particularities of practice-led (practice-based or artistic) research with generalities of engaging with histories and sto-ries, while highlighting the perspectives through which the author, as a situated embodied agent, was afforded a particular understanding of the ‘emergent’ forms of experimental electronic music practice in Iran.
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorSimon Waters (Supervisor) & Ioannis Tsioulakis (Supervisor)


  • Anthropology
  • Collaborative Composition
  • Collaborative Ethnography
  • Experimental Music
  • Electronic Music
  • Electroacoustic
  • Sound Art
  • Sound Studies
  • Sonic Arts
  • Practice-based
  • practice-led
  • practice-as-research
  • Music
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Iran
  • Tehran
  • Digital Arts
  • Affinity Networks
  • Composition
  • Installation
  • Performance
  • Musicking

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