Luigi Nono and the Metaphysics of the Avant-Garde (Dissertation)

In my dissertation Luigi Nono and the Metaphysics of the Avant-Garde I offer a metaphysical diagnosis of the contradictions of the historical avant-garde, a movement which I assert failed to break from modernity and establish radical changes in the form of life, for it lacked reflection upon its object of negation, that is, modernity itself and, thus, upon its own condition of intelligibility. In light of a thorough analysis of the structures of modernity through Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, I claim that if modernity is the idea of perpetual self-transformation, then the avant-garde remained parasitical upon modernity and became its transformative instrument. In turn, I reconstruct a genuine concept of the avant-garde through attentive readings of Heidegger, whose work provides a profound critique of modernity. I argue that Heidegger’s shift between his early and late work regarding his conception of metaphysics can be the model for the transformation of the avant-garde from a mere historical example to an ontological era that points beyond modernity and opens up the possibility for a future realization of the project of the historical avant-garde. Ultimately, I show how the work of the Italian composer Luigi Nono (1924-1990) reveals strong affinities with the work of Heidegger, how Nono makes manifest a genuine ontological understanding of sound, and how his music points beyond sound and toward new ethical concerns regarding the new ontological era of the avant-garde. Nono was a leading figure in post-war European avant-garde music who sought idiosyncratic modes of listening/performing and new forms of lived spaces, which would embody persistent ethical concerns with perception, human interaction, and new forms of life. This dissertation explores the groundwork to talk about his ‘otherness’ in ‘otherly’ ways or, to put it differently, to tackle the question of ‘what is avant- in Nono’s avant-garde?’ 

This PDF file is a preview that includes the preface, the abstract, the detailed contents, and the bibliography of the dissertation.

Full text to be found and downloaded in or upon request.

Brief presentation of the project during Dissertation Defense in May 7, 2019 in this link

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© 2020 Ioannis Angelakis