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International Conference on Music and the Desert 2023



September 8-10, 2023

Joshua Tree Trading Post, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

California, USA

 Download Call for Papers


Desert environments such as the Mojave desert and Morongo Basin  tend to draw many types of artists,

especially musicians, as a source of creative inspiration. Etymologically, “desert” derives from the Latin dēsertum

(an abandoned place) and dēserere (to abandon). For much of recorded history, the sparse population of the desert has been understood as being intertwined with its aridity and harsh climate, although later in the evolution of English language, a desert was understood primarily as a location characterized by its human desolation, no matter its ecological profile.

This leads to two observations:

1. Given its assumed desolation and environmental harshness. It is not immediately obvious why

the desert would court the artistic muse of so many. Yet it very much has.

2. Conceptually the “desert” has meant different things at different points in Western history,

so it is possible that it has historically conveyed different  meanings in other world cultures,

and will continue to do so in the future.

The focus of this conference aims to explore the former through the latter - how by taking a conceptual approach to the desert, taken-for-granted ontologies about nature, technology, and the human are disrupted, a process that holds much relevance for musicians and musical activity. 


Possible conference entries include (but are not limited to):

- Conceptual presuppositions about the human, nature, and technology that underlie musical creativity and “virtuosos”

- Bridging Apollonian (material, sound property) and Dionysian (emotive, subjective emotional)  understandings of music

- How conceptualizations of the desert vary across cultures and musical traditions

- Ethnographic studies of desert musicians, and their relevance to nature and culture

- Musicians as cyborgs

- Structural designs for music venues and their integration into desert landscapes

- Soundscapes, acoustic space, and desert sounds

- Desert-themed music genres (e.g. “desert rock”, Saharan Blues)

- The relationship between musical activity in LA and the Mojave desert

- AI-generated music / Musical collaborations with AI / AI and Musical Creativity

- Posthuman and transhuman music

Other submission modalities include:

- Musical compositions / performances inspired by the desert and which engage upon conference themes

- Reflections on interviews with / (auto)biographical writings by desert musicians

- Fireside chats with local musicians about their artistic relationship with the desert


The organizers for the conference are Natasha Beranek, PhD,
and the Editorial Board of the book series “Studies in Anthropology and Transhumanist Philosophy,”

together with Trivent Publishing (Budapest, Hungary) and

the Trivent Transhumanism imprint (Head of Imprint: Prof. Dr. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner).


Please submit an abstract and your short bio (approx, 300 words each) 

to Dr. Natasha Beranek by June 15, 2023 at Please CC

Acceptance notifications will be sent by July 1, 2023.


The proceedings of this conference will be published in

Studies in Anthropology and Transhumanist Philosophy book series (ed. Natasha Beranek)

within the imprint Trivent Transhumanism, headed by Prof. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, John Cabot University Rome.

International Conference on Music and the Desert 2023

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