No! Music, 9.-12.11.2017 @ HKW Berlin

A concert, film and lectures series about the (im)possibility how to say no in music.

Nearly all men are slaves, claimed the French writer Nicolas de Chamfort: “Because they can’t say no.” There are two ways in which musicians can say no: either through musical decisions, texts, or career strategies which express their refusal. Or through silence, because they do not trust these means. No! Music explores both variants. Is a rigorous negation at all possible under the given conditions? Or does one already enter into lame compromises through the use of digital distribution and promotion channels, conventional hard- and software, or when one performs on stage at the usual clubs? Is ultimately the only principled approach that of the eponymous hero of Herman Melville’s story Bartleby the Scrivener, who begins by rejecting orders at work, then refuses to leave the office, and finally declines all food? (1741–1794)
Detlef Diederichsen and Martin Hossbach

No! Music is curated by HKW music curator Detlef Diederichsen together with Martin Hossbach, author, label head and music curator, e.g. at the Berlin Pop-Kultur festival.

With Pussy Riot, Matana Roberts, Pan Daijing, Nihilist Spasm Band feat. Alexander Hacke, Bill Drummond, Arrigo Barnabé, Jandek, and many others.

Special recommendation:

DIY or Die: Is Bartleby Dead in the Post-Digital Age?

Keynote by Adam Harper, panel with Adam Harper, Daniela Seitz, Lucia Udvardyová and Mat Dryhurst, moderation: Lisa Blanning

Bartleby “preferred not to” – and at the end of Herman Melville’s story starves to death. To what extent is his motto still an option today – in light of precarious living conditions on the one hand and the imperative of digital production, consumption, and marketing conditions on the other? Does the insistence on non-participation inevitably lead to non-existence? How have the preconditions for saying no changed? Has refusal as a pose become part of the cultural archive which one only refers to in the retro mode? Today’s strategies appear to be less resistance and protest than appropriation, self-assertion, communities and networking. How does the (post)digital underground address these issues, an underground that generates alternatives to the music industry’s mainstream on the one side, but who’s DIY structures are simultaneously dependent on the monopolist digital platforms on the other? How does negation function using digital means?

Wiseup features with Lucia Udvardyova/ Adam Harper:


Full programme here:


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