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This essay questions what is cultural within a recording studio, and the extent to which interculturality could be a useful lens for examining studio encounters and by extension other forms of artistic-technological labor. As I will show, when the concept of interculturality surfaces it rarely is accompanied by a sufficiently nuanced concept of "culture", and additionally relies upon an assumption that the "inter-" is mapping an encounter between individuals representing discrete cultural units, typically defined in reductive demographic terms. Interculturality may be able to be partly recuperated, however, through a more flexible and realistic conceptualization of culture that is more responsive to specific local practices and discourses, and through a more sustained engagement with the materiality of the lived world. For a case study, I will explore professional Istanbul recording studios active between 2004-2011. Beyond the complex and polyethnic identity of many of the individual participants, cultural differences were typically framed by arrangers, engineers, and studio musicians in relation to specific professions, particularly in regard to ways that people inhabited the space of the studio, training and knowledge systems, and participants’ distinctive modes of engaging with technological objects.


This article was originally published in El Oído Pensante, available at It is distributed under a Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 2.5 Argentina License (CC BY-NC 2.5 AR).



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