Plato on the Stream. Platonism in the Age of Streaming

Frédéric Bisson


This article defends a Platonist view of streaming. It is opposite to the mainstream representation that streaming has “liquidated” the structure both objective and collective of musical experience. On the contrary, streaming is the support of a new kind of musical object, which is distinct both from the allographic notational objects (scores) and from the phonographic ones (records). This third kind of object has to be characterized as a flux-object. The way it is diffused and accessible implies a new kind of experience. Cyberspace in which this experience takes place is characterized as an “hyperobjective noosphere”: the relation of streaming with the subjects of musical experience is akin to the relation of atmosphere or biosphere to the living beings. This article invites to an ascetic exercise: the everyday experience of the listener has to become mindful of the “swarm community” in which s/he participates by streaming. Thus it develops a renewed musical Platonism, as a kind of response to “object-oriented ontologies”. According to this renewed Platonism, dispositional properties are essential to the objects. Objects have no sense apart from the relation to individual and collective subjectivations that are potential parts of them.


streaming; phonography; hyperobjects; noosphere; swarming; object-oriented ontology

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