Matthias Haenisch is a researcher, lecturer and curator working in the fields of contemporary music and sonic art. His work focuses on transdisciplinary aesthetic practices, transcultural education, distributed creativity and artistic research in the era of postdigitality and posthumanism.
He is co-founder and member of the joint research project ›MusCoDA – Musical Communities in the (Post)Digital Age‹, which investigates songwriting processes as an example of collective creativity in (post)digital communities (University of Erfurt, University of Education Karlsruhe; funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research; term: 2020-2024).
He was also co-founder and member of the joint research project ›MuBiTec – Music Education with Mobile Technologies‹, where he was involved in the subprojects ›LINKED – Musical Education in Postdigital Communities‹ and ›LEA – Learning Processes and Aesthetic Experiences in App Music Practice‹ (University of Cologne, University of the Arts Berlin, University of Erfurt, University of Lübeck, Nord University Bergen; funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research; term: 2017-2021).
Since 2018 he has been working as a lecturer in Transcultural Musicology and Historical Anthropology of Music at the Department of Musicology and Media Studies at Humboldt University Berlin. Since 2021 he is a faculty member of the University of Applied Sciences Clara Hoffbauer Potsdam, where he teaches sociology and anthropology of music, popular music studies and performance studies and where he is currently the interim Head of the BA Program Music Education in Social Work. In addition, he provides workshops on digital improvisation, composition, and production practices for the Bundesverband Musikunterricht (BMU) and the Verband der Musik und Kunstschulen (VdMK).
From 2011 to 2017 he worked as a research and teaching associate at the Department of Music and Music Education at University of Potsdam, where he taught performance studies, popular music studies, music sociology, and 20th and 21th century music history. In addition, he was a member of the BMBF-promoted research association Transform – Educational process in performative projects (University of Potsdam, Braunschweig University of Art). He is also the founder and leader of the interdisciplinary research project Improvising Knowledge (University of Potsdam, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna), where he investigates collaborative knowledge creation in communities of musical practice.
Since 2015 he is Artistic Co-Director and CEO of LABOR SONOR Festival. As one of the largest Festivals for transdisciplinary artistic research in Europe, the festival promotes the exchange between and integration of science and art. In this experimental environment, works by Alex Arteaga, Joanna Bailie, Brandon LaBelle, Frank Bretschneider, Kaffe Matthews, Matteo Fargion, Christian Kesten, Felix Kubin, Kyoka, Yan Jun, Grischa Lichtenberger, Andrea Neumann, Nile Koetting, Lito Walkey, Takako Suzuki, Les Reines Prochaines, Tara Transitory & Nguyen Baly, Makiko Nishikaze, Antonia Baehr, Sabine Ercklentz, Raed Yassin and others were presented. In 2018 he was invited to be guest curator of the CTM Festival.
Haenisch studied musicology at Technische Universität and Freie Universität Berlin, and completed his studies with a master’s thesis on the aesthetic perception of sound and performance in the work of John Cage. During his doctoral studies he carried out ethnographic fieldwork in the Berlin scene of improvised and experimental music, investigating the micro-sociology of musical interaction particularly with regards to the materiality and corporeality of performance practice. His research and teaching interests concern topics at the interface of performance studies, material culture studies, popular music studies and sound studies. The theoretical background of his work includes System Theory (Luhmann), Actor Network Theory (Latour) and Mediation Theory (Hennion), New Materialism (Barad) and Critical Posthumanism (Wolfe) His empirical approach includes methods of qualitative social research, ethnographic fieldwork and performance analysis. Before switching to academia, he worked for many years as a freelance musician and as a project coordinator in the cultural event industry.
Photo: Silvia von Eigen