In the United Kingdom in the 1960s and 1970s, the field of underground music became the terrain where utopian ideas of design (promulgated by both art schools and alternative countercultural institutions) could materialize. What did the channels of popular culture and entertainment offer young artists that the existing circuits of art and design could not? The difference rests in the relationship music forges between artist and viewer (or artist and listener, producer and consumer) through the mass-produced musical recording. The recording, a commodity charged with radical potential because of its wide economic accessibility and deep affective power, becomes a gateway to a series of related media, including photographs, magazines, televised images and live performances. In this regard, “music” is not a singular event or experience, but rather a network of media, which seek a form of response from their audience and serve as a generative force for a larger community.
This paper will trace the development of two musician-artists—Brian Eno and Genesis P-Orridge—and their use of the expanded network of “music” as a means to distribute experimental forms of art to a broader public. These two case studies illustrate how the culture of underground music in the 1960s and 1970s allowed young artists to engage the ear, eye and body of audiences, carrying the utopian goals of art and design education forward in a media landscape increasingly dominated by communication technologies. In this regard, these two case studies illustrate how underground music prefigures the model of a networked culture of two-way communication most strongly associated with the Internet era.
 Diedrich Diederichsen, “Audio Poverty”/“Music-Immateriality-Value,” e-flux journal 16 (May 2010), last accessed March 15, 2015,