Compression: A Loose History

Jonathan Sterne

As new communication infrastructures develop, aesthetic representation becomes an engineering problem, especially where people make representational demands upon infrastructures that exceed their carrying capacity. Today, the word compression is used to describe any technical process that renders a mode of representation adequate to its infrastructures. Too often, humanists, engineers, and journalists alike still evaluate media… Read more »

European Civilization and its Andalusian Discontents

Charles Hirschkind

This talk interrogates the significance of al-Andalus to the conceptual and practical boundaries of contemporary Europe. Against increasingly powerful xenophobic assertions of European identity, this talk analyzes an alternative topography of Europe through an exploration of the practices and sensibilities cultivated and promoted by musicians specializing in “Andalusian music”—a term that, as I explore, marks… Read more »

Sound, Modernity, and the Politics of Life in Latin America and the Caribbean

Ana Maria Ochoa

A central topic of modernity in Latin America and the Caribbean has been different modes of understanding the human and non-human. Sound has been a key arena for playing out the contested politics of life that have coalesced around such differences. Modernity in the region is characterized by a colonial history of massive genocide and… Read more »

Re-soundings: hearing worlds from the global war on terror

Suzanne Cusick

This paper includes embedded audio files which can only be heard if you view/listen to this PDF in Adobe Reader. It is password-protected as usual. You should be able to open with Adobe Reader by right-clicking or control-clicking the PDF after it downloads, and choosing Open With –> Adobe Reader. If you don’t have Adobe… Read more »

In the Moog: Hearing and making early synthesizer sounds

Trevor Pinch

Musical instruments are essentially pieces of technology. In this talk I revisit the early history of the electronic music synthesizer (1964-1994) from the perspective of science and technology studies and sound studies. I will argue that particular sounds became stabilized along with particular performance practices, sociotechnical assemblages, and ways of listening. These sounds, performance and… Read more »

Dissecting Sound: Speaker Identification at the Stasi and Sonic Ways of Knowing

Karin Bijsterveld

The Life of Others, a 2006 thriller film, informed a wide audience about practices of eavesdropping on telephone calls and private conversations in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). By the end of the 1980s, GDR’s Ministry of State Security (Stasi) was able to execute 20,000 wiretapping and eavesdropping actions in East-Berlin at one and the… Read more »

Tempaural Memory. The role of historicity, recollection, recording and archives in sonic culture

Wolfgang Ernst

That the socio-cultures of hearing and the sonospheres of listening have been extended by the impact of technical media in modernity is an academic commonplace by now. Rather than making this the object of research, this lecture focuses on technologies themselves as “archaeologists” of acoustic and sonic phenomena (the Siren songs), confronting “hearing history” with… Read more »

A Philosophy of Accent

Steven Connor

There have been many offers of a philosophy of voice, but where is the philosophy of accent? Accent is the accident of voice, that arbitrary and inessential straying of the voice from itself that nevertheless makes it what it is. But if my accent is the mark of what is characteristic in my voice, it… Read more »