Sound Designing Motherhood: Irene Lusztig & Maile Colbert Open The Motherhood Archives

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A Conversation Article in Chat with  Irene Lusztig, Director of The Motherhood Archives and Sound Designer Maile Colbert

In 2011 filmmaker Irene Lusztig contacted me about designing sound and composing for her film project, The Motherhood Archives.

Irene had spent several years buying discarded educational films on eBay and working in historical archives to amass an unusual and fascinating collection of  archival films aimed at teaching women how to be pregnant, give birth, and look after babies. The Motherhood Archives uses this extraordinary archival treasure trove to form a lyrical essay film excavating hidden histories of childbirth in the twentieth century, illuminating our changing narratives of maternal success and failure, and raising questions about our social and historical constructions of motherhood.

I was immediately intrigued by her concept and construction process as well as her desire to work with sound design in a very collaborative manner at an earlier stage in the project than most filmmakers would. Geographically distant, Irene and I mostly worked by “satellite,” using email, chat, Skype, phone, and file sharing software to communicate and send files.  We did manage to have a few production weeks in New York and Santa Cruz, but the majority of the work was woven back and forth across an ocean and continent…California to Lisbon, Portugal, West Coast to West Coast. Rather than hindering, this method lent itself to an exquisite corpse nature to the work. In the creation of this article we followed much the same process, using an initial Gmail chat.

Maile Colbert (MC): So, I’m both shy and excited about asking this… why me, Irene?

 Irene Lusztig (IL): I had heard your work in both Adele Horne’s film [The Tailenders, 2005] and Rebecca Baron’s [How Little We Know of Our Neighbors, 2005], both films with beautiful sound.

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The sound in How Little We Know of Our Neighbors in particular does something with natural / unnatural that I was really interested in – field recordings that somehow become other kinds of things as they are layered, transformed, and processed. I think of myself as a documentary maker / artist who is invested in actuality, but not very invested in traditional documentary form, and I think your sound has similar investments and disinvestments. It begins with the sounds of the real world but takes those sounds to very unexpected places that are often quite far from their original context.

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MC: I love that you brought up the “natural/unnatural.” It not only really describes well my work and approach in general, but also the experience we get in your film with mediated motherhood. We would often talk about certain sections being very science fiction…then you think, wow, this really happened, this is part of a history that led up to our experience now, and one I’m currently having, having recently become pregnant for the first time!

IL: I think there is a lot to say about science fiction and sound! First, there is a great tradition of feminist science fiction that I feel like our work is very connected to: Margaret Atwood, Ursula Le Guin, and even stuff like Shulamith Firestone’s futuristic vision of external uteruses. A lot of that work has in common a willingness to “make strange” or denaturalize aspects of female reproduction and mothering in ways that feel radical.

MC:  I’m not sure if I was able to contain my excitement when you first mentioned a section felt sci-fi to you. This is something that I think has a root back in my childhood. My father was and is an obsessive science fiction film watcher: I grew up with a soundtrack of The Day the Earth Stood Still and Lost in Space. These soundscapes that “weren’t” became such a part of what I wanted to listen to.

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IL: I always thought I had no interest in science fiction when I was younger, but I think growing a human inside my own body probably shifted my relationship to that!

I think science fiction is almost always expressing our anxieties about the future, about our technologies, about things that we struggle to control. And of course questions and anxieties about trying and failing to control things are completely at the heart of our experiences with pregnancy, birth, and learning to be new mothers in the 21st century. As are questions around technological mediations that we feel ambivalent about, whether it’s fertility technologies, medicalized birth technologies, or things like baby monitors or worrying about whether the iPad is rewiring your baby’s brain. So science fiction feels like a sonic space that totally makes sense for negotiating these maternal anxieties.

MC: One of our biggest struggles was trying to make sure things weren’t too dark for the audience.

IL: People often respond with anxiety to the film and its sound design. I’ve never before made a film where the sound comes up so often in post-screening discussions, and generally the question is something like “why is the sound so dark / scary / anxiety-provoking?” It seems very specific to the subject of The Motherhood Archives – how anxious we are societally about the whole topic, and also how uncomfortable we are being open about these anxieties.

MC: I’m still shocked at how shocked I am when I realize how some people react to this film, how uncomfortable they are. U.S. society seems just as afraid of birth as death in this manner! We speak of each in such a similar way and we’re not allowed the complexity of, for example, being simultaneously anxious about how this will affect our careers and identity, and how in love we are when we hear that heartbeat!

IL: Do you think of yourself as a feminist artist? I ask because becoming a mother (and making art about motherhood) has made me much more aware of myself as a feminist artist.

MC: I absolutely consider myself a feminist– it’s woven into every part of my life and my work.  I’m also beginning to feel this in a new way with the pregnancy: I recently lost a gig I was really looking forward to because there was an assumption that I couldn’t do it somehow because I was pregnant.  A recent interviewer asked me about how I navigate motherhood and my work, and I couldn’t help consider that this question would never come up with a male artist.

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My recent recordings of my future daughter growing and moving have been wonderful to listen to: watery and subdued, you still feel like you’re only getting a little of her sonic world, so mysterious.  But it reminds me of when I was a child – in any body of water I loved to dive down to the bottom, let go of my breath and just rest there as long as I could…it was an ultimate peace.  I loved the visual perspective of the world above me, but most loved the deep gentle filter of everything aural coming through this watery world.  Some might argue that peace refers to our first soundscape experienced…and listening to my own active womb, it doesn’t seem far-fetched.

IL: There are a lot of watery sounds in the film! My friend Irene Gustafson made this great connection between all the water in the soundtrack and the voiceover passage in the twilight sleep section about how the “soothing sound of running water muffles newborn cries to prevent the formation of what are called islands of memory.” That description of water literally being used to erase memory allows all the water sounds throughout the film to become a metaphor for the erasure of historical memory… the fact that we no longer remember the historical moment where feminists were advocates for anesthetic drugs and medicalized childbirth, for instance…the many ways that the histories in the film are now forgotten.

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MC: I think sounds are like cells in a way…they carry a memory, even though abstracted.

That’s why I love working with natural sources initially,  something comes through from that palette, a shadow is carried from its initial source.  As animals, we use sound for information,  much processing and translation happens that we aren’t even aware of.  So I do feel like when a sound is removed by processing, it still carries its source information with it, and we pick up on some of that.

 IL: Talking about cellular memory makes me think about the section of the film that a friend described as “crispy cells:” the image is from a very early 20th century educational film about reproduction – sheep cells that are dividing and reproducing – and the sound is the sound of the magnetosphere, which I love!

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MC: I find listening to the magnetosphere sort of grounds me. I use a VLF recorder very often when I travel. If there are lightening storms or space weather, like solar storms, you get these very beautiful and strange soundscapes. I often use the recordings in my work, but your film is the first that seemed to demand them as a sound source! That section just called out for them, in their “pure” form. When you placed them there and sent it to me, I was blown away…it seemed like that was the sound of the video itself somehow.

I’ve been collecting and working on my sound library for over a decade now, and I’ve never been in a situation where a client or collaborator was interested in it in such a hands-on way.  It seemed so right to share it with you and build upon it together for this project.  For each sound – some of them going way back – I still remember the source, recording conditions, what was surrounding it (or rather what it was surrounding usually!).  They become symbols, but also memory triggers.  Now some of them have changed and were saved with this project, so there are generations as well. And the historic archival sounds you added to it…they come with their own history and memory; your film and their use is then added to that.

IL: Speaking of archival sound, one of the most amazing (to me) moments in our collaboration was really close to the end when you sent me the end credit sound. We’ve actually never talked about this because as soon as you sent it I totally intuitively and immediately knew that it was perfect. The sound is a backwards transformation of the wax cylinder Chopin Waltz recording that is used earlier in the film during the pregnant ballet sequence. There’s something so brilliant about your instinct to bring back that very polite, restrained music at the end, but have it reversed – both because it turns something familiar and half-remembered on its head, but also because I think it says something about history that is so attuned to the way the film works. The film thinks about histories of childbirth, but the chronological structure is circular, not linear – which I think of as a kind of challenge to the conventional forward-marching progress narrative.  History is always haunting the present, and history is always circular. It makes amazing and beautiful sense that this music that we’ve heard before returns at the end in this uncanny backwards form.


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Maile Colbert is a multi-media artist with a concentration on sound and video who relocated from Los Angeles, US to Lisbon, Portugal. She is a regular writer for Sounding Out!

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Sound at SCMS 2014

"KEXP, Seattle" by Flickr user Curtis Cronn, CC BY-ND-ND 2.0

SCMSlogo-roundWith a wide array of departmental affiliations and disciplinary backgrounds represented among its society membership, as well as an active and creative leadership, the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies is an excellent place to get a sense of where sound studies is and might be heading in the academy. To help read those tea leaves at this year’s upcoming conference in Seattle, we are thrilled to welcome one of the key figures working at the intersection of sound and media today, Denison University Communications Professor Bill Kirkpatrick.

Bill is not only a first-rate scholar — he’s at the forefront of emerging work on sound media and disability — but he’s also a producer, one of the people behind Cinema Journal‘s podcast Aca-Media, which is helping to show how sound can be not only a media studies topic, but a way of doing media studies. As one of the co-chairs of the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group at SCMS, Bill has also taken a leadership role in promoting the work of many other scholars, and we’re excited to hear from him on the state of the field. Here are his thoughts and a curated guide for how to make the most of the conference in the Emerald City this year.

- SCMS/ASA Editor Neil Verma

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies is clearly in a boom period for sound studies. In interviews for the March episode of Aca-Media, SCMS programmers Angelo Restivo and Bruce Brasell each noted the extraordinary rise in papers on sound as one of the key trends in the field, and the 2014 schedule bears this out with nearly 150 papers related to sound, music, and radio—an average of thirty each day of the conference, which will take place in Seattle from March 19-23.

Last year, in his 2013 SCMS preview for SO!, Neil Verma sounded a little nervous that this rise in sound-related papers was somehow too good to be true: “This year may mark the point at which sound studies became – likely temporarily, and perhaps distressingly – normal.”  It might be temporary, but the quantity and variety of papers on sound again this year is definitely not distressing. Even more than last year, this year’s conference goes well beyond radio, music, and soundtracks to offer papers on sound in airplanes, in museums, in video games, and on phones, as well as governmental policies connected to sound and more.

Here are some trends and highlights I noticed while going through the schedule:

  1. In my first read-through, I was alarmed by what appeared to be a decline in the number of radio-themed papers and panels.  We know that SCMS is still establishing itself as a good place for radio studies, which the still-nascent Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group is beginning to help, but it would have been nice to see a few more panels in this area.  After my second reading of the schedule, however, it’s fairer to say that radio is holding steady, especially if we count podcasting. I hope to catch a lot of these papers, and you can’t go wrong with any of the Radio Studies SIG-sponsored panels (marked by * below). In the “something different” category, I’m particularly interested in Matt Sienkiewicz’s paper on “Radio Islam” in Afghanistan and Lana Lin’s “Psychoanalytic Reading of Upton Sinclair’s Mental Radio,” which will look at the intersections between radio and telepathy in the early social imaginary.
  2. Last year Neil urged sound studies to “keep it weird,” and there are definitely some papers this year that fit that bill. One of my favorites is Stephen Groening’s study of how the airplane environment affects issues of immersion and distraction, which is one of those topics I wish I’d thought of first.  I also hope to catch a paper by Dimitrios Pavlounis on how silent films before 1920 used the detective dictograph as a plot device, constructing the idea of sound recording in a silent medium. Sarah Street’s “Synthetic Dreams: Color-Film-Music in the 1920s” will examine some notable sound-image experiments (including Eisenstein’s) during the 1920s. And though I don’t know anything about it but the title, Todd Decker’s presentation on “Helicopter Music” has got to be good, right?
  3. For a town with as storied a musical history as Seattle, the music offerings this year do little to take advantage of place (something that Neil also noted regarding last year’s conference in the even more storied city of Chicago). Nonetheless there are all kinds of cool papers on music and musicals. Given the Beatles nostalgia this year, William Gombash’s paper on the promotional films for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” seems apropos; pair it with Jessica Fowler on “The Monkees and the Birth of New Hollywood” and a talk on Elvis Presley’s musicals by Amanda McQueen for a DIY ’60s pop-musical mini-conference.  Or you could go the other direction with a panel on Wagner (H13) and several intriguing papers on opera (look for the papers by Sabine Hake, Ling Zhang, and Jennifer Fleeger).
  4. This is a good year for technologies of sound, from the cinematic apparatus to the architecture of listening spaces.  See, for example, Meredith Ward’s paper on “Architecting Listening in the Cinema House” or Rafael Freire on “The Conversion to Sound in Brazil,” to give just two interesting examples.
  5. The Scholarly Interest Groups for Sound Studies and Radio Studies will each be holding business meetings with special programming.   The Sound Studies SIG will meet over lunch on Friday (3/21, 12:15-2:00 in Ballard).  The Radio Studies SIG will meet the next morning (3/22, 9:00-10:45 in Ballard) and will feature a talk by folks from Seattle indie rock station KEXP about radio in a streaming age.
"Tower Records Seattle Music Mural" by Flickr user Zoomar, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Tower Records Seattle Music Mural” by Flickr user Zoomar, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

To help you navigate these and the other offerings, I’ve provided not one but two conference guides. The first is arranged chronologically for all the sound-related panels. The second is arranged topically in four categories (Sound & Soundtracks, Music & Musicals, Radio and Podcasting, and Other: Museums, Airplanes, Phones, Video Games, and Policy).  I’ve also added content notes on just a few papers where I’ve been in contact with the author and learned a bit more about the talk.  I apologize in advance for the inevitable errors and omissions! [please report any flubs to SO! ASA/SCMS Special Editor Neil Verma, nkhv@soundingoutblog.com, we'll make corrections as needed]

In closing, what should we look for—or at least hope for—from SCMS in 2015?  I’ll list my three biggies:

Music:  The quantity of papers this year on opera and classical music in film and media, while still small, suggests that SCMS might finally be emerging as a conference for music scholars beyond pop music, and I hope this trend will continue.  I can’t get into the methodological and theoretical rifts within the discipline of musicology here, but for years Norma Coates, Tim Anderson, and many others have been working to make SCMS a viable alternative to the dominant musicology conferences that, in large and small ways, are hostile to (or simply wrong for) critical-cultural music scholars, especially if their topic has a TV/film component. So let the word go out that they are welcome here!  As a side note, can someone please take better advantage of the amazing history of music in Montreal next year?

Sound:  Nothing to complain about here—sound is alive and well. I would like to see a few more papers on television and sound, and one could argue that the aesthetic and economic analyses of sound could be supplemented with more papers on political and social dimensions of sound.  But overall sound studies seems to be in excellent shape at SCMS.

Radio:  I’m not pessimistic about radio studies at SCMS, but it is also not where I had expected it to be at this point.  We need to encourage more international scholars to participate, and we can hope that the Montreal venue will make it easier and more attractive for European radio scholars—of whom there are many—to apply. Thematically, there remains a troubling “donut hole” in radio scholarship that I hope more scholars will address:  we have lots of work on early radio (into the 1950s), and lots of work on contemporary radio and podcasting, but that leaves a half-century gap that doesn’t receive nearly enough scholarly attention.  In other words, radio studies is far from exhausted, so I hope that radio scholars and the RS SIG can make 2015 a year of growth and diversification for radio at SCMS.

* = Sponsored by the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group

** = Sponsored by the Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group

Featured Image: “KEXP, Seattle” by Flickr user Curtis Cronn, CC BY-ND-ND 2.0

Bill Kirkpatrick is Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Communication Department at Denison University in Ohio. His research interests include broadcast history, media and disability, and media policy. He is currently working on an anthology on media and disability and a monograph on the intersections of radio and disability in the 1920s and ‘30s. He is also a co-producer of the film and media studies podcast Aca-Media (www.aca-media.org).

"Bumbershoot procession, 1974" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Bumbershoot procession, 1974″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0


I. Chronological Index
Jump to WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014
Jump to THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2014
Jump to FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Jump to SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014
Jump to SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

II. Topic Index
Jump to SOUND & SOUNDTRACKS
Jump to MUSIC & MUSICALS
Jump to RADIO/PODCASTING
Jump to OTHER

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I. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19

Session A 10:00 – 11:45 a.m.

A4: French Auteurs: Becker, Demy, Bresson, Bunuel

Tracy Cox-Stanton, SAVANNA COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, “Film Sound, Footsteps, and Unvoiced Desire in Bresson’s “Pickpocket” (1959) and Bunuel’s “Belle du Jour” (1967)”

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A10: Knowing the Score

Kevin Donnelly, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON, “Phantom Power: Electrifying an Old Silent Film”

Ariane Lebot, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Composing the Narrative: Bernard Herrmann’s Contribution to De Palma’s ‘Obsession’ (1976)”

Megan Alvarado Saggese, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY, “From Sound to Cinema: Dissonance and Disruption between Adorno’s Theory of Film and Kagel’s “Antithese””

Christine Sprengler, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “‘The Broom That Sweeps the Cobwebs Away’: Vertigo’s Soundtrack as Sound Art”

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A16: Re-viewing Feminisms

Elizabeth Watkins, UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS, “Gesture and the Female Voice”

Alexander Russo, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, “Androids as the New ‘Other’: Janelle Monae’s Feminist Afrofuturism in The Metropolis Suite” (focuses on the sonic attributes of race and gender, as well as her engagement with the sounds of masculine black music of the second half of the 20th century)

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Session B 12:00 – 1:45 p.m.

B6: Policy: The Law and other Gatekeepers

Birk Weiberg, ZURICH UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS, “Roy J. Pomeroy, Dunning Process Co., Inc., and Paramount Publix Corporation vs. Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., Vitaphone Corporation, and Frederick Jackman: How the Movie Industry Learned about Patents.”

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B15: Promotional Culture

William Gombash, VALENCIA COLLEGE, “The Evolution of Media Convergence and Popular Music: The Promotional Films for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”” (will include discussion of how the Beatles recorded the songs and how the evolving nature of the complexities of the production of their music mitigated against live performances)

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B19: Avant-garde Aesthetic Strategies

Dustin Zemel, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Polyphony and Documentary Presentness”  (explores the idea of Bakhtinian literary polyphony and it’s relationship/relevance to film, using Jonas Mekas’s The Brig as an example of how overlapping voices in the soundtrack can effectively facilitate the presentation of multiple, autonomous presences.)

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Session C 2:00 – 3:45 p.m.

C6: Narrative Forms of/and American Authorship

Paul Cote, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, “Encountering Sonic Memories: Sound, Childhood, and Escapism in Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.””

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C8: The Spaces of Media Production and Consumption

Meredith Ward, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Black Boxes and Rich, Repressed Sounds: Architecting Listening in the Cinema House”

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C10: Listening to Films: Cinematic Sound and Media Culture in East Asia

Nicole Huang, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Listening to Films: Radio and Communal Film Culture in 1970s China”

Kerim Yasar, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME, “Otozukuri: Affect, Ontology, and Techne in Early Japanese Radio Drama and Talkie Sound Effects”

Giorgio Biancorosso, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG, “Double Agents and The Poor Man’s Orchestra: Music and the Aesthetic of the Self in *Chunking Express* (1994)”

Ling Zhang, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “The Flowing Ambiguity of Soundscape: Female Voice-over in Spring in a Small Town and Fei Mu’s Chinese Operatic Sound Aesthetic”

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Session D 4:00 – 5:45 p.m. 

D4: The Globalization of Post-Millenial Persian Media

Matt Sienkiewicz, BOSTON COLLEGE, “Uncle Sam’s Koran: American Broadcasting, Koranic Values and Hybrid “Radio Islam” in Afghanistan”

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D6: Objects: The Medium Is the Material

Paul Jasen, CARLETON UNIVERSITY, “Infrasound: Spectres of the Manmade Unknown”

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D10: Physician, Heal Thy Selfie

Stephanie Brown, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, “‘A Waiting Room That Doesn’t Suck’: Negotiations of Agency, Authenticity, and Community in the “Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast””

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D13: New Histories of Animation

Lora Mjolsness, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE, “Sound, Synchronization, and Subversion: The Early Animation of the Brumberg Sisters”

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D15: Distribution in the Digital Age

Tim Anderson, OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY, “Why Don’t We Give it Away?: Value and “Free” for an Emerging Music Industry”

Jeremy Morris, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “‘App’etite for Digitization: App-based Albums and the Virtual Commodification of Music”

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"Sub Pop 20th Anniversary!" by Flickr user Rakka, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Sub Pop 20th Anniversary!” by Flickr user Rakka, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


THURSDAY, MARCH 20

Session E 9:00 – 10:45 a.m. 

E1: Gender and Contemporary Technologies

Jacqueline Vickery, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS, “Mobile Phones, a Girl’s Best Friend?: How the Mobile Phone Industry Legitimizes Surveillance, Commodifies Talk, and Genders Technology”

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*E10: Sound: Aesthetics and Ideology

Justin Morris, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, “Radio Ranch: Emergent Seriality in 1930s Film and Radio”

Paula Musegades, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, “Silence is Golden: Aaron Copland’s Film Score for “The Heiress””

Yuki Takinami, UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO, “The Issue of Sound-Cinema Aesthetics in Early-1930s Japan: Theory and Practice”

Alejandra Bronfman, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, “Screeches, Static, and Silence: The Fragmented Terrain of Caribbean Radio”

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E13: Deleuzian Aesthetics

Justin Horton, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Vibration, Resonance, Deformation: Deleuze’s Soundful Aesthetics”

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E19: New/Media/Art/Objects

Alison Wielgus, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Watch Out! The World’s Behind You: Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable and the Promises of Expanded Cinema” (discusses the influence of La Monte Young and drone music on the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and how the live performance of such music creates a new context for interpreting the Warhol films screened during the events; unfortunately Alison will not be able to attend the conference, but you can contact her for more information)

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Session F 11:00 – 12:45 p.m.

F1: Reconsidering Psychoanalysis and Media Studies: Towards a Productive Intersection

Lana Lin, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY,  “Are These Thoughts My Own?: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Upton Sinclair’s “Mental Radio””

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F5:  Margins of the New Wave: Japanese Cinemas of the 1960s

Michael Raine, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “Music, Musicals, and the Margins of the Japanese New Wave”

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F16: Feminist Approaches to War Media

Debra White-Stanley, KEENE STATE COLLEGE, “Combat Medicine, Gendered Trauma, and Audio-Vision” (an interdisciplinary integration of sound studies with the idea of “women at war”)

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F17: Negotiating Race in Digital Spaces

Sarah Florini, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Networked Enclaves: Black Podcasters’ Responses to the George Zimmerman Verdict”

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**F18: Documentary Sound and the Global City

Rita Safariants, VASSAR COLLEGE, “The Gig is in the Boiler Room: Filming Leningrad’s Rock-n-Roll Counterculture”

Josh Glick, YALE UNIVERSITY, “The Renegade in the Network: Joe Saltzman, CBS, and Soundtrack Innovations”

Ashish Chadha, UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND, “Sound in the City: Experimental Documentaries of Films Division in India”

Noelle Griffis, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, “Telling it Like it Is: The Camera as Voice in AFI Supported Minority Youth Films of the 1960s”

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Session G 1:00 – 2:45 p.m.

**G18: Between Speech, Music, and Noise: The Voice in Recent Film and Television

John Richardson, UNIVERSITY OF TURKU, “Between Dialogue and Sound: The Voice, Audiovisual Flow, and the Aestheticizing Impulse”

Robynn Stilwell, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, “Walking and Talking and Singing and Dancing: Axes and Boundaries in the Television Soundscape”

Claudia Gorbman, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, TACOMA, “The Master’s Voice”

Mitchell Morris, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “Fictions of the Facture: Vocal Realities in “Velvet Goldmine”

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Session H 3:00 – 4:45 p.m.

H3: Negotiating Identity, Belonging, and Citizenship in Transnational Latino Communities in the US

Veronica Zavala, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA, “Alivianadas: Spanish-Language Radio Incentives”

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H4: French Film Archives: New Findings, New Forms

Charlie Michael, EMORY UNIVERSITY, “The Lescure Report and the Future of French Audiovisual Policy” (an analysis of the participatory blog that the French Ministry of Culture launched to have a public discussion about audiovisual reform)

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*H9: Regionalism, Accent, and Dialect at the BBC, 1930-1955

Debra Rae Cohen, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, ““There’s No Such Thing as Reet”: Reclaiming Region in Burbleton””

Ian Whittington, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI, “Regional Voice, National Crisis: J.B. Priestley as Second World War Radio Celebrity”

Emily Bloom, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Speaking Oirish: The BBC Third Programme and Irish Drama”

Damien Keane, UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, “A Back-Window on Belfast: W.R. Rodgers’ The Return Room”

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H13: Cinema & Wagner

Amy Stebbins, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Being Richard: History, Myth, and the Biopic”

Rebekah Rutkoff, CUNY, “Towards a Complete Order: Markopoulos and Wagner”

Ken Eisenstein, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO / BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY, “‘All Things Pass Into the Night’: Music, Montage, and Wagner in Billy Wilder’s “Love in the Afternoon” (1957)”

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*H15: Branded Entertainment of the Past

Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, ““The Dean of Radio Salesmen” vs. “The Huckster”: Jack Benny’s Struggle with Sponsor Lucky Strike, 1944-1948″

Cynthia Meyers, COLLEGE OF MOUNT SAINT VINCENT, “The Problems of Branded Entertainment: BBDO, Sponsors, and Blacklists on Radio and Early Television”

Lauren Bratslavsky, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, “Soft Hands and Soft Westerns: The True Stories of Death Valley Days, 1930-72″

Andrew deWaard, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “Marty Weiser, Exploitation Agent: Product Placement, Publicity, and the Tie-Up Business in Hollywood, 1940-1980″

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H19: Intermedial Modernisms: Cinema’s Expanded Horizons in the 1920s

Sarah Street, UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL, “Synthetic Dreams: Color-Film-Music in the 1920s”

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H25: Once More with Feeling: Audiences, Origins, and Affect in the Hollywood Musical

Desiree Garcia, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage: The Origins of the Hollywood Show Musical”

Sean Griffin, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, “Don’t Fence Me In: B Studio Musicals’ Appeal to Marginalized Audiences”

Caryl Flinn, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, “The Kitschy Feelings of Kitschy Musicals”

Kelly Kessler, DEPAUL UNIVERSITY, “I Dreamed a Dream of Close-Ups Gone By: “Les Misérables” and the Visual Excess of Stage-to-Screen Transfers in the FX Era”

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Session I 5:00 – 6:45 p.m.

I4: Museum as Medium: Technology, Spectatorship, Space

Karine Bouchard, UNIVERSITY DE MONTREAL, “(Im)mobilized Sound: Towards Listening Experiences in the Museum Exhibition.”

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**I10: Sounds of Labor: Musicians’ Employment in Hollywood’s Transition to Sound

Jennifer Fleeger, URSINUS COLLEGE, “Putting Opera to Work: Song, Stardom, and Labor in the Vitaphone Opera Shorts”

Rob King, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, ““I Want Music Everywhere”: Underscoring in the Hal Roach Studios’ Early Sound Films”

Daniel Goldmark, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, “The Musical Roots of “The Jazz Singer””

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I11: Rethinking Wong Kar-wei: New Approaches to an Established International Auteur

Angelo Restivo, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Wong Kar-wai: Sound + Image”

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I19: Makes Me Feel Some Kinda Way: Television and Black Women’s Affect

Racquel Gates, COLLEGE OF STATEN ISLAND, CUNY, “The Ratchet Public Sphere: Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and Black Women’s Culture”

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"Musicians and dancers at Pike Place Market, circa 1972" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Musicians and dancers at Pike Place Market, circa 1972″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0


FRIDAY, MARCH 21

Session J 9:00 -10:45 a.m.

J1: What Is “The Symbolist Temptation?” The Aesthetics of Symbolism in Transnational Cinema

Tami Williams, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE, “A Music of Silence: Abstraction and Sensation in Belle Époque Symbolist Theater and 1920s French Art Cinema”

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J3: Brazilian Cinema Revisited: Technologies, Exhibition, Reception

Rafael Freire, UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL FLUMINENSE, “The Conversion to Sound in Brazil”

..

*J10: Radio and Other Sounds

Hannah Spaulding, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Eavesdropping as Entertainment: The Enormous Radio and Shut Up Little Man!”

Jack Curtis Dubowsky, ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY,  “The Music of Brokeback Mountain”

Ming-Yuen Ma, PITZER COLLEGE, “Noises of Protest: Sound, Race, and Violence in Christian Marclay’s Guitar Drag and Paul D. Miller’s Rebirth of a Nation”

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J19: Race, Gender, and the Body in Found Footage Film

Jaimie Baron, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, “Unintentional Singers and Racial Ventriloquism in Contemporary Found Footage Videos” (Explores how found footage (remix) videomakers are literally making their (speaking) subjects sing and how this constitutes a form of ventriloquism)

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Session K 12:15-2:00 p.m.

*Meeting of the Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group

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K9: Medium and Method in “Early Television” History

Kate Newbold, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Television Ontology and Media Methodology: Exploring Televisual Fragmentation in Phonograph, Broadcast, and Print Industries, 1926-1940″

Luke Stadel, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Radio/Television/Sound, 1922-1941″

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K18: Revisiting Kurosawa

Michael Bourdaghs, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Hearing the Cold War: Kurosawa Akira’s Soundtracks and Soviet Film Theory”

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Session L 2:15-4:00 p.m.

**L10: Sound Waves: Technology and Practice in Film Sound

Charles O’Brien, CARLETON UNIVERSITY, “Multi-Track Sound and the Battle of Paris: American and German Films for French Distribution”

Eric Dienstfrey, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Splits, Quad, and the Psychedelic: Dolby’s Rear Channels Examined”

Katherine Quanz, WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, “The Industrial Impact of Toronto’s Transition to Digidesign Technology in the Mid-2000s”

Benjamin Wright, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, “Atmos Now: How Dolby is Transforming the Art and Craft of Sound Mixing”

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"Sound Garden" by Flickr user The Kozy Shack, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Sound Garden” by Flickr user The Kozy Shack, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


SATURDAY, MARCH 22

Session M 9:00-10:45 a.m.

*Meeting of the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group (featuring guests from KEXP to talk about radio in a streaming age)

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M4: What is Socialist Realism? Reexamining Soviet Post-montage Cinema

Vincent Bohlinger, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE, “Soundtrack Design in Soviet Early Sound Film”

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M7:  Playing with Avatars

Lyn Goeringer, OBERLIN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, “No Avatar Required: Audio-reactive Games and Physical Connectivity”

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**M10: Global Approaches to Film Sound

Pavitra Sundar, KETTERING UNIVERSITY, “Thinking Sound, Rethinking History in Hindi Cinema”

James Lastra, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “From Mickey Mouse to Peter Kubelka”

Esra-Gokce Sahin, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, “Soundscape and Humor in Acharaka Comedy in Prewar Japan”

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M16:  Hispanic Musicals: Nationalisms and Transnational Stars

Valeria Camporesi, AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF MADRID,, “Latin Stars, Spanish Women: Lola Flores in the 1950s”

Ana Lopez, TULANE UNIVERSITY, “La Vecindad: A Musical Space for the Mexican Cinema”

Dolores Tierney, SUSSEX UNIVERSITY, and Sergio de la Mora, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, “Re-mapping Mexican Cinema of the 1970s: Music and Female Sexuality in Zona Roja”

Enrique Garcia, MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE, “From Brechtian to Hollywood Approach: The Hispanic Community and Salsa Music in the Documentary Our Latin Thing (Nuestra Cosa) and the Biopic/Musical El Cantante”

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M17: Forms of Non-Fiction: Voices, Realisms, Disciplines, Shadows

James V. Catano, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Voiceover and the Essay Film”

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Session N 11:00-12:45 p.m.

N2: The Precarious Aesthetic in Contemporary Moving Images

Arild Fetveit, UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN, “Death, Love, and Cinematic Nostalgia: The Precarious Aesthetic of Lana Del Ray” (linking the aesthetics of her videos to her music, in particular to the ways in which she uses her voice)

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*N6: Locating Radio: The Symbolic, Cultural, and Political Dimensions of ‘Place’ in North American Radio Broadcasting

Brian Fauteux, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Localities and Independent Music in Satellite Radio Programming”

Catherine Martin, BOSTON UNIVERSITY, “‘I’ve Got My Eyes Open and I Can’t be Crooked’: Female Virtue and National Identity in “Terry and the Pirates””

Eleanor Patterson, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “This American Franchise: Negotiating the Production of Local Public Radio for a Global Audience”

Jennifer Wang, INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR, “Some ‘Homemakers’ are More Than Housekeepers: Negotiating Modern Living, Gendered Spheres, and the Rural Lifestyle in Wisconsin Radio”

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N11: The Little Flashlight of the Usher: Objects in Exhibition Between Spectator and Screen

Stephen Groening, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY, “‘If You Don’t Want to Look at It, No One Can Force You’: Spectatorship, Agency, and Headphones”

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**N16: Teaching Post-Production Sound From a Sound Studies Perspective

Mark Berger, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Jay Beck, CARLETON COLLEGE

George Larkin, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

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Session O 1:00-2:45 p.m.

O4: Expanding the Meanings of Film: Cinema and the Nation in East Germany

Sabine Hake, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN, “The Popularity of High Culture: On the DEFA Opera Film”

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O8: Sinophone Cinemas

Alison Groppe, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, “Multilingualism in Singaporean Film Dialogue: Authenticity or Argument?”

O14: Breath and the Body of the Voice in Cinema

Ian Garwood, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW, “Lost in Non-Translation: Analysing Film Voices from a Position of Linguistic Incompetence”

Liz Greene, QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST, “The Gasping Breath: Controlling the Female Voice in Hollywood Cinema”

Nessa Johnston, GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART, “The Embodied Aural Encounters of Drama-Documentary”

Philippa Lovatt, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING, “Breathing Bodies: Sound and Subjectivity in the War Film”

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Session P 3:00-4:45 p.m.

P7: “Women Contained”: Figuring Feminism in the Films of Todd Haynes

Respondent: Maria San Filippo, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON

Matthew Von Vogt, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON, “Structural Anorexia in “Superstar””

Jess Issacharoff, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, ““Poison’s” Oath in Another Language: Todd Haynes’ Feminist Promise”

Michael Hetra, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Music and the Vicissitudes of Desire in Todd Haynes’s “Mildred Pierce””

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P18: Beyond Bond: Alternative Perspectives on the James Bond Franchise

Meenasarani Murugan, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY,  “‘Unlike Men, the Diamonds Linger’: Bassey and Bond beyond the Theme Song”

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*P22: Musics and Medias

Shawn VanCour, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “In Search of Spectacular Sound: Aesthetic Innovation in Classical Music Programming on Early U.S. Television”

Lindsay Affleck, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “The Young Man with a Horn: Harry James and the Intersection of the Big Band Era and Classical Hollywood”

Christopher Cwynar, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Unbuttoning National Public Radio: Assessing the Place of Popular Music in NPR’s Current Affairs Programming”

Norma Coates, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “5% of It is Good:” Leonard Bernstein, CBS Reports, and the Cultural Accreditation of Rock Music”

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Session Q 5:00-6:45 p.m.

Q4: Staging Spain: Performance and Acting in Spanish Cinema

Tom Whittaker, UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL, ““Sounding Authentic: Direct Sound and Spanish Vocal Performance in the 1970s””

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Q5: Indian Cinema in the 1930s: Scripts, Parsi Theater, and Melodrama in the Early Sound Film

Anupama Kapse, CUNY, QUEENS COLLEGE, “At Home in One’s Voice: Melodrama and Aural Performance in the Early Sound Film”

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Q8: New Media History

Andrew Bottomley, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “What is Internet Radio? A Historical Genealogy of the Discourses of Radio in the Digital Era”

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Q15: Roadshows to Revisionism: Mapping Shifts in Distribution and Exhibition from the 1950s to the Present

Dennis Bingham, INDIANA UNIVERSITY – PURDUE UNIVERSITY INDIANAPOLIS, “‘Hey, Big Spender’: How Bob Fosse Ran Afoul of Roadshows and Discovered the Revisionist Musical”

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Q18: Sound, Vision, and Experience in Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s “Leviathan (2012)”

Respondent: Catherine Russell, CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY

Christopher Pavsek, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, “Where’s the Sense in Sensory Ethnography?”

Ohad Landesman, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY, “Faraway, So Close: “Leviathan” and the Digital Future of Observational Ethnography”

Eirik Frisvold Hanssen, NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, “‘His Eyes Are Like the Rays of Dawn’: Color Vision and Embodiment in “Leviathan””

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Q22: Cinematic Spaces in the Urban Global South

Paulina Suarez-Hesketh, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Dancing Pictures, Mobile Publics (Mexico City, 1930s -1950s)”

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"KEXP Concerts at the Mural" by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig, CC BY 2.0

“KEXP Concerts at the Mural” by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig, CC BY 2.0

SUNDAY, MARCH 23

Session R 9:00-10:45 a.m.

R2: War/Film

Todd Decker, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY ST. LOUIS, “Helicopter Music”

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R7: Labor Practice and Labors Lost

Josh Heuman, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, “All of This Sometimes Tends to Look Like a Closed-Shop Operation: Organizing and Professionalizing Labor Markets and Relations in Early Broadcast Writing”

Michael Slowik, SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY, “Losing the Human Element: The Shift from Live to Recorded Music in Hollywood’s Early Sound Era”

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**R10: Sound Effects and Sound Affects

Karly-Lynne Scott, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “‘The Voice of Shouts and Moans’: Haptic Aurality, Resonance, and Affect in Pornography”

Ian Kennedy, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, “Damion Romero’s I Know! I Know! and the Sonic Translation of Nonhuman Affect”

Dong Liang, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Is There a Sound Effect in this Score?: SFX in Transition”

Kelly Kirshtner, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE, “Bodies of Proof: Sound and the Aesthetics of Discovery in Televisual Space”

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R20: Beyond Sight and Sound: Film and the Multisensory Experience

Respondent: Carl Plantinga, CALVIN COLLEGE

Joseph Kickasola, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, “The Senses Know: Wong Kar‐Wai’s Multisensory Aesthetic”

William Brown, ROEHAMPTON UNIVERSITY, “A Touch of Nostalgia, or Time and Cinematic Synaesthesia”

Luis Antunes, UNIVERSITY OF KENT & NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, “Multimodal Segmentation in Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line”: Insight into the Time Window of Multisensory Integration”

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R24: About Time

Jeff Heinzl, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, “MTV Meets Slow Cinema: Feedback Loops and the Long Take in G.O.O.D. Music’s Mercy (2012)”

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Session S 11:00-12:45 p.m.

S3: Nontheatrical Film Communities

Pamela Krayenbuhl, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Raising the Barre in Screendance Scholarship: An Archival Analysis of the Dance Company Film”

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S8: New Hollywood and the Archive

Jessica Fowler, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “We’re the Young Generation and We’ve Got Something to Say: The Monkees and the Birth of New Hollywood”

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S9: A Global Pre-History of Reality TV

Aniko Imre, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, “Socialist Idols: Reality Music Competition Programs in the Soviet Bloc”

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**S10: Audible Cinema: Explorations in Sound

Kartik Nair, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “‘The Body in the Voice’: Labor, Sound, and the Cinematic Scream”

Chunfeng Lin, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAGNE, “The Sound Identity of the Early Chinese Sound Films: Symbolism as Skin, Realism as Body, and Politics as Soul”

James Osborne, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, “Weaving a Sonic Dream: Voice, Sound, Music, and Meaning in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia””

Neil Lerner, DAVIDSON COLLEGE, “Investigating the Origins of Video Game Music Style, 1977-1983: The Early Cinema Hypothesis”

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S11: Historicising Stars

Kyle Barnett, BELLARMINE UNIVERSITY, “Stars on the Stereo: Variations on Phonographic Celebrity”

Amanda McQueen, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “”All They’re Good for Is to Make Money”: The Industrial Significance of Elvis Presley Musicals in 1960s Hollywood”

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S14: Agency in Media Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Empowerment

This is a workshop in which Elisabeth Soep of Youth Radio will be participating

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S15: Playing with the Interface

Lauren Cramer, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Race at the Interface: Rendering Blackness on WorldStarHipHop.com”

Kiri Miller, BROWN UNIVERSITY, “Gaming Gender in “Dance Central””

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S16: Questions of Realism

Antonio Iannotta, UNIVERSITY OF SALERNO, “A Sound Laboratory for the Modern: Sound in Italian Cinema from Neorealism to the 60s”

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Session T 1:00-2:45 p.m.

T5: Translation-Adaptation-Nation

Gerald Sim, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY, “Cacophonies of Affection: Postcolonial Soundscapes”

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T7: Histories of Technologies

Dimitrios Pavlounis, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, “Audio Surveillance Goes to the Movies : William J. Burns, the Detective Dictograph, and the Idea of Sound Recording, 1910-1920″

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T17: Revisoning Black Time and Space through the Afrofuturist Moving Image

Kevin Ball, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, “The Incendiary Intergalactic: Sun Ra in Space Is the Place”

"Bumbershoot ad, 1974" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Bumbershoot ad, 1974″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

Read More…

Sound at IASPM-US 2014

One of Chapel Hill's many ponds, at the Outdoor Education Center, Image by Flickr User Kat St Kat

For the second weekend in March, the U.S. chapter of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-US) will be holding its annual meeting at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Like sound studies, popular music studies is fueled by an interdisciplinary spirit, and many of the questions that currently occupy the popular culture corner of sound studies have much in common with those of us who take the study of music seriously. This year’s conference offers a unique theme, “Music Flows,” that centers around questions of water, flows, and liquidity. The conference theme also offers more expansive ideas to flows, including mobility, embodiment, sonic materialities, and ecology. While the theme may strike some as unconventional, it ends up being an excellent metaphor for those of us who study musical flows in fields that prefer static works and communities over transient ones.

The James Taylor Bridge in his native city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The James Taylor Bridge over Morgan Creek in his native city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Since this is a popular music conference, many of the papers at this meeting take musical texts as their focus (including mine); however, there are still many panels and individual papers that might interest scholars from a sound studies perspective. After all, sound travels better in water than in air, and following that logic, water and sound both feature waves. Indeed, there are papers that take the water waves and sound waves as their inspiration. Compare, for example, SO! guest writer Mack Hagood’s discussion of an early popular recording of water waves against Robin James’s philosophical theorizing about sound waves and Neo-Liberalism in the music of Ludacris. Similarly, many papers take their inspiration from the sounds that come from water or are performed in it: Peter Schultz specifically tackles the sound-design of watery environments in video games, while SO! guest writer Josh Ottum investigates the sounds from the floating garbage island in the middle of the ocean. These papers offer attendees the opportunity to consider the large theoretical consequences of changes to the water and waves in recordings.

Some papers approach water from a perspective focused on materiality and mediation. Craig Eley’s paper offers a historically grounded study of the hydrophone and underwater recording. Peter McMurray’s paper analyzes the problem of making music for watery environments and the challenges of water’s sonic conduciveness. For an athletic perspective on hearing music in the water, Niko Higgins talks about the music that swimmers use in their athletic training. These perspectives on liquid mediation offer a tremendous opportunity to expand sound studies beyond its general dependence on sounds that happen in the open air.

Beyond the more literal takes on the water in music flows, a large portion of the papers have taken their inspiration from the metaphor of social mobility, liquidity, and trade. There are panels and papers that emphasize transnational sonic flows, such as the panel “In and Out of Africa,” and Jason Robinson’s work on recording challenges in a transatlantic jazz collaboration. Two papers in particular deal with the role of African Americans in U.S. diplomatic relations: Darren Mueller’s paper on Dizzy Gillespie as a jazz ambassador, and Kendra Salois’s work on hip-hop diplomacy. Along a similar vein, Yvonne Liao specifically considers ports and their relationship to musical trade in Shanghai’s jazz scene. There is also a paper on the role of music as a social lubricant by Luis-Manuel Garcia that promises to be a real treat.

Megafaun serenades a Chapel Hill, North Carolina crowd, Image by Flickr user  abbyladybug

Megafaun serenades a Chapel Hill, North Carolina crowd, Image by Flickr user abbyladybug

There are also numerous papers that tackle flow and water as a metaphor in music-making and mediation. They include SO! guest writer Mike D’Errico’s study of embodiment and interactivity in digital media, Rebecca Farrugia and Kelly Hay’s study of women’s flow in a Detroit hip-hop scene, and Jonathan Piper’s paper on “sludge” metal. “Anointing Sounds” is a roundtable on music’s materiality and the sounds of religious experience through the Christian metaphors of “anointing” and “healing waters.”  Finally, for those scholars seeking the rare paper on record eaters and collecting, check out SO! guest writer Shawn VanCour and Kyle Barnett’s paper.
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Other highlights include a keynote by Louise Meintjes, whose book Sounds of Africa! took the musical recording process in studios as a serious object of study, and one of the last papers of the conference, Matthew Somoroff’s study of James Baldwin as a listener and ethnographer..

Finally, it is worth mentioning how many papers address sound studies’ long-standing relationship with soundscapes, ecomusicology, and the environment. There is a panel called “Ecologies of Place” with papers on ecologically-minded music from places as far flung as India, Iceland, Appalachian Ohio, and Canadian parks. There is also a panel on “Urban Soundscapes,” including Robert Fry’s paper on sound, music, and branding at a hot spring resort and Mathew Robert Swiatlowski’s paper on the boom box and the Walkman in urban space.

Many in sound studies cite Jonathan Sterne’s critiques of ocularcentrism in cultural criticism. This conference encourages us to think beyond the air and stasis and shift our focus to the possibilities of liquid metaphors in cultural change.

Scroll down for Kariann’s handpicked panels and papers of interest for sound studies folks perusing IASPM-US.  

Featured Image: One of Chapel Hill’s many ponds, at the Outdoor Education Center, Image by Flickr User Kat St Kat

Kariann Goldschmitt is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at New College of Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design. She holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from UCLA (2009) and was the 2009-2011 Mellon Fellow of Non-Western Music at Colby College in Maine. Her scholarly work focuses on Brazilian music, modes of listening, and sonic branding in the global cultural industries. She has published in The Journal of Popular Music Studies, American Music, Yearbook for Traditional Music, and Luso-Brazilian Review and contributes to the South American cultural magazine, Sounds and Colours.

"Franklin Street, Chapel Hill" by Wikimedia user Caroline Culler, CC BY 3.0

“Franklin Street, Chapel Hill” by Wikimedia user Caroline Culler, CC BY 3.0

Friday, March 14

9:30
“The Fluid “Field”: Recording and Performance in Transatlantic Collaboration”–Jason Robinson, Amherst College
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“Swimming What You Hear: The Music of Distance Swimmers”– Niko Higgins, Columbia University
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10:15-11:45
“In and Out of Africa: From Biodiversity to Cultural Diversity: Negotiating Cultural Sustainability, Difference, and Nationhood through World Music in France,” Aleysia Whitmore, Brown University
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“American Afrobeat: Perception and Reception of Antibalas in Nigeria,” Stephanie Shonekan, University of Missouri
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“African Sounds in the American South: Community Radio, Pan-Africanism, and Historically Black Colleges, 1950-1986,” Joshua Clark Davis, Duke University
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“Thinking the Anthropocene Through Sound ‘Apeman’: The Kinks’ Romantic Expression of Environmental Politics and the Paradox of Human Evolution,”
Sara Gulgas, University of Pittsburgh
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“Coming of Age in the Post-3.11 Waterscape: Music and Silence in Japanese Animated Cinema and Children’s Art,” Kyle Harp, University of California, Riverside
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“Sounds Like Garbage: Paddling Through an Island of Trash Toward a New Sonic Ecology,” Josh Ottum, Ohio University
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“Watery Textualities: The Perceptual Flow of Metric (Re)evaluation in Radiohead’s ‘Bloom,’” Michael Lupo, CUNY Graduate Center
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“Splash, Bubble, and Clink: Topic and Timbre in Aquatic Video Game Environments,” Peter Shultz, University of Chicago
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“Just Ludacris Enough: Wave-Forms & Neoliberal Sophrosyne,” Robin James, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
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12:00-1:30
Keynote Lecture: Louise Meintjes, Duke University
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1:45-3:45
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“Embodiment and Mediation: Riding the ‘Sound of Here-and-Now’: Locating Groove in Japanese Garage Punk,” Jose Neglia, University of California, Berkeley
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“Air Flows: Breath, Voice, and Authenticity in Three Recordings,” Greg Weinstein, Columbia College Chicago
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“‘Them boys kin shore tromp on the strings’: Down-Home Virtuosity in Rural Variety Radio,” David VanderHamm, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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“‘Less Work, More Flow’: Embodied Interactivity and the Ecology of Digital Media,” Mike D’Errico, University of California Los Angeles
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1:45
“Secret Sonic Weapon on Record: Dizzy Gillespie and the Ambassadorial Politics of Jazz,” Darren Mueller, Duke University
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“The Costs of Being Fluid: Popular Music and the Lubrication of Social Frictions,” Luis-Manuel Garcia, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
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2:15
“Soft Power in Hard Times: Affect, Labor, and Ethics in US ‘Hip Hop Diplomacy,’” Kendra Salois, University of Maryland, College Park
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2:45
“Listening with Your Face: The Neo-colonial Politics of Underwater Music,” Peter McMurray, Harvard University
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James Taylor Bridge, Public Domain

So nice we put it twice, The James Taylor Bridge, Public Domain

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Saturday, March 15

8:30
“Voices of Americas – The Sound of the Radio Programs About Folk Music in Brazil and the USA under the Pan American policy (1936-1945)”–
Rafael Velloso, UFRGS/Brazil & University of Maryland
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“The Sound of Sludge: Groove, Materiality and Bodily Experience in Sludge Metal”–Jonathan Piper, Independent Scholar
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8:30-10:00
Urban Soundscapes
“I Can’t Live Without My Radio”: The Sony Walkman & the Stereo Boombox in the Urban Soundscape of the 1980s”–Mathew Robert Swiatlowski, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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“Sounding Hot Springs: Music and Branding in America’s Spa City”–Robert Fry, Vanderbilt University
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“Hip Hop Flows (through Detroit): Women’s “Legendary” Work Mapping Marginalization and Sustainability in Urban Sonic Spaces”–Rebekah Farrugia, Oakland University, Kellie Hay, Oakland University
..
10:15-11:45
“Mediating ‘Natural’ Sounds Going Deep: The Hydrophone and the History of Underwater Recording”–Craig Eley, Penn State University
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“Early Digital Waves: Irv Teibel’s Environments and the Psychologically Ultimate Seashore”–Mack Hagood, Miami University
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“Sigur Rós and the Soundtrack to Selling Planet Earth”–Matt DelCiampo, Florida State University
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10:45
“Port sounds: Jazz(-scapes) in 1930s and 1940s Shanghai,” Yvonne Liao, King’s College London
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1:45-3:45
Ecologies of Place
“Music, Dance, Theater, Water:  Environmental Justice and Ananya Dance Theatre,” Allison Adrian, St. Catherine University
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“Stone and Ice: Resonant metaphors of Jón Leifs ecological music in Iceland’s soundscape,” Leslie C. Gay Jr., University of Tennessee
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“Sounds of Recovery and Protest in Appalachian Ohio,” Brian Harnetty, Ohio University
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“Mediated Ecomusicological Flows: The Nexus of Sonic Materiality and Ecotourism in the National Parks Project,” Kate Galloway, Memorial University of Newfoundland
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2:45
“Music, Mobility, and Streaming: A Multimedia Lecture by the Killer Apps, Iowa City’s Best All-Mobile-Phone Cover Band,”Kembrew McLeod, University of Iowa and Loren Glass, University of Iowa
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"Cheerleaders, UNC, 1989" by Flickr user North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Cheerleaders, UNC, 1989″ by Flickr user North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Sunday, March 16

8:30
“Tracking Edible Phonography: Record Eating, Collecting, and Musical Taste,” Shawn VanCour, NYU and Kyle Barnett, Bellarmine University
8:30-10
“Anointing Sounds: Holy Ghost Reservoirs in an Age of Mass Media (Roundtable),”  James Bielo, Miami University, Anderson Blanton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Rory Johnson, Miami University
.
11:45
“Voices Above His Head: James Baldwin as Listener and Ethnographer,” Matthew Somoroff, Duke University
.
Chapel Hill's finest, WUNC, image by Flickr user Keith Weston

Chapel Hill’s finest, WUNC, image by Flickr user Keith Weston

Sound Off!// Comment Klatsch #15: Urban Sounds

Sounding Off2klatsch \KLAHCH\ , noun: A casual gathering of people, esp. for refreshments and informal conversation  [German Klatsch, from klatschento gossip, make a sharp noiseof imitative origin.] (Dictionary.com)

Dear SO! Community:  Our SOCK this month comes to us from Managing Editor Liana Silva-Ford, who co-edited last month’s forum, Sounds of the City.

Who or what determines a city’s soundscape?

Comment Klatsch logo courtesy of The Infatuated on Flickr.

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