Tag Archive | Hugo

Quiet on the Set? : The Artist and the Sound of a Silent Resurgence

Theda Bara in the title role of the film "Cleopatra" (1917) courtesy of the Orange County Archives

On a recent episode of Law and Order: SVU Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson takes her new paramour, David Haden (played by Harry Connick Jr.) to see Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist. When Benson asks him what he thought of the film, he replies with notable disdain: “I think maybe there’s a reason they don’t make silent films anymore.”  When Benson responds nervously to his subsequent display of affection, presumably fearing that someone from work might see them, Haden pronounces, “Don’t worry.  Nobody we work with could sit through two hours of black-and-white, no talking.”

Haden’s response might seem surprising given the box-office and critical success of the film, with The Artist grossing more than $120 million worldwide and receiving five of the Academy’s most coveted Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Direction, and Best Actor in a Leading Role. In fact, with both The Artist and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo walking away with a preponderance of Academy Awards, many critics, including the editors of Cineaste, began to wonder if we were finally seeing a long-overdue challenge to “long-entrenched cultural prejudices against silent cinema.” There seems to be a renewed optimism that, with The Artist’s critical and commercial success, the popular stereotypes about silent film—heavy-handed acting, artless cinematography, mundane plots—may finally begin to break down.

Rudolph Valentino and his Dog, this and featured photo of Theda Bara as Cleopatra (1917) courtesy of the Orange County Archives

As a film studies professor who specializes in the pre-sound era and frequently asks even my freshman students to engage with at least one silent film, I am both buoyed and dubious about this supposed sea change in public attitudes toward silent cinema. While some of my students sound a lot like David Haden after I ask them to watch even the most accessible silent slapstick comedies, many of my upper-level students now count works like F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise among their favorite films.  And I’ve discussed the merits of The Artist with many of those same students, who easily recognized the film’s many references to other silent-era works, and appreciated its ability to mimic a very particular brand of silent film.  I honestly believe there is some truth to the claim that films like The Artist and Hugo have encouraged spectators to engage with other silent films, including the recently restored color version of Trip to the Moon that is showcased in Scorsese’s film.  In fact, in recent weeks there has been considerable buzz about skyrocketing demand for silent films via streaming services and even Cinemark’s XD-equipped theaters will be screening the 1927 film Wings as part of its “Reel Classics” series in late May.  Rumor has it that Broadway will soon be hawking a production about Charlie Chaplin’s life and 2012 will see the life of silent film star Rudolph Valentino represented in Silent Life.

Michel Hazanavicius explains in the production notes to The Artist that his desire to make a silent film had been brewing for years: “From the beginning of my career, I fantasized about making a silent film.”  But he also viewed the dream as far-fetched, one that would be unlikely to draw support in contemporary film production circles: “I call it a fantasy because whenever I mentioned it, I’d only get an amused reaction—no one took this seriously.” Despite this resistance, Hazanavicius refused to let go of the idea and  continued to imagine how he might capitalize on the unique artistic potential of the silent medium: “As a director, a silent film makes you face your responsibilities. .  .  .Everything is in the image, in the organization of the signals you’re sending to the audience. And it’s an emotional cinema, it’s sensorial; the fact that there is no text brings you back to a basic way of telling a story that only works on the feelings you have created. I thought it would be a magnificent challenge and that if I could manage it, it would be very rewarding.”

Despite the initial skepticism Hazanavicius faced, The Artist’s unexpected international success has revealed consumers’ (perhaps temporary) appetite for silent film.  Parody trailers of upcoming Hollywood blockbusters like The Avengers have aped silent film form and The Artistifier allows users to transform any Youtube video into a silent film.

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Even hipster clothiers, Shabby Apple, have taped into silent film’s newfound cultural cache by launching a “Silent Era” collection of swimsuits with names like the “Bara swim mini” and the “Karloff swim top.” Despite this recent upsurge in references to and imitations of the silent film medium, advertisers, filmmakers, artists, and musicians have expressed a nostalgic reverence for silent film for decades.  Between 2007 and 2010, Janelle Monáe released her Metropolis and ArchAndroid Suites, which refashioned Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 film, Metropolis.

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Mimicking both the film’s visual style and political message, Monáe also refashioned herself as Metropolis’s iconic android and adopted her trademark tuxedo attire after seeing photos of Marlene Dietrich, the silent and sound film star who helped mainstreamed this androgynous look in the 1920s (and also as a tribute to the working class uniforms of her parents).  From AFLAC’s 2006 satirizing of the medium’s stereotyped damsel in distress, to IBM’s 1986 series of ads featuring Charlie Chaplin, marketers have frequently banked on silent films’ ability to attract the public eye.

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What do we make of this renewed interest in silence? We must first remember that, as I tell my students, silent films were never designed for silent viewing at all given that most were screened with musical accompaniment that ranged from a single organist to a 40-piece orchestra.  Even the composition of The Artist reveals the lie behind silent film “silence,” with composer Ludivic Bource employing 80 musicians from the Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra in developing the score for the film.  Despite the fact that live orchestral accompaniments of silent film have become staples of film festivals around the world, most of today’s viewers’ experiences with silent film are limited to watching DVD transfers of varying quality, with canned music that is sometimes recycled from one DVD release to another, regardless of film title or subject matter.  Few viewers, including those who have attended screenings of The Artist, have truly experienced the “silent” medium as it was intended, with sound and image working in tandem via a combination of “live” music and projected celluloid. Two years ago, I saw the transformative effect of recreating a more authentic silent film viewing experience when I arranged a screening of Sunrise at the University of Northern Colorado with the Mont Alto Chamber Orchestra providing live musical accompaniment.  Many of my students still speak of that experience with tremendous reverence, explaining that they finally understood what it meant to truly experience a “silent film.”

While popular audiences tend to neglect how integral sound was to silent film, Rick Altman has argued in Silent Film Sound that sound has thus far failed to establish its own “autonomous measure of worth,” with scholars arguing that because film’s historical roots are bound up in silence “cinema is thus essentially a visual art” (6).  Yet, this bias seems to be belied by the reaction to The Artist, with even the Oscars ceremony choosing to use the film’s only synchronized sound scene when introducing it as a the Best Picture nomination.  It seems that even an acclaimed twenty-first century silent film must flaunt its, albeit brief, reliance on synchronized sound.  Certainly, the many viewers who demanded refunds from their local cineplexes reflect the prevailing opinion that film must include sound if it hopes to maintain their interest and earn their cinema-going dollars.

Silent Film Festival Winter event at the Castro by Flickr User Steve Rhodes

So, what is the appeal then of these “silent” films in which, though accompanied by music and sound effects, dialogue is not spoken but read via soundless lips or intertitles?  For me, the attraction comes from both understanding the aesthetic and technological roots of an art form that I admire and the fact that they require the development of character and narrative in purely visual terms.  I am also attracted to its higher degree of abstraction, its ability to create a kind of poetry while also defying the very essence of language itself.  And I see in the absence of sound a refreshing denunciation of contemporary demands for ever-increasing realism.  Silent film is the antithesis of today’s fetishizing of 3-D.

Projector, Chaplin by Flickr User Stephen Coates

While I acknowledge this statement may seem naïve given that Scorsese’s aforementioned film manages to combine that “new” technology with a tremendous reverence for silent film’s seemingly “primitive” techniques, I firmly believe that the aesthetics of “silence” have an important resonance for contemporary viewers raised on Dolby. After hearing my frequent complaints about the current impetus toward 3-D, one of my students has taken to calling me Charlie Chaplin, seeing in my resistance a mirroring of the great comedian and director’s opposition to sound technology.  Like Chaplin’s Tramp in Modern Times who cannot keep up with the machine-age and its insistence on productivityI often find myself longing for something simpler from film, something more retrained and abstracted, less motivated by the demand for “progress” and, at least on the surface, The Artist’s return to silence seems to fulfill that admittedly nostalgic desire.  While it is an imperfect, and perhaps misleading, example of the silent medium, even the modernized form of silent cinema that we see in The Artist demands that viewers consider the relationship between history and memory, between film’s relatively youthful heritage and its contingent representations of the past, between sound and silence.

April Miller is an Assistant Professor and Director of Film Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research focuses primarily on the intersections between literature, film and socio-scientific concerns such as criminality and mental illness. She is currently completing a book manuscript, Offending Women: Modernism, Crime, and Creative Production, which investigates the female criminal and her often-overlapping sites of representation in literature, journalism, and silent film.

Sound at SCMS 2012

SCMSlogo-round

I cannot tell you how utterly bummed I am that the Experience Music Project/IASPM joint POP conference falls on exactly the same weekend as the 2012 Society for Cinema and Media Studies meeting in Boston. A lot of scholars, the editorial board of Sounding Out! included, have been forced to make the excruciating choice between them, or—as, the newly nomadic EMP POP will be hosted in New York City this year—to crisscross the Eastern seaboard with heroic train, bus, and car jaunts in an attempt to make both meetings at once.  The good folks here at SO! will be doing our utmost to make the best out of a bad situation; in addition to my SCMS offering, look for Liana Silva’s bonus EMP conference preview round-up post this Wednesday and our dueling live tweets from both joints (a little love for those unable or unwilling to go on tour). Our Twitter handle is @soundingoutblog

Given the huge crossover audience between the EMP/IASMP and the SCMS, I do think this planning snafu brings unfortunate consequences for both meetings, most noticeably a large dip in sound work at this year’s SCMS, including the massive downturn of scholarship on popular music.  The dearth is a real disappointment considering how hard-fought its place has historically been in the organization (see Norma Coates’ 2008 Cinema Journal piece, “Sound Studies: Missing the (Popular) Music for the Screens?” for a compelling story of the institutional turf wars between sound studies, media studies, and popular music study writ large) as well as the fact that 2011’s SCMS New Orleans meeting positively brimmed with music and sound.  Not to mention that this year’s Sound Studies Special Interest Group Meeting, helmed by Co-Chairs Norma Coates and Tim Anderson on Wednesday March 21 from 2:00-3:45, is more music-oriented than it has been in the past, featuring guest speaker Charles McEnerney, who has been the Host + Producer of Well-Rounded Radio, a music interview audio podcast series (more details below). I am excited that the SSSIG is working to bridge popular music study with an exploration of “new media sound” and its possibilities, and not solely because Sounding Out! hosts a podcast series of its own.   Unfortunately, one of the few music panels at SCMS is scheduled at the same time as the Sound Studies Special Interest Group Meeting—and it is the panel of co-chair Anderson!!—another scheduling bummer.

Something Old, Something New, Radios by Flickr User woutervddn

Rather than dwelling on bad news, however, I want to amplify some of the unanticipated positive effects of the confluence of conferences this weekend, especially the dramatic upswing in research on radio and video game studies this year.  There are seven free-standing radio panels at SCMS 2012 (!!!), featuring an excellent blend of radio’s top scholars and brightest emerging voices that dial in some strikingly fresh conversation about contemporary radio technology and programming (E10: Thursday, March 22, 2012 09:00AM-10:45AM), the study of aesthetics in historical radio (D8: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 04:00PM-05:45PM), and transnational sonic exchange, both past and present (L21: Friday, March 23, 2012 02:15PM-04:00PM). We are especially excited to hear the new scholarship from Neil Verma, Shawn VanCour, and Alex Russo, the three radio scholars who Sounding Out! will feature this summer in our upcoming series on the life and legacy of radio innovator Norman Corwin—look for one post each month in June, July, and August 2012.

It is also wonderful for questions regarding sound and video game studies to emerge more prominently at SCMS, especially given their contemporary global cultural influence and the vibrancy of their sound design community, especially in the Twitterverse and via blogs like GameSound.  We are especially excited that Aubrey Anable’s panel on Thursday, March 22, 2012(3:00-4:45) offers us the chance to listen at the intersection of sound studies with the growing scholarship on affect and play, something dear to hearts and minds over here at SO! (see Aaron Trammell’s recent “Orality and Cybernetics in Battleship”).  Especially impressive is how the interventions of videogame scholarship are so fundamentally audio-visual, an articulation that took film studies many years—and even now still seems somewhat reluctant and tenuous. For a list of all video-game panels at SCMS, check theMarch 18th post from Mark Sample’s  Sample Reality.

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The rise of different types of old and new sound media at this year’s SCMS, along with the retrospective roundtable on the pathbreaking scholarship of film sound scholar Rick Altman—featuring fellow heavy hitters Jay Beck, Norma Coates, John Belton, Donald Crafton, Michele Hilmes, Amy Lawrence, and Jonathan Sterne—has made me once again ponder the state of sound studies in film, one of the earliest fields to make the most recent “sonic turn” in scholarship. While certainly there are some innovative, boundary-crossing gems regarding sound and film at SCMS 2012—such as Friday’s “Sonic Approaches to Genre” (12:15-2:00) and Sunday’s “Interwar Sounds” (11:00-12:45), by and large, cinema studies remains overwhelmingly visually oriented as represented at this year’s meeting. Very few panels engage with sound as a primary modality and there are far less individual papers threading sound into panel discussions not explicitly about sound.  We need more of both kinds of scholarly engagement, and perhaps the sudden resurgence of interest around silent film with the Oscar runs of Martin Scorcese’s Hugo and Michel Hazanavicius’s black-and-white silent film The Artist, which won Best Picture, will once again de-naturalize the relationship between film sound and image.  Or, as Altman told us in the introduction to Sound Theory, Sound Practice (1992): “In a world where sound is commonly taken as an unproblematic extension of the image, within a comfortably unified text, the concept of multi-discursivity is bound to enfranchise sound, concentrating attention on its ability to carry its own independent discourses” (10).  [By the way, guest writer April Miller, film and cultural studies scholar at the University of Northern Colorado, will be helping us think through the resurgence of silent film next month here at Sounding Out!].

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Speaking of trying to find sound where there doesn’t appear to be any, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own roundtable on archival dilemmas, “You Are Who, Exactly?”: A Workshop on Working with Non-traditional Scholars,” moved from Wednesday to Saturday afternoon because of scheduling conflict (11:00-12:45, Room TBA in the hard copy SCMS program). A highly interdisciplinary and intermedia panel chaired by Visual Studies scholar Joan Saab, I will be chatting with sound scholar (and CB researcher) Art Blake, cinema scholar Philip Leers, and Media and Animation scholar Nicolas Sammond about the challenges (and breakthroughs) that arise for cultural studies scholars working in areas where, to quote our abstract, “there is no fixed archive nor even a reliable set of sources for our work.”  Some questions we plan to collectively think through include: “Is there an ethics of interpretation that differs from those we use in the [traditional] archive? For those of us working in more ephemeral media (e.g. sound, graffiti, cartoons, everyday life), how do we begin to locate or name our archives, and subsequently how do we acknowledge and catalogue these collections? Where does collaboration begin and end, and where might exploitation and appropriation take over?”  My introductory remarks, Listening from the Margins: The Problem of Historical Sound” will focus on the challenges I face hunting for sound in visually-oriented archives—a methodology of marginalia, afterthoughts, and seemingly offhand remarks—as well as the difficulties of archival research when sound media matters.  What happens when you are studying the editorial practice of a sound montage artist like Tony Schwartz, for example, as I was for “Splicing the Sonic Color-line: Tony Schwartz Remixes Postwar Nueva York(Social Text 102, Spring 2010) but the Library of Congress will only provide access to seamlessly streaming digital reproductions of his work, rather than the painstakingly—and clearly—edited magnetic tape?   While I definitely do not have all the answers, I hope you will join me and my stellar fellow panelists in in discussing solutions to such vexing dilemmas.

Ah, dilemmas. One last one.  For all of you Sound Studies heads who aren’t totally exhausted by rushing all over the East Coast for our academic version of  EMP/IASPM/SCMS “March Madness,” I highly recommend Cornell’s Resoundingly Queer conference next weekend—March 30—April 1st—featuring the work of John Waters, Charles Busch, D.R.E.D., Holly Hughes, Terry Galloway, Moe Angelos, David Savran, Jose Munoz, Jill Dolan, Stacy Wolf, Ann Pellegrini, Eng Beng Lim, Amy Villarejo, Nick Salvato, Shane Vogel, and Judith Peraino, among others. This groundbreaking event will “explore the utterances, echoes, moans, and groans that animate contemporary studies of sex, gender, and sexuality,” one of the first major conferences do so in such a deep and sustained way.  I’ll be there, exhausted but enthused, and ready to Tweet for our reader-verse. I’m just thankful such excellence does not fall on this already insane weekend. See you in Boston! And New York City! And Ithaca!

Please comment to let SO! know what you think–both before and after SCMS 2012.  If I somehow missed you or your panel in this round up, please let me know!: jsa@soundingoutblog.com



Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman is co-founder, Editor-in-Chief and Guest Posts Editor for Sounding Out! She is also Assistant Professor of English at Binghamton University and a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.

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Jump to WEDNESDAY, March 21
Jump to THURSDAY, March 22
Jump to FRIDAY, March 23
Jump to SATURDAY, March 24
Jump to SUNDAY, March 25

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Back to menu
WEDNESDAY, March 21

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 10:00AM-11:45PM (Session A)

A12: Music and Media Shifts

Room: Gloucester

Chair: Carol Vernallis (Arizona State University)

Kyle Stevens (University of Pittsburgh), “Singing the Pretty: Woman’s Voices and the Classical Hollywood Musical”

Daniel Bishop (Indiana University), “Sounding the Past in Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde”

Andrew Ritchey (University of Iowa), “Moving in Time: Musical Analogy and the Emergence of Avant-Garde Film”

Carol Vernallis (Arizona State University), “What Was, What Is, ‘My MTV’: MTV’s First Broadcast and Music Video Now

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 12:00PM-01:45PM (Session B)

B4: 60s Experimental Cinema and Eccentric Embodiment

Room: Board Room

Chair: Juan Suarez (University of Murcia)

Co-Chair: Ara Osterweil (McGill University)

Lucas Hilderbrand (University of California, Irvine), “Sex Out of Sync: Christmas on Earth’s Queer Soundtrack”

Ara Osterweil (McGill University), “Yoko Ono: Philosophy in the Bedroom”

Juan Suarez (University of Murcia), “Film Grain and the Queer Body: Tom Chomont”

Marc Siegel (Goethe University Frankfurt), “The Sound Recordings of Mario Montez

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012 02:00PM-03:45PM (Session C)

***Sound Studies Special Interest Group 2012 Annual Meeting

Room: Stanbro Room on Level 4

Convened by SSSIG Co-Chair Norma Coates (University of Western Ontario), featuring special presentation by Charles McEnerney.

SSSIG Co-Chair Tim Anderson (Old Dominion) is scheduled to present at this time (see session C19 “Rebooting the Music Industry”)

Charles McEnerney

From the SSSIG’s Correspondence: “Charles is a talented marketer and has worked with clients such as HBO and WGBH. However, he has most recently  worked with the Future of Music Coalition, a national education, research and advocacy organization for musicians based out of Washington D.C. to help them better understand how musicians are actually making money in a new music economy.

Since 2002, Charles McEnerney has been the Host + Producer of Well-Rounded Radio, a music interview audio podcast series that has included a wide range of genres and topics. Ranging from discussions of bluegrass, independent rock, folk, rap, new music industry, music festivals, and so on, the podcast has included interviews with musicians such as Dave Allen (Gang of Four/Shriekback), Ken Irwin (founder of Rounder Records), Lawrence Lessig, Erin McKeown, and Amanda Palmer.

McEnerney is also the ‘instigator’ behind the Musicians for Music 2.0 Venture Fund, an idea to create a new kind of funding organization for music discovery for taste makers and technology start-ups. Music 2.0 is dedicated to building ‘a better music ecosystem.’”

To join the SCMS Sound Studies Special Interest Facebook Group click here. To join the group via the SCMS website click here.

C9: The Culture and Practice of the Sound Image in Japan around 1930

Room: Constitution 

Chair: Michael Raine (Independent Scholar)

Respondent: James Lastra (University of Chicago)

Masaki Daibo (Theatre Museum of Waseda University), “Before Reimei: Early Attempts to Produce Talking Japanese Cinema through the Phonograph”

Michael Raine (Independent Scholar), “‘No Interpreter, Full Volume’: The Benshi and the Sound Image in Early 1930s Japan”

Johan Nordstrom (Waseda University), “The Sound Image in Early Japanese Musicals”

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C17: Audiovisual Archives in the Digital Age

Room: Stanhope

Chair: Katherine Groo (University of Aberdeen)

Jasmijn Van Gorp (Utrecht University), “Unavailable Audiovisual Material, No Research? Improving Data Collection in the Audiovisual Archive”

Nanna Verhoeff (Utrecht University), “Visual Archives on the Move: Locative Media for Digital Heritage”

Katherine Groo (University of Aberdeen), “Cut, Paste, Glitch, and Stutter: Remixing Silent Film (History)

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C19: Rebooting the Music Industry

Room: Thoreau

Chair: David Arditi (George Mason University)

Alyxandra Vesey (University of Wisconsin, Madison), “Women’s Work: Gendering the Music Supervisor, Mainstreaming Indie Culture”

Andrew deWaard (University of California, Los Angeles), “The Cultural Capital Project: Radical Monetization of the Music Industry”

Tim Anderson (Old Dominion University), “From Background Music to Above-the-Line: A System Analysis of the Newfound Importance of the Music Supervisor in Film and Television”

David Arditi (George Mason University), “Digitizing Distribution: The MP3’s Impact on the Album”

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012 04:00PM-05:45PM (Session D)

D4: Terrence Malick, Film Form, and Meaning: Exploring the Last Three Films

 Room: Board Room

Chair: Chuck Maland (University of Tennessee)

Respondent: Walter Metz (Southern Illinois University)

Clint Stivers (University of Tennessee Knoxville), “‘What’s Your Name Kid?’: The Enigmatic Voiceover in The Thin Red Line”

Lloyd Michaels (Allegheny College), “Text, Author, Meaning: Reading the ‘Extended Cut’ of The New World

Anders Bergstrom (Wilfrid Laurier University), “Voice-Over, Focalization, and the Cinematic Memory Image in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011)”

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D8: The Aesthetic Turn in Radio Studies

Room: Charles River

Chair: Neil Verma (University of Chicago)

Co-Chair: Shawn VanCour (University of South Carolina)

Allison McCracken (DePaul University), “‘Whispers and Pops’: Microphone Singing and the Invention of the Intimate Aesthetic, 1920s”

Shawn VanCour (University of South Carolina), “Reconstructing Early Radio Genres: The Case of Musical Variety”

Neil Verma (University of Chicago), “Impossible Scenes: The Fall of the City and the Problem of Representation in Radio Drama”

Elena Razlogova (Concordia University), “Radio Noise as Social Perception: From Wireless to Radio”

 

D16: Save to Continue: The State of Video Game Archiving and Preservation

Room: St. James

Chair: Matthew Payne (University of Alabama)

Workshop Participants:

Henry Lowood (Stanford University)

Ken McAllister (University of Arizona)David O’Grady (University of California, Los Angeles)

Judd Ruggill (Arizona State University)

Megan Winget (University of Texas, Austin)


Back to menu
THURSDAY, March 22

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012 09:00AM-10:45AM (Session E)

 E10: On the (Re)Death of Radio: Continuities and Changes in Radio in the 21st Century Part I : Technologies

 Room: Constitution

Chair: Alexander Russo (Catholic University of America)

Tona Hangen (Worcester State University), “Troubleshooting the Wayback Machine: When Radio Goes Online”

Kathleen Griffin (University of Brighton), “Shifting Sands: The Changing Power Relations Between Listeners and Programme Makers”

Andrew Ó Baoill (Cazenovia College), “Degrees of Freedom: How Community Radio Stations Are Responding to New Distribution Channels”

Christina Dunbar-Hester (Rutgers University), “The Symbolic Value of Technical Practice in 21st-Century Radio Activism”

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E21: Digital Methodologies for Screen Histories: Performing Research in the 21st Century

Room: Whittier

Chair: Paul Moore (Ryerson University)

Workshop Participants:

Richard Abel (University of Michigan)

Janet Bergstrom (University of California, Los Angeles)

Ross Melnick (Oakland University)

Jan Olsson (Stockholm University)

James Steffen (Emory University)

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 11:00AM-12:45PM (Session F)

 F7: Signal Traffic: Researching Media Infrastructures

 Room: Cambridge

Chair: Cristina Venegas (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Lisa Parks (University of California, Santa Barbara), “Beaming the Audiovisual: Toward a Theory of Media Infrastructures”

Jonathan Sterne (McGill University), “Audible Infrastructures and Telephone Effects”

Nicole Starosielski (Miami University Ohio), “Disappearing Infrastructures: Undersea Cables and Narratives of Connection”

Shannon Mattern (The New School), “Deep Time of Media Infrastructure”

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F10: On the (Re)Death of Radio: Continuities and Changes in Radio in the 21st Century, Part II: Programming

Room: Holmes

Chair: Christina Dunbar-Hester (Rutgers University)

Cynthia Conti (New York University), “Localizing Localism: The Complexities of LPFM Broadcasting”

Alexander Russo (Catholic University of America), “‘Beyond’ the Terrestrial?: Distribution, Formats, and the Place of the Local in Satellite Radio”

Christopher Cwynar (University of Wisconsin, Madison), “I Want My NPR.org/Music: ‘Independent’ Popular Music Culture and American Public Broadcasting in the Digital Convergence Era”

Jason Loviglio (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), “NPR’s Useful Crises”

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 01:00PM-02:45PM (Session G)

 G21: Sound Thinking: Rick Altman and Sound Studies

 Room: Whittier

Chair: Jay Beck (Carleton College)

Co-Chair: Norma Coates (University of Western Ontario)

Workshop Participants:

John Belton (Rutgers University)

Donald Crafton (University of Notre Dame)

Michele Hilmes (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Amy Lawrence (Dartmouth University)

Jonathan Sterne (McGill University)

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 03:00PM-04:45PM (Session H)

 H7: Playing With Feelings 1: Video Games and Affect

 Room: Cambridge

Chair: Aubrey Anable (University of Toronto)

Seth Mulliken (North Carolina State University, Raleigh), “The Order of Hardness: Rhythm-Based Games and Sonic Affect”

Laura Cook Kenna (George Washington University), “Feeling Empathetic? . . . Ironic? . . . Postracial?: Grand Theft Auto’s Offers of Affective Engagement with Ethnic and Racial Difference”

Allyson Shaffer (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), “Playing Life, Managing Play”

Aubrey Anable (University of Toronto), “Casual Games, Serious Play, and the Affective Economy

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 05:00PM-06:45PM (Session I)

I2: Music on Television

Room: Back Bay

Chair: Matt Delmont (Scripps College)

Mikal Gaines (Emmanuel College), “Undead Carnival: Monsters, Magic, and Black Self-Making in Michael Jackson’s Thriller

Norma Coates (University of Western Ontario), “How Commercial Is Too Commercial? Hootenanny and the Struggle Over Folk Authenticity”

Matt Delmont (Scripps College), “‘They’ll Be Rockin’ on Bandstand, in Philadelphia, PA’: Imagining National Youth Culture on American Bandstand”

 

I8: “Time to Smile”: Conceptualizing the Form and Place of Radio Comedy in the 1930s

 Room: Charles River

Chair: Cynthia Meyers (College of Mount Saint Vincent)

Co-Chair: David Weinstein (National Endowment for the Humanities)

Cynthia Meyers (College of Mount Saint Vincent), “‘Resist the Usual’: Young & Rubicam’s Soft Sell Strategies in Radio Comedy Programming”

David Weinstein (National Endowment for the Humanities), “‘The Apostle of Pep’ Tackles the Airwaves: Eddie Cantor and Broadway Style in 1930s Radio”

Kathryn Fuller-Seeley (Georgia State University), “Reinventing Jack Benny: Developing the Character-Focused ‘Comedy Situation’ for Radio”

Jennifer Wang (Independent Scholar), “Why Women Aren’t Funny?: The Marginalization of Comedy in 1930’s Daytime Radio”

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I25: Video Essays: Film Scholarship’s Emergent Form

Room: Longfellow

Chair: Girish Shambu (Canisius College)

Workshop Participants:

Christian Keathley (Middlebury College)

Catherine Grant (University of Sussex)

Benjamin Sampson (University of California, Los Angeles)

Richard Misek (University of Bristol)

Craig Cieslikowski (University of Florida)

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Thursday Individual Papers of Interest:

Deniz Bayrakdar (Kadir Has University), “Silence of Sound and Image in the New Cinema in Turkey, 11:00AM-12:45PM, Room: Constitution

David Gurney (Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi), “‘Put These in Your Ear-Holes’: The Sonic Assemblages of [adult swim], 03:00PM-04:45PM, Room: Cabot

Krin Gabbard (Stony Brook University), “‘Throw It Away’: Abbey Lincoln in Hollywood,” 03:00PM-04:45PM, Room: St. James

Hannah Frank (University of Chicago), “The Invisible Visible and the Inaudible Audible: Testing the Limits of Vertov’s Kino-Eye,” 05:00PM-06:45PM, Room: Board Room

Events:

The Sound Studies SIG and the Television Studies SIG are co-sponsoring a party at Scholar’s Bistro Boston, 95 School Street, a nice walk through the Public Garden and Boston Common from the conference site.  The festivities start after the Television Studies SIG meeting, which lasts until 8:45, so plan on arriving at Scholars after that.  .

The Boston Typewriter Orchestra

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Friday, March 23

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012 09:00AM-10:45AM (Session J)

 J6: The iPad for Cinema and Media Studies: A Hands (and Fingers)-on Workshop

Room: Cabot

Chair: Andrew Miller (Sacred Heart University)

Co-Chair: Judd Ruggill (Arizona State University)

Workshop Participants:

Michael Aronson (University of Oregon)

Elizabeth Ellcessor (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Phoebe Bronstein (University of Oregon)

Dan Leopard (Saint Mary’s College of California)

Heidi Cooley (University of South Carolina)

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Friday, March 23, 2012 12:15PM-02:00PM (Session K)

 K6: Sonic Approaches to Genre

Room: Cabot

Chair: Mark Kerins (Southern Methodist University)

Co-Chair: William Whittington (University of Southern California)

Benjamin Wright (University of Southern California), “The Sonic Compass: Re-recording Mixing Choices and The Bourne Ultimatum

Vanessa Ament-Gjenvick (Georgia State University), “‘How Would You Like To Work on a Monster Movie?’: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Technological Convergence, and Sound Design Authorship”

Mark Kerins (Southern Methodist University), “Genre Effects on Surround Sound Gaming”

William Whittington (University of Southern California), “The Cinema of Disorientation: A Hearing on Horror


Friday, March 23, 2012 02:15PM-04:00PM (Session L)

L17: Bridging Disciplines in Media and Urban Studies

Room: Stanhope

Chair: Joshua Gleich (University of Texas, Austin)

Workshop Participants:

Mark Shiel (King’s College London)

Joshua Gleich (University of Texas, Austin)Merrill Schleier (University of the Pacific)

Erica Stein (University of Arizona)

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L21: Over the Borderline: Transnational Radio Histories

 Room: Whittier

Chair: Derek Vaillant (University of Michigan)

Derek Vaillant (University of Michigan), “Sounds Too French: The Challenges of US-France Transatlantic Broadcasting, 1920-1939″

Gisela Cramer (University of Colombia-Bogota), “The Shortcomings of Shortwave: US Programming to Latin America during World War II”

Jennifer Spohrer (Bryn Mawr College), “Visions and Realities of International Commercial Broadcasting: Radio Luxembourg in the 1930s”

Michele Hilmes (University of Wisconsin, Madison), “Building Bridges, Crossing Wires: The BBC’s North American Service”

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Friday Individual Papers of Interest:

Juana Suarez (New York University), “Beyond Entertainment: Radio, Comedia Ranchera, and the Political Agenda of Colombian Films from the 1940s,” 12:15PM-02:00PM, RoomConstitution

Julianne Pidduck (University of Montreal), “Thinking the Audiovisual Relation: Su Friedrich’s Experimental Kinship Documents,”  02:15PM-04:00PM, Room: White Hill

Friday Events:

The organizational meeting to establish a Radio Studies SIG is Friday morning, March 23, from 9am – 10:45am in the Stanbro Room Level 4.

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Rob Nokes, Sound Effects Field Recordist, for the 2008 miniseries JOHN ADAMS recreating the sounds of Boston Harbor.
Sound were created for the Supervising Sound Editor, Steve Flick, who won an Outstanding Sound Editing Emmy for JOHN ADAM (2008)

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Saturday, March 24
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012 09:00AM-10:45AM (Session M)

M6: Why Apps Can’t Argue . . . Or Can They? The Critical Essay, Screen Cultures, and the Digital Humanities

Room: Cabot

Chair: James Tobias (University of California, Riverside)

 James Tobias (University of California, Riverside), “Histories and Futures of the Critical Audiovisual Essay: Kit Literatures, Audiovisual Composition, and Scholarly Uses of Vernacular Media”

Holly Willis (University of Southern California), “The Letter and the Line: Text in Film and Video”

Steve Anderson (University of Southern California), “Technologies of Critical Writing: On the War between Data and Images”

Ian Ross (University of California, Riverside), “Hardware as Argument: Finding the Essayistic in Hardware Modding Considered as Material Semiotic Practice”

M13: Violent Images

 Room: Holmes

 Chair: Ora Gelley (North Carolina State University)

Asbjorn Gronstad (University of Bergen), “Archives of Violence”

Jacqueline Waeber (Duke University), “Revisiting an Empathetic Music: Visible Violence and the Audible Offscreen”

Julian Hanich (Freie Universtitaet Berlin), “Suggestive Verbalizations: Evoking Cinematic Violence through Words”

Ora Gelley (North Carolina State University), “Narrative Form, Violence, and the Female Body

 

Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:00AM-12:45PM (Session N)

N3: Unforgettable: Popular Music and Memory on Film

 Room: Beacon Hill

Chair: Katherine Spring (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Respondent: Jeff Smith (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Michael Dwyer (Arcadia University), “Old Time Rock and Roll: Fifties Nostalgia on Hollywood Soundtracks”

Sangeeta Marwah (University of Southern California), “The Hindi Film Song: Narrative, Cultural Memory, and Identity”

Ethan de Seife (Hofstra University), “Old Times Were Good Times: Neil Young Remembers Greendale”

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N15: A Scholarship of Audiovision: Theory/Praxis/Production in the 21st Century

Room: Newbury

Chair: Brigitta Wagner (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Workshop Participants:

Brigitta Wagner (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Charles Musser (Yale University)

Gabriel Paletz (Prague Film School)

Hanna Shell (Harvard University)

Jesse Shapins (Harvard University)

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N23: “You Are Who, Exactly?”: A Workshop on Working with Non-traditional Scholars 
Room: Franklin 
Chair: Joan Saab (University of Rochester)

Workshop Participants:

Art Blake (Ryerson University)

Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman (State University of New York Binghamton)

Philip Leers (University of California Los Angeles)

Nicholas Sammond (University of Toronto)

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Saturday, March 24, 2012 01:00PM-02:45PM (Session O)

O1: Laughter That “Encounters a Void?”: On Humor and Cinema in the Middle East

Room: Alcott

Chair: Hossein Khosrowjah (California College of Arts)

Perin Gurel (Dickinson College), “America, the (Oppressively) Funny: Humor and Anti-Americanisms in Modern Turkish Cinema”

Roberta Di Carmine (Western Illinois University), “Israeli Comedy’s Multiple Voices/Languages in The Band’s Visit”

Elise Burton (Harvard University), “Ethnic Humor, Stereotypes, and Cultural Power in Israeli Cinema”

Iris Fruchter-Ronen (University of Haifa), “Humor and Gender in Nadin Labaki’s Films: Caramel and Where Do We Go Now?”

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O8: Contemporary Latin American Cinema and the New Latin American Cinema: Aesthetic and Ethical Continuities and Discontinuities

Room: Charles River

Chair: Cynthia Tompkins (Arizona State University)

Respondent: Claudia Ferma (University of Richmond)

Ana Forcinito (University of Minnesota), “Almost a Voice Over: Echoes and Distortions in the New Argentina Cinema Directed by Women”

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O9: Sound Across Media and Genre

Room: Emerson

Chair: Todd Decker (Washington University, St. Louis)

Kristen Hatch (University of California, Irvine), “Harlem in Hollywood: The ‘Negro Vogue’ of the Early Sound Era”

Hannah Allen (Michigan State University), “The Obscene Scream: Aurality in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Michelle Puetz (University of Chicago), “Projecting Sound as Image”

Todd Decker (Washington University, St. Louis), “Elegies in Waltz Time: Meter, Memory, and Remembrance in Band of Brothers (2001)

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O13: New Perspectives in Cinema and Multilingualism

Room: Holmes

Chair: Tijana Mamula (John Cabot University)

Co-Chair: Peter Sarram (John Cabot University)

Brian Hochman (Georgetown University), “Plains Indian Sign Language and the Protocinematic Aesthetic”

Charles Linscott (Ohio University), “The Talking Money Order: Mandabi and the Languages of Globalization”

Mara Matta (University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’), “Talking Back: The Issue of Multilingualism in Northeast Indian Cinema”

Jaap Verheul (New York University), “Divided in Unity: European Integration versus Regional Language in Dutch and Flemish Cinema”

Saturday, March 24, 2012 03:00PM-04:45PM (Session P)

P8: DVDs UnpackedTales of Glocal Piracy and Stardom

Chair: Monika Mehta (University of Binghamton, SUNY)

Room: Charles River

Jasmine Trice (National University of Singapore), “Action Stars and Indie Cinema: Global Media Piracy and Local Cultural Production in the Philippines”

Suzanne L. Schulz (University of Texas, Austin), “Law, Order, and the DVD: On the Containment of Discs in India”

Monika Mehta (University of Binghamton, SUNY), “DVD Compilations of Hindi Film Songs: (Re) Shuffling Sound, Stardom, and Cinephilia”

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Saturday, March 24, 2012 05:00PM-06:45PM (Session Q)

 Q2: Sing-a-longs and Dance-a-thons: Re-visioning the Contemporary Musical on Film and Television

 Room: Back Bay

 Chair: Aviva Dove-Viebahn (University of Northern Colorado)

Kenneth Chan (University of Northern Colorado), “Swinging and Swaying the Body Cultural Politics: Musicalizing the Already Musical Hairspray

Jesse Schlotterbeck (University of Iowa), “Notorious and the Apparent Contradictions of the Contemporary Musical Biopic”

Tamar Ditzian (University of Florida), “Transgender’s Transgressions Undone in Hedwig and Rocky Horror: Reviewing Queerness in the Glam Rock Musical”

Kyra Glass von der Osten (University of Wisconsin, Madison), “Musical Marriage: The Mash-Up as Governing Principle in Glee

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Q12: Materialities of Film Sound

Room: Gloucester

Chair: Delia Konzett (University of New Hampshire)

Delia Konzett (University of New Hampshire), “Sound in War/Combat Film”

Walter Metz (Southern Illinois University), “‘Here’s to Ben!’: Visual Sound in the Films of David Lynch”

Michael Wutz (Weber State University), “Notes toward a Media-Historical History of Sound in Film

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Q16: Collective Scholarship in Digital Contexts

Room: St. James

Chair: Kristina Busse (Independent Scholar)

Workshop Participants:

Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Modern Language Association)

Jason Mittell (Middlebury College)

Richard Edwards (Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis)

Louisa Stein (Middlebury College)

Francesca Coppa (Muhlenberg College)

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Saturday Individual Papers of Interest

Karen Backstein (Sterling Publishing), “Documenting Musica Brasileira: Culture, History, Memory in the Brazilian Music Documentary,” 09:00AM-10:45AM, Room: Constitution

Jason Zuzga (University of Pennsylvania), “The Violent, Silent World: Affect, History, and Ethical Orientation on Screen and at Sea,” 11:00AM-12:45PM, Room: Stanhope

Andrea Kelley (Indiana University), “From the Factory to the Ferry: Soundies’ Sites of Exhibition,” 11:00AM-12:45PM, Room: Stuart

John Connor (Yale University), “The Modern Sounds of Modern Massachusetts: The Friends of Eddie Coyle and the Voice of Southie,” 01:00PM-02:45PM, Room: Winthrop

Lisa Coulthard (University of British Columbia), “Dirty Sound: The Ethics of Noise in the New Extremity,” 01:00PM-02:45PM, Room: Constitution

Nina Cartier (Northwestern University), “Supa Soul Cinema: Blaxploitation Narration,” 01:00PM-02:45PM, Room: Newbury

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SUNDAY, March 25

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012 09:00AM-10:45AM (Session R)

R18: Radio Dynamics

Room: Stuart

Chair: David Uskovich (University of Texas, Austin)

Mette Simonsen Abildgaard (Southern University Denmark), “Intimate Messages: A History of Interactions in Youth Radio”

Catherine Martin (Boston University), “Re-imagining the City: Contained Criminality in The Radio Adventures of Sam Spade

Adrienne Foreman (Texas A&M University), “From Revolt to Style: Movements in Advertising and Text from The Maltese Falcon and The Adventures of Sam Spade

David Uskovich (University of Texas, Austin), “Programming Practice and Musical Genre: 1980s College Radio and the hifting Meanings of ‘Alternative’”

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R25: Expanded Cinema in Four Dimensions: Origins, Senses, Interactivity, Publicness

Room: Longfellow

Chair: Dimitrios Latsis (University of Iowa)

Dimitrios Latsis (University of Iowa), “Expanding Cinema: Genealogies of the Para-cinematic within American AvantGarde Cinema”

Justus Nieland (Michigan State University), “‘The Scale Is the World’: Expanded Cinema and the Midcentury Sensorium”

Marina Hassapopoulou (University of Florida), “Interactive Cinema: Expanding and Updating Film Theory”

Annie Dell’ Aria (CUNY Graduate Center), “Critical Synthesis: Reading Krzysztof Wodiczko through Film Theory”

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Sunday, March 25, 2012 11:00AM-12:45PM (Session S)

S3: Interwar Sounds

Room: Beacon Hill

Chair: Michael Slowik (University of Iowa)

Jessica Fowler (University of California, Los Angeles), “Open to Interpretation: Multiple Language Versions (MLVs) in the Early Sound Era”

Matthew Perkins (University of California, Los Angeles), “Can You Hear Me Now? Sound Department Creation and Personnel During the Transition to the Talkies”

Brian Hanrahan (Cornell University), “Radio, Film, Radio-Film: Intermedial Comparison in Discourses of Early German Broadcasting”

Michael Slowik (University of Iowa), “Why Max Steiner Was Wrong, Or, Re-recording and the Hollywood Film Score, 1929 to 1931″

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Sunday Individual Papers of Interest:

Paul Fileri (New York University), “Documentary Voices in the Algerian War: State Violence, Colonial Bureaucratic Filmmaking, and the Figure of the Refugee,” 09:00AM-10:45AM, Room: Whittier

Kiranmayi Indraganti (Ramoji Academy of Film and Television), “Song Taxonomies: New Categories of Songs in the Telugu Language Cinema in the Decade of 2000-2010,” Room: Back Bay

Robert Buerkle (University of Pittsburgh), “At a Loss for Words: Portal 2 and the Silent Avatar,” 11:00AM-12:45PM, Room: Cambridge

Craig Cieslikowski (University of Florida), “Writing Sounds: Cinematic Writing and Cinephilia,” 11:00AM-12:45PM, Room: Emerson

Inez Hedges (Northeastern University), “White Flash: Silence and Amnesia in Japanese A-Bomb Films,” 11:00AM-12:45PM, Room: St. James

Aniruddha Maitra (Brown University), “‘Narcissisizing’ the Locally Global: Language, Image, and a ‘Touch’ of Untranslatability in Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone,”11:00AM-12:45PM, Room: Stuart



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