Tag Archive | new media

Culture Jamming and Game Sound: An Interview with foci + loci

Sound-Improv-New-Media-ArtGuest Editors’ Note: Welcome to Sounding Out!‘s December forum entitled “Sound, Improvisation and New Media Art.” This series explores the nature of improvisation and its relationship to appropriative play cultures within new media art and contemporary sound practice. Here, we engage directly with practitioners, who either deploy or facilitate play and improvisation through their work in sonic new media cultures.

For our second piece in the series, we have interviewed New York City based performance duo foci + loci (Chris Burke and Tamara Yadao). Treating the map editors in video games as virtual sound stages, foci + loci design immersive electroacoustic spaces that can be “played” as instruments. Chris and Tamara bring an interdisciplinary lens to their work, having worked in various sonic and game-related cultures including, popular, electroacoustic and new music, chiptune, machinima (filmmaking using video game engines), and more.

As curators, we have worked with foci + loci several times over the past few years, and have been fascinated with their treatment of popular video game environments as tools for visual and sonic exploration. Their work is highly referential, drawing on artistic legacies of the Futurists, the Surrealists, and the Situationists, among others. In this interview, we discuss the nature of their practice(s), and it’s relationship to play, improvisation and the co-constituative nature of their work in relation to capital and proprietary technologies.

— Guest Editors Skot Deeming and Martin Zeilinger

1. Can you take a moment to describe your practice to our readers? What kind of work do you produce, what kind of technologies are involved, and what is your creative process?

foci + loci mostly produce sonic and visual video game environments that are played in live performance. We have been using Little Big Planet (LBP) on the Playstation 3 for about 6 years.

When we perform, we normally have two PS3s running the game with a different map in each. We have experimented with other platforms such as Minecraft and we sometimes incorporate spoken word, guitars, effects pedals, multiple game controllers (more than 1 each) and Game Boys.

Our creative process proceeds from discussions about the ontological differences between digital space and cinematic space, as well as the freeform or experimental creation of music and sound art that uses game spaces as its medium. When we are in “Create Mode” in LBP, these concepts guide our construction of virtual machines, instruments and performance systems.

[Editor’s Note: Little Big Planet’s has several game modes. Create Mode is the space within the game where users can create their own LBP levels and environments. As player’s progress through LBP’s Story Mode, players unlock and increasing number of game assets, which can be used in Create Mode.]

2. Tell us about your background in music? Can you situate your current work in relation to the musical traditions and communities that you were previously a part of?

CB: I have composed for film, TV, video games and several albums (sample based, collage and electronic). Since 2001 I’ve been active in the chipmusic scene, under the name glomag. Around the same time I discovered machinima and you could say that my part in foci + loci is the marriage of these two interests – music and visual. Chipmusic tends to be high energy and the draw centers around exciting live performances. It’s immensely fun and rewarding but I felt a need to step back and make work that drew from more cerebral pursuits. foci + loci is more about these persuits for me: both my love of media theory and working with space and time.

TY: I’m an interdisciplinary artist and composer. I studied classical piano and percussion during my childhood years. I went on to study photography, film, video, sound, digital media and guitar in college and after. I’ve primarily been involved with the electroacoustic improv and chipmusic scenes, both in NYC. I’ve been improvising since 2005, and I’ve been writing chipmusic since 2011 under the moniker Corset Lore.

My work in foci + loci evolved out of the performance experience I garnered in the electroacoustic improv scene. My PS3 replaced my laptop. LBP replaced Ableton Live and VDMX. I think I felt LBP had more potential as a sonic medium because an interface could be created from scratch. Eventually, the game’s plasticity and setting helped to underscore its audiovisual aspect by revealing different relationships between sound and image.

3. Would you describe your work as a musical practice or an audio-visual performance practice?

FL: We have always felt that in game space, it is more interesting to show the mechanism that makes the sound as well as the image. These aspects are programmed, of course, but we try to avoid things happening “magically,” and instead like to give our process some transparency. So, while it is often musical, sound and image are inextricably linked. And, in certain cases, the use of a musical score (including game controller mappings) has been important to how our performance unfolds either through improvisation or timed audiovisual events. The environment is the musical instrument, so using the game controller is like playing a piano and wielding a construction tool at the same time. It has also been important in some contexts to perform in ‘Create Mode’ in order to simply give the audience visual access to  LBP‘s programming backend. In this way, causal relationships between play and sound may be more firmly demonstrated.

4. There are many communities of practice that have adopted obsolete or contemporary technologies to create new, appropriative works and forms. Often, these communities recontextualize our/their relationships to technologies they employ. To what extent do you see you work in relation to communities of appropriation-based creative expression?

CB: In the 80s-90s I was an active “culture jammer,” making politically motivated sound montage works for radio and performance and even dabbling in billboard alterations. Our corporate targets were selling chemical weapons and funding foreign wars while our media targets were apologists for state-sanctioned murder. Appropriating their communications (sound bites, video clips, broadcasting, billboards) was an effort to use their own tools against them. In the case of video game publishers and console manufacturers, there is much to criticize: sexist tropes in game narratives, skewed geo-political subtexts, anti-competitive policies, and more. Despite these troubling themes, the publishers (usually encouraged by the game developers) have occasionally supported the “pro-sumer” by opening up their game environments to modding and other creative uses. This is a very positive shift from, say, the position of the RIAA or the MPAA, where derivative works are much more frequently shut down. My previous game-related series, This Spartan Life, was more suited to tackling these issues. As for foci + loci, it’s hard to position work that uses extensively developed in-game tools as being “appropriative,” but I do think using a game engine to explore situationist ideas or the ontology of game space, as we do in our work, is a somewhat radical stance on art. We hope that it encourages more players to creatively express their ideas in similar ways.

TY: Currently, the ‘us vs. them’ attitude that characterized the 80s and 90s is no longer as relevant as it once was because corporations are now giving artists technology for their own creative use. However, they undermine this sense of benevolence by claiming that consumers could be the next Picasso if they buy said piece of technology in their marketing—as if the tool is more important than the artist/artwork. Little Big Planet is marketed this way. On the whole, I think these issues complicate artists’ relationships with their media.

Often our work tends to be included in hacker community events, most recently the ‘Music Games Hackathon’ at Spotify (NYC), because, while we don’t necessarily hack the hardware or software, our approach is a conceptual hack or subversion. At this event, there were a variety of conceptual connections made between music, hacks and games; Double Dutch, John Zorn’s Game Pieces, Fluxus, Xenakis and Stockhausen were all compared to one another. I gave a talk at the Hackers on Planet Earth Conference in 2011 about John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Richard Stallman and the free software movement. In Stallman’s essay ‘On Hacking,’ he cited John Cage’s ‘4’33″‘ as an early example of a music hack. In my discussion, I pointed to Marcel Duchamp, a big influence on Cage, whose readymades were essentially hacked objects through their appropriation and re-contextualization. I think this conceptual approach informs foci + loci’s current work.

[Editors’ note: Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, This Spartan Life is a machinima talk show that takes place within the multiplayer game space of the First Person Shooter game Halo. This Spartan Life was created by Chris Burke in 2005. The show has featured luminaries including Malcolm McClaren, Peggy Awesh, and many more.]

8570574546_a047ca71f6_b5. You mention the ontological differences between game spaces and cinematic spaces. Can you clarify what you mean by this? Why is this such as important distinction and how does it drive the work?

CB: We feel that there is a fundamental difference in the way space is represented in cinema through montage and the way it’s simulated in a video game engine. To use Eisenstein’s terms, film shots are “cells” which collide to synthesize an image in the viewers mind. Montage builds the filmic space shot by shot. Video game space, being a simulation, is coded mathematically and so has a certain facticity. We like the way the mechanized navigation of this continuous space can create a real time composition. It’s what we call a “knowable” space.

6. Your practice is sound-based but relies heavily on the visual interface that you program in the gamespace. How do you view this relationship between the sonic and the visual in your work?

TY: LBP has more potential as a creative medium because it is audiovisual. The sound and image are inextricably linked in some cases, where one responds to the other. These aspects of interface function like the system of instruments we (or the game console) are driving. Since a camera movement can shape a sound within the space, the performance of an instrument can be codified to yield a certain effect. This goes back to our interest in the ontology of game space.

7. Sony (and other game developers) have been criticized for commodifying play as work – players produce and upload levels for free, and this free labour populates the Little Big Planet ecology. How would you position the way you use LBP in this power dynamic between player and IP owner?

CB: We are certainly more on the side of the makers than the publishers, but personally I think the “precarious labor” argument is a stretch with regard to LBP. Are jobs being replaced (International Labor Rights definition of precarious work)? Has a single modder or machinima maker suggested they should be compensated by the game developer or publisher for their work? Compensation actually does happen occasionally. This Spartan Life was, for a short time, employed by Microsoft to make episodes of the show for the developer’s Halo Waypoint portal. I have known a number of creators from the machinima community who were hired by Bioware, Blizzard, Bungie, 343 Industries and other developers. Then there’s the famous example of Minh Le and Jess Cliffe, who were hired by Valve to finish their Half-Life mod, Counterstrike. However, compensating every modder and level maker would clearly not be a supportable model for developers or publishers.

Having said all that, I think our work does not exactly fit into Sony’s idea of what LBP users should be creating. We are resisting, in a sense, by providing a more art historical example of what gamers can do with this engine beyond making endless game remakes, side-scrollers and other overrepresented forms. We want players to open our levels and say “WTF is this? How do I play it?” Then we want them to go into create mode and author LBP levels that contain more of their own unique perspectives and less of the game.

[Corset Lore is Tamara Yadao’s chiptune project.]

8. What does it mean to improvise with new interfaces? Has anything ever gone horribly wrong during a moment of improvisation? Is there a tension between improvisation and culture jamming, or do the two fit naturally together?

CB: It’s clear that improvising with new interfaces is freer and sometimes this means our works in progress lack context and have to be honed to speak more clearly. This freedom encourages a spontaneous reaction to the systems we build that often provokes the exploitation of weaknesses and failure. Working within a paradigm of exploitation seems appropriate to us, considering our chosen medium. In play, there is always the possibility of failure, or in a sense, losing to the console. When we design interfaces within console and game parameters we build in fail-safes while also embracing mechanisms that encourage failure during our performance/play.

In an elemental way, culture jamming is a more targeted approach, whereas improvisation seems to operate with a looser agenda. Improvisation is already a critical approach to the structures of game narrative. Improvising with a video game opens up the definition of what a game space is, or can be.

T&C Pompidou1

All images used with permission by foci + loci.

foci + loci are Chris Burke and Tamara Yadao.

Chris Burke came to his interest in game art via his work as a composer, sound designer and filmmaker. As a sound designer and composer he has worked with, among others, William Pope L., Jeremy Blake, Don Was, Tom Morello and Björk. In 2005 he created This Spartan Life which transformed the video game Halo into a talk show. Within the virtual space of the game, he has interviewed McKenzie Wark, Katie Salen, Malcolm McLaren, the rock band OK Go and others. This and other work in game art began his interest in the unique treatment of space and time in video games. In 2012, he contributed the essay “Beyond Bullet Time” to the “Understanding Machinima” compendium (2013, Continuum).

Tamara Yadao is an interdisciplinary artist and composer who works with gaming technology, movement, sound, and video. In Fall 2009, at Diapason Gallery, she presented a lecture on “the glitch” called “Post-Digital Music: The Expansion of Artifacts in Microsound and the Aesthetics of Failure in Improvisation.” Current explorations include electro-acoustic composition in virtual space, 8-bit sound in antiquated game technologies (under the moniker Corset Lore), movement and radio transmission as a live performance tool and the spoken word. Her work has been performed and exhibited in Europe and North America, and in 2014, Tamara was the recipient of a commissioning grant by the Jerome Fund for New Music through the American Composers Forum.

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Improvisation and Play in New Media, Games, and Experimental Sound Practices — Skot Deeming and Martin Zeilinger

Sounding Out! Podcast #41: Sound Art as Public Art — Salomé Voegelin

Sounding Boards and Sonic Styles — Josh Ottum

Improvisation and Play in New Media, Games and Experimental Sound Practices

Sound-Improv-New-Media-Art

Editors’ Note: Welcome to Sounding Out!‘s December forum entitled “Sound, Improvisation and New Media Art.” This series explores the nature of improvisation and its relationship to appropriative play cultures within new media art and contemporary sound practice. This series will engage directly with practitioners, who either deploy or facilitate play and improvisation through their work in sonic new media cultures.

The first essay in this series draws from a constellation of disciplinary perspectives that investigate these critical valences, and posits both play and improvisation as critical interventions which can expose, critique and interrupt the proprietary techniques and strategies of contemporary consumer media technologies.

— Guest Editors Skot Deeming and Martin Zeilinger

As media art scholars and curators of the annual Vector Game Art & New Media Festival, we are particularly interested in the conceptual convergence between critical approaches to play, on the one hand, and to improvisation, on the other. In this short essay, we therefore ask how improvisational sound-based media practices that use technologies, aesthetics, artifacts, and expressive modes of play may challenge the assimilative advances of corporate capital, carving out sites at which its logic may be opposed and confounded. We contend that there is a critical edge to the cultural milieu of playful computation through which practitioners (whether as artists or simply as players) can recuperate play from the mainstreamed sound cultures of digital capital through improvisation-based approaches. It is in this regard that play, as a participative act, rather than an interactive mode, can become a critical site by which to understand artistic interventions through contemporary technologies. This essay provokes a dialogue between theoretical avenues in popular music studies and game studies in order to show how the often-conflated practices of improvisation and play have the potential to challenge the homogenous and repetitive logic of the technological sector and the music industry.

vector2014algorave

An algorave at Vector Game Art & New Media Festival.

We must turn first to popular music studies where the critical valence of improvisation is a relatively well-established concept. Jazz improvisation in particular has been widely recognized as a powerful mode of political expression. Charles Hersch has argued that techniques of polyphony allow for jazz to reconcile the seemingly contradictory dynamics of individual expression and collectivity, thus allowing for the articulation of black solidarity through musical interventions (97-8). Because jazz is importantly built on appropriation-based creative models, it yields fluid, fleeting, spontaneous results that are difficult to assimilate into the entertainment industry’s property-based circuits. Digital play exhibits a similar potential of challenging the logic of capital; it harbors a powerful creative potential even in heavily commodified contexts. Play allows us (indeed, requires us) to become active in shaping the improvisational, the field of simultaneously critical, creative and performative contexts of expression.

 

IMG_0692

Crowds enjoying Vector Game Art & New Media Festival.

Like jazz musicians, game players embody and enact a powerful sense of potentially uncommodifiable agency. Both improvisation and play function similarly, and highlight how contexts of music-making and game-playing activate individuals as critical, expressive agents. Players guide themselves through games based on subjective, rather than imposed, motivations. We can see this emerging in gaming cultures through the rise of player-based phenomena such ‘speedrunning,’ a practice that exploits glitches and faults in a game’s architecture in order to reach the end of a game in the shortest possible time. These niche and ephemeral gaming practices highlight the degree to which practices of improvisation in play may constitute a powerful way of pushing ‘through’ capital–both literally, by accessing games through glitches in their proprietary fabric, and figuratively, if we understand such forms of play as ways to resist the capitalist ideologies embedded within the structures of games (such as the accumulation of wealth, power, or points). Having established here how game-play can act as a form of critical improvisation, this essay now intends to show how these practices of playful improvisation are manifest in the technologies, aesthetics, and the cultural contexts of sound-based art.

glitchjam_circuit bending

Circuit bending Vector Game Art & New Media Festival’s glitch.jam.

Where can we locate practices of improvisation in the context of sound art? For us, sound art is improvisational both in form and practice. First, the emerging aesthetic dimensions of the medium are fundamentally related to the participatory practices of making that have been used to develop the instruments of sound art, such as circuit bending, hacking, tinkering. Here, the playful and open-ended practices of making are a form of improvisation, a modulation within the typical technological frames in which musical composition is typically embedded. Second, when gaming devices are turned into musical instruments (or vice versa), users are called upon to rethink improvisational practice as game-play, and experiment with deploying play as composition. In this sense, game players become sound artists, with sound technologies extrapolating and improvising new sounds from the habit of their play. Improvisation and play thus allow emerging communities of practice to counteract the corporate ‘black boxing’ of entertainment technologies and the creation of closed systems of interaction and participation (such as many mainstream video games) which assimilate user activities and foreclose improvisational play.

Such approaches to sound art are represented by many creative practitioners and take a wide variety of forms, including the appropriation and creative redeployment of participative game environments and game engines. Examples include the creation of interactive sound environments and playable instruments within mainstream participative game ecologies such as the Little Big Planet franchise, the hacking and ‘bending’ of proprietary technologies that invoke the vast universe of game culture nostalgically or in a parodic mode (including handheld gaming systems such as the Nintendo Gameboy, which spawned an entire electronic music genre known as chipmusic), or the making of non-proprietary infrastructures for creative expression that encourage open, participative play, such as open source live coding environments including Sonic Pi, originally developed for the Raspberry Pi platform. Following such approaches, game controllers, digital objects, avatars, virtual architectures, and digital artifacts can thus become tools of composition and/or improvisation. Similarly, we might also think of the improvisational frameworks constructed by sound practitioners as ‘playgrounds,’ which allow players to become performers who explore the technological, political, and aesthetic limits of play. But emergent communities of creative practitioners frequently adopt such close systems and technologies subversively, for example by reverse-engineering them and developing alternative uses. In doing so, they alter the contexts in which these technologies are employed, and open them up for use as musical instruments and infrastructure for creative and critical expression. Technological artifacts with unique user communities can thus be conceptualized as frameworks for musical expression. Vintage gaming consoles, games engines, and computational algorithms have all been reconstructed as new forms of musical creation and interaction through participatory creative communities.

 

thesis_sahib_chiptune

Thesis Sahib performs at Vector Game Art & New Media Festival.

In this short essay, we have approached ‘play’ and ‘improvisation’ as related concepts that can serve to recuperate and empower critical perspectives within the game and sound cultures of capital. As we have suggested, playful approaches to improvisational sound-work and perspectives on play that are rooted in musical traditions can be productively discussed both in sound studies contexts and within game studies paradigms. How, then, do sound practitioners appropriate game technology? How do the socio-political dimensions of digital game culture inform musical practice? With the help of our contributors to this series, we explore how critical perspectives on musical improvisation aid our understanding of the cultural and socio-political significance of play and, likewise, how critical theories of play may broaden our understanding of improvisational sound practices. Through building, tinkering, problem solving, and improvising on the technological back end, creative practitioners playfully create and reshape tools, devices, and techniques of improvisational practice that often embody important ethics of openness, dynamism, fluidity, and sharing, posited against the closed culture of proprietary consumer technology by which we are commonly surrounded. Between live coding, modular synthesis, creative computing, hardware hacking, and appropriation-based interactive performances, the contributors to this series operate in many creative modes that oscillate between improvisation and play. What all of them share is a sense that both play and improvisation enable creative expression outside of prescribed, commodified circuits of media consumption. Improvisation and play can yield wonderful aesthetic experiments and experiences, they can provide critical, social commentary, and they can sharpen our sense of the impact that proprietary technology has on our digital cultural landscape. What we are most interested in are moments when these ambitions converge, when improvisation – drawing on techniques or technologies of play and operating in modes that are associated with play – becomes critical.

All images used with permission from Vector Game Art & New Media Festival.

Featured image: ”Blip Fest 2011 @ Eyebeam, Day 2” by Wikimedia Commons user Lucius Kwok CC BY-SA.

Skot Deeming is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and scholar, whose work spans the spectrum of new media art practice from broadcast media to computational art, experimental videogames, and game art. Drawing on a wealth of practical experience and theoretical knowledge, skot’s practice focuses on new media history and historiography, and DIY technology cultures. This work articulates itself through critical research and writing, exhibitions, installations, and performances. With Martin, Skot is the co-curator of Vector Game Art & New Media Festival., in Toronto, Canada, and the artistic director of the Drone Island Sound Art Festival in Yellowknife, NT. He currently resides in Montreal where he is a doctoral student in the Individualized Program at Concordia University, and a member of the TAG Research Centre, where he investigates critical histories of computational and new media art practices. http://www.mrghosty.com/

Martin Zeilinger (PhD) is a new media researcher, practitioner, and curator whose work focuses on the intersection of digital media art, activism, and intellectual property issues. He is a Lecturer in Media at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge/UK, as well as an Associate Researcher at the OCADU Data Materialization Studio. He is co-editor of ‘Dynamic Fair Dealing’ (Univ. of Toronto Press 2014), which develops interdisciplinary perspectives on cultural ownership issues in new media contexts; recent peer-reviewed essays have appeared in the Computer Music Journal, the International Assoc. for the Study of Popular Music Journal, and in Sampling Media (Oxford UP 2014). With Skot, Martin is co-curator of the Toronto-based Vector Game Art & New Media Festival. http://marjz.net/

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Playing with Bits, Pieces, and Lightning Bolts: An Interview with Sound Artist Andrea Perkins — Maile Colbert

Digital Analogies: Techniques of Sonic Play — Roger Mosley

Experiments in Aural Resistance: Nordic Role-Playing, Community, and Sound — Aaron Trammell

The Sonic Roots of Surveillance Society: Intimacy, Mobility, and Radio

Sound and Surveilance4

It’s an all too familiar movie trope. A bug hidden in a flower jar. A figure in shadows crouched listening at a door. The tape recording that no one knew existed, revealed at the most decisive of moments. Even the abrupt disconnection of a phone call manages to arouse the suspicion that we are never as alone as we may think. And although surveillance derives its meaning the latin “vigilare” (to watch) and French “sur-“ (over), its deep connotations of listening have all but obliterated that distinction.

Rounding out our series on surveillance, Kathleen Battles offers a historical perspective that shows how early twentieth century crime drama naturalized practices of citizen surveillance. A million eyes were activated as millions of listeners learned that the immediacy of radio and telephone allowed for an unprecedented level of participation in law enforcement. Calling all cars…Calling all cars… -AT

Police Headquarters, a 1932 radio crime drama, was produced in the infancy of narrative radio. Containing barely 12 minutes of narrative content, the program opened each episode with a repeating segment of call, connection, and dispatch to quickly establish both the crime committed and how the police responded to it. For example, in the “Payroll Robbery” episode it takes just over a minute and a half to hear a phone call to the titular headquarters, its connection to the proper unit, a radio call to a specific police car, and the responding officers arriving at the assigned location. Compared with the graphically and visually intense images of modern surveillance in contemporary popular culture, this brief exchange no doubt sounds quaint, simplistic, and even banal. After all, radios, cars, and telephones have served as the routine backdrop of most police dramas for some 70 years. But in 1932 the interlinking of these technologies was factually, as well as imaginatively, novel. This essay shows how radio, as “new media,” was central to imagining surveillance in sonic terms, prefiguring many features of contemporary surveillance practices.

"Kindergarden of the Air," by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation CC BY-NC-ND.

“Kindergarden of the Air,” by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation CC BY-NC-ND.

The introduction of radio and cars into police work took place in the first decades of the twentieth century, especially during the years between the two world wars that Richard Popp (2011) calls “the machine age”. He argues that this period witnessed vast transformations brought on by cars and radios, which, when combined with existing technologies like the telephone, forged new communication networks that transformed both work and leisure. These changes were central to the narratives of criminality and policing that emerged during the interwar years. Police were the focus of radio dramas, including Police Headquarters and Calling All Cars. These dramas played with the intermingling of automobility, telephony, and radio in ways that spoke to the main problems police forces saw themselves facing: organized, professional, mobile, machine-age criminals. Cars, telephones, and automobiles were not just tools to criminals, but they were also the building blocks for a machine age surveillance made possible by the sonic power of radio.

Recently, Robin James (2014) has suggested that the acousmatic is a useful metaphor for understanding the emerging practices of data based surveillance. Acousmatic surveillance listens for patterns in “ambient data environments” instead of profiling individuals in the panoptic sense. At the turn of the twentieth century, radio allowed for a panacoustic mastery of spaces that bridged both panoptic and acousmatic surveillance. Radio also speaks to another key feature of information age surveillance, what Mark Andrejevic (2011) describes as the “redoubling of tools for communication and leisure as technologies for surveillance and security.” (165-66) The technical capabilities and imaginative potentials of radio help us to consider it both as a police technology and entertainment medium. The sonic power of radio was often figured as an “Invisible Man Hunter,” whose realignment of spatial and temporal arrangements rendered criminal escape impossible. As an entertainment medium, radio’s aurality was key to understanding its imaginative potential as highly intimate and mobile: invasive and expansive.

In Police Headquarters we hear how radio’s sonic and aural qualities come together. Radio acts as the link between the telephone and car, allowing for a swift response to a citizen request. The tactical use of sound effects and narrative compression in the broadcast situate the listener inside a machine like apparatus that presents the police as always available. At their broadest level, radio crime dramas aurally situate communication and transportation technologies, like radio, as key to both the narrative organization of the story and as a plot element. In the opening to the “Stop That Car” episode of Calling All Cars, a dispatcher advises for cars to be on the lookout for a specific car involved in a hit and run, including the address of the crime and possible location of the vehicle. Overlaid with sound effects made to signify a car, these openings situate listeners as riders eavesdropping on the adventures of mobile police officers. As the program’s title suggests, each episode opened with a police radio call, often voiced by real life LAPD dispatcher, Jessie Rosenquist. The program’s sponsor was the gasoline company that supplied the fuel for LAPD patrol cars – further linking cars and radio as a key theme. In the opening to the “Two Man Crime Wave Episode,” the very ad for the product is performed as a police radio call.

The conceit of eavesdropping on a police adventure did much to link private life and the police. This theme runs tandem to radio’s sonic immediacy, which allowed listeners to imagine a seemingly instantaneous response to citizen phone calls.. For example, the “July 4th in a Radio Car” episode of Calling All Cars situates radio listeners as sonic participants, able to ride along with police from the comfort of their own living rooms. Here, cars respond to a number of calls made by private citizens that bring the policing function into daily life. There is even one call that involves domestic violence, in particular. Throughout the episode, police are situated as an available force – thanks to the telephone, radio, and automobile – to adjudicate all manner of private disputes. In these particular instances the intimacy of radio as a machine age technology is “redoubled” with radio as a police technology. Radio’s intimate address allowed the voices of police officers to enter the private space of the home. At the same time, the machinery of crime fighting required citizen participation, most often figured through the phone call from within the space of the home to the police.

"Radio Police Automation 1924," by Robert Wade, CC BY-NC-SA.

“Radio Police Automation 1924,” by Robert Wade, CC BY-NC-SA.

If the intimacy of radio served to cross the divide between public and private, the spatial-temporal collapse achieved by radio made it ideal for sonically monitoring great swaths of space. Intimately linked with cars, radio was understood as especially mobile. Radio’s ability to compress the relationship between space and time is frequently dramatized. For example, in the “Crime vs. Time” episode of Calling All Cars, the host explains how radio has rendered the average response time to a police call for help only two minutes and forty seconds. The episode then proceeds to show how radio was used by the police to track and apprehend two men who robbed a movie theater. Representing phone and radio calls, while specifically referencing geographic locations, radio dramatists used radio’s aural dimensions to render radio’s sonic power of surveillance. Capable of reaching everywhere, police radio, when linked with the telephone and automobile, could be used to sonically pinpoint any somewhere that a criminal might try to escape to.

In our era of high-tech and sophisticated technologies, visually rich narratives, and algorithmically driven methods of tracking, there is certainly something simple, comforting, and even nostalgic in these tales of low-tech machine age criminal apprehension. Depression era true crime dramas certainly do not offer the kind of sophistication as information age narratives, such as The Wire. The medium’s sonic qualities were key to linking together its use as both a police instrument and as a domestic entertainment technology. With sonic forces invisibly and silently crossing the into intimate domestic spaces and covering large swaths of territory, radio became key to imagining many features that we take for granted as “new” about the information age: the control of movement across space, the constant availability of communicative connection, the promise of perfect coordination across a field of institutional actors, the marshaling of citizen participation in surveillance efforts, and the construction of increasingly intimate links between domestic life and law enforcement procedures. In serving as central node in refiguring shifting notions of space and time that existing institutions were not prepared to handle, radio’s sonic qualities remapped the meaning of police work and helped to establish a relationship between the police and citizen body that still resonates today. While not as technologically sophisticated, machine age policing and police narratives took advantage of radio’s double function as both a machine of coordination and medium of entertainment to extend the policing function into more areas of life. This reflects a sonic mode of power that allows neither the interior space of the home nor the exterior world of the road relief from police presence. This moment of technological interconnection, however, evoked the excitement and anxiety that made sonic surveillance at once thrilling and calming; a salve to soothe the woes of a world that now seemed intensely close and impossibly far flung. Is it any wonder that while some fret over the power of corporate and state dataveillance today, that some continue to find comfort in the possibility of being recognized as someone in a world of ever more intense interconnection?

Featured image “Radio for Backup” by Jonathan Flinchbaugh CC BY-NC-SA.

Kathleen Battles is Associate Professor and Graduate Director in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Oakland University. Her research focuses on radio history, especially as it relates to issues of policing, sound and surveillance, questions concerning technology and culture, and sexuality and the media. She is the author of Calling All Cars: Radio Dragnets and the Technology of Policing (University of Minnesota Press, 2010); co-editor (with Joy Hayes and Wendy Hilton-Morrow) of War of the Worlds to Social Media: Mediated Communication in Times of Crisis (Peter Lang, 2013); and co-author (with Wendy Hilton-Morrow) of Sexual Identities and the Media: An Introduction (Routledge, 2015). In addition, her work has appeared in Critical Studies in Media Communication, The Radio Journal, and the Journal of Homosexuality.

tape reelREWIND!…If you liked this post, check out:

Acousmatic Surveillance and Big Data-Robin James

The Dark Side of Game Audio: The Sounds of Mimetic Control and Affective ConditioningAaron Trammell

À qui la rue?: On Mégaphone and Montreal’s Noisy Public Sphere-Lilian Radovac


Sound at MLA 2014

Happy new year, dear Sounding Out! readers! Early January brings about New Year’s resolutions, specials on bins for holiday ornaments, Three Kings’ Day, and our yearly MLA sound studies panel round-up. This year, MLA 2014 attendees will get another blast of cold temperatures because this year’s convention is in Chicago—not much of a difference weather-wise from Boston but just as exciting! If you’re undecided about what panels to check out or if you’re not sure about where to start with the MLA Program, you’re in the right place: I combed the MLA Program page by page and condensed it just for our sound studies aficionados. If you’re sitting this MLA out or if you’re just curious about what the following panels are all about, it’s easy to follow the conference from home if you have access to Twitter. MLA is one of the most active academic conferences on social media: there’s the lively twitter hashtag #MLA14, the individual hashtags for each session (#s–followed by the session number), and an attentive twitter account (@MLAConvention), so even if you’re not in Chi-town you can still see what’s going on at your favorite panels this week.

Whereas last year some of the sound-oriented panels had a particular digital angle, this year there are several panels look at the intersection of sound and literary studies. The titles may not suggest sound, but the presentations do. For example, panel #s384 Literary Crossroads: African American Literature and Christianity includes presentations on representations of gospel and spirituality in different African American books. Another panel of interest is #s414, Literature and Media in the Nineteenth-Century United States arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature. (This panel resonates nicely with Sounding Out!’s Sound in the Nineteenth Century forum which just ended last Monday.) The focus on literature may come from the fact that the MLA brings many literary scholars together, but it is encouraging that the study of sound is also overlapping with the study of literature.

"Street Musicians, Chicago" by Flickr user Diana Schnuth, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Street Musicians, Chicago” by Flickr user Diana Schnuth, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Despite that the convention brings literature scholars from across the United States together, some of the more intriguing sound-oriented panels are not focused on literature at all. In fact, several panels address sound from the angle of music. Panel #s131, The Musics of Chicago brings together High Fidelity and Lupe Fiasco, and panel #s162 on the HBO series Girls includes Chloe H. Johnson’s paper “Dancing on My Own: Popular Music and Issues of Identity in Girls. Although the fields of literary studies and cultural studies are sometimes in tension with each other, some MLA presenters are approaching popular culture particularly from an aural angle.

Music is not the only presence of sound in the MLA Program. Several panels bring up sound in conjunction with pedagogy. Some of our readers may remember the forum Sounding Out! hosted last year on sound and pedagogy—a forum of which I was a part. I’m glad to see other language, composition, and literature teachers are thinking about sound too. Panel #s114, Dialects of English Worldwide: Issues in English Language Studies includes several papers that think about spoken English nowadays. For those who are interested in how the sound of students’ speech are intersected by structural racism and public policy will find lots to think about with this panel. If you’re looking for concrete suggestions on using sound as a pedagogical approach, panel #s213 has some answers. Twenty-First-Century Pedagogies, arranged by the Discussion Group on the Two-Year College includes a presentation on sound essays by Kathryn O’Donoghue from the Graduate Center at City Univ. of New York.

Where will Team SO! be at MLA 2014? Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman can be found at the DH Commons pre-conference workshop on Thursday, January 9, 2014; she will be presenting Friday, January 10 at 8:30 am on her research on Lead belly and Richard Wright as part of panel #s221, Singing Out in the American Literary Experience. Regular writer Regina Bradley will be presenting Friday at 5:15 pm on panel #s403 Words, Works, and New Archives: Studying African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century. Guest blogger Scott Poulson-Bryant will be at panel #s447, The Seventies in Black and White: A Soundtrack on Saturday at 8:30 am. I will be presenting on Friday morning at panel #s218, a roundtable on the graduate seminar paper and will be leading panel #s788, Back Up Your Work: Conceptualizing Writing Support for Graduate Students on Sunday at 1:45 pm. You can catch us on Twitter: @lianamsilvaford and @soundingoutblog where we’ll be live-tweeting panels and keeping followers up to date on convention chatter. Who knows, maybe there’ll be an impromptu SO! tweet-up? Stay tuned to our social media feeds!

Before I go, a shameless plug: As of this month I am the new editor of the newsletter Women in Higher Education, so if you want to meet up and talk about the newsletter please let me know!

Did I miss something? Maybe I somehow missed you or your panel in this round up? Please let me know either via email, via tweet, or post on the Sounding Out! Facebook page.


Liana Silva-Ford is co-founder and Managing Editor of Sounding Out!.

Featured image: “Mississippi North” by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Jump to THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014
Jump to FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014
Jump to SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014
Jump to SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014

"Television Sam (I'm Your Main Man)" by Flickr user the justified sinner, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

“Television Sam (I’m Your Main Man)” by Flickr user the justified sinner, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014

8:30 am-11:30 am 
3. Get Started in the Digital Humanities with Help from DHCommons

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Ryan Cordell, Northeastern Univ.; Josh Honn, Northwestern Univ.; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.

The workshop welcomes language and literature scholars who wish to learn about, pursue, or join digital humanities (DH) projects but do not have the institutional infrastructure to support them. Representatives of DH projects and initiatives will share their expertise on project design, outline available resources and opportunities, and lead small-group training sessions on DH technologies and skills. Preregistration required.

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

31. Radical Curators, Vulnerable Genres: Lost Histories of Collecting, Editing, Bibliography

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

PRESIDING: Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

SPEAKERS:

Jessica J. Beard, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz;

Alex Black, Cornell Univ.;

Jane Greenway Carr, New York Univ.;

Ellen Gruber Garvey, New Jersey City Univ.

Laura Helton, Univ. of Virginia

Courtney Thorsson, Univ. of Oregon

33. Sir Walter Scott and Music

Sheffield, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations

PRESIDING: Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

1. “Cutting Out the Castle Quicksand: Scott’s Bride, Donizetti’s Lucia, and the ‘Personally Furious’ Ayn Rand,” Shoshana Milgram Knapp, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

2. “‘Drifting through the Intellectual Atmosphere’ from Scott’s Old Morality to Liszt’s Hexameron,” Catherine Ludlow, Western Illinois Univ.

3. “Walter Scott, British Identity, and International Grand Opera: Isidore de Lara’s Amy Robsart(1893),” Tommaso Sabbatini, Univ. of Chicago

For abstracts, visit lyricasociety.org.

1:45-3:00 pm

75. Voice and Silence

Mississippi, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on French Medieval Language and Literature

PRESIDING: Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner, Boston Coll.

1. “Gut Feelings,” Jason D. Jacobs, Roger Williams Univ.

2. “Tomboy Silence,” Wan-Chuan Kao, Washington and Lee Univ.

3. “Giving Voice to the Word of God; or, Bernard of Clairvaux Sings the Song of Songs,” Kris Trujillo, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3:30-4:45

114. Dialects of English Worldwide: Issues in English Language Studies

Illinois, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Present-Day English Language 

PRESIDING: Elizabeth Bell Canon, Emory Univ.

1. “‘Speak the Language of Your Flag’: American Policy Responses to Nonanglophone Immigrants,” Dennis E. Baron, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

2. “The Sounds of Silence: Standard and Nonstandard Englishes in Contemporary Ethnic American Writing,” Melissa Dennihy, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

3. “Star Spanglish Banter: Harnessing Students’ Linguistic Expertise,” Jill Hallett, Northeastern Illinois Univ.

4. “Emerging Attitudes toward New Media within the Discourses of Poetics and Literature,” April Pierce, Univ. of Oxford

5:15-6:30

131. The Musics of Chicago

Chicago H, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Shawn Higgins, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

1. “Sweet Home Chicago? (Dis)Locating the American ‘Race Record’ in High Fidelity,” Jürgen E. Grandt, Univ. of North Georgia

2. “Experiment and Exodus in the Music of Chicago,” Toshiyuki Ohwada, Keio Univ.

3. “Fly Girls or Blackface? The Racial and Gender Politics of Lupe Fiasco,” Jorge Santos, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

141. Enduring Noise: Sound and Sexual Difference

Illinois, Chicago Marriott

PRESIDING: Rizvana Bradley, Emory Univ.

1. “Listening to Gertrude Stein’s Repeating: Sonorous Temporality in The Making of Americans,” Erin McNellis, Univ. of California, Irvine

2. “Queer Extensities: Pauline Oliveros and Disco,” Amalle Dublon, Duke Univ.

3. “Metal, Reproduction, and the Politics of Doom,” Aliza Shvarts, New York Univ.

RESPONDING: Rizvana Bradley

7:00-8:15 pm

162. Girls and the F Word: Twenty-First-Century Representations of Women’s Lives

Los Angeles–Miami, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Tahneer Oksman, Marymount Manhattan Coll.

1. “‘My Shoes Match My Dress . . . Kind Of!’: The Politics of Dressing and Nakedness in Girls,” Laura Scroggs, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

2. “She’s Just Not That into You: Girls, Dating, and Damage,” Jennifer Mitchell, Weber State Univ.

3. “Dancing on My Own: Popular Music and Issues of Identity in Girls,” Chloe H. Johnson, York Univ., Keele

RESPONDING: Nancy K. Miller, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

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"Untitled" by Flickr user d76, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Untitled” by Flickr user d76, CC-BY-NC-2.0

FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014

8:30 am-9:45 am

207. Diversifying the Victorian Verse Archives

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Meredith Martin, Princeton Univ.

1. “Recovering Tennyson’s ‘Melody in Poetry’: Salon Recitations and Musical Settings,” Phyllis Weliver, Saint Louis Univ.

2. “Morris Metrics: The Work of Meter in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Yopie Prins, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

3. “Digital Archives and the Music of Victorian Poetry,” Joanna Swafford, Univ. of Virginia

For abstracts, visit https://sites.google.com/a/slu.edu/diversifying-the-victorian-verse-archives/

213. Twenty-First-Century Pedagogies

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on the Two-Year College 

PRESIDING: Stacey Lee Donohue, Central Oregon Community Coll.

1. “Not on Wikipedia: Making the Local Visible,” Laurel Harris, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

2. “Survival Spanish Online: Designing a Community College Course That Bridges Culture and Authentic Connections,” Cecilia McGinniss Kennedy, Clark State Community Coll., OH

3. “Sound Essays: A Cure for the Common Core,” Kathryn O’Donoghue, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

4. “Leveling Up! Gamifying the Literature Classroom,” Jessica Lewis-Turner, Temple Univ., Philadelphia

For abstracts, visit commons.mla.org/groups/the-two-year-college/announcements/ after 15 Dec.

217. Cuba on Stage

Arkansas, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Cuban and Cuban Diaspora Cultural Production 

PRESIDING: Vicky Unruh, Univ. of Kansas

1. “José Triana, Virgilio Piñera, and the Racial Erotics of Cuban Tragedy,” Armando Garcia, Univ. of Pittsburgh

2. “Estorino’s Gray Ghosts,” David Lisenby, Univ. at Albany, State Univ. of New York

3. “Musical Trangressions on the Cuban Stage: Rap, Rock, and Reggaeton,” Elena Valdez, Swarthmore Coll.

4. “Locating the Malecón,” Bretton White, Colby Coll.

221. Singing Out in the American Literary Experience

Old Town, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Folklore and Literature 

PRESIDING: Mark Allan Jackson, Middle Tennessee State Univ.

1. “Re-sounding Folk Voice, Remaking the Ballad: Alan Lomax, Margaret Walker, and the New Criticism,” Derek Furr, Bard Coll.

2. “‘A Voice to Match All That’: Lead Belly, Richard Wright, and Lynching’s Sound Track,” Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York

3. “Stunting Gualinto: The Limits of Corrido Heroism in Americo Paredes’s George Washington Gomez,” Melanie Hernandez, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

For abstracts, write to majackso@mtsu.edu.

10:15-11:30

261. Applying Linguistics to the Learning of Middle Eastern Languages

Huron, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on General Linguistics 

PRESIDING: Terrence Potter, Georgetown Univ.

1. “How Strategic Can They Be? Differences between Student and Instructor Attitudes toward Language Learning Strategies,” Gregory Ebner, United States Military Acad.

2. “Needs-Analysis Informed Task Design in Arabic Foreign Language Programs in the United States: Insights from Learner Perceptions and Production,” Maimoonah Al Khalil, King Saud Univ., Riyadh

3. “Linguistic Advantages and Constraints in the Classroom: Judeo-Spanish as an L2,” Bryan Kirschen, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

For abstracts, write to tmp28@georgetown.edu.

263. John Clare: The Voices of Nature

Chicago C, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the John Clare Society of North America 

PRESIDING: Rochelle Johnson, Coll. of Idaho

1. “Speaking for the Trees: Margaret Cavendish, John Clare, and Voicing Nature,” Bridget Mary Keegan, Creighton Univ.

2. “Clare’s Air: Sound in Motion,” Paul Chirico, Univ. of Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Coll.

3. “John Clare: The Unusual and Challenging Natural Historian,” Eric H. Robinson, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

269A. Chicago Latina/o Writing: A Creative Conversation

Sheraton I, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Office of the Executive Director 

PRESIDING: Ariana Ruiz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

SPEAKERS: Rey Andújar, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe

Brenda Cárdenas, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Paul Martínez Pompa, Triton Coll.

Achy Obejas, Chicago, IL

270. Women’s Education in Third World Countries

Parlor G, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Culture and Society 

PRESIDING : Shirin E. Edwin, Sam Houston State Univ.

1. “Narrative Approaches to Transmitting Regional Oral and Instrumental Literary Traditions in the Works of Aminata Sow Fall,” Julie Ann Huntington, Marymount Manhattan Coll.

2. “Gender, Class, and Education: Intersections in South Asian Literature,” Maryse Jayasuriya, Univ. of Texas, El Paso

3. “Women’s Schooling in Clarice Lispector’s Narrative: A Brazilian Education,” Alejandro E. Latinez, Sam Houston State Univ.

279. Dadaphone: Indeterminacy in Words and Music

Huron, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations and the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism 

PRESIDING : Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

1. “Black Dada,” Kathy Lou Schultz, Univ. of Memphis

2. “Aleatory Adaptation and Indeterminate Interpretation: Radiohead’s In Rainbows as Faustian Rock Opera,” Meg Tarquinio Roche, Northeastern Univ.

3. “Game Changer: Cage’s Word-Music Combination in ‘Renunion’ and ‘Solo 23,'” Sydney Boyd, Rice Univ.

4. “Graphic Notation in Contemporary Music and Its Debt to Dada,” Laura Prichard, Univ. of Massachusetts, Lowell

For abstracts, visit lyricasociety.org.

5:15 pm-6:30 pm

384. Literary Crossroads: African American Literature and Christianity

Addison, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Conference on Christianity and Literature and the Division on Literature and Religion 

PRESIDING: Katherine Clay Bassard, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

1. “God’s Trombones, the Social Gospel, and the Harlem Renaissance,” Jonathan Fedors, Univ. of Pennsylvania

2. “When the Gospel Sings the Blues in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,” Claudia Rosemary May, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3. “Faith Moves: Belief and the Body in Bill T. Jones’s Chapel/Chapter and Toni Morrison’sParadise,” Leslie Elizabeth Wingard, Coll. of Wooster

For abstracts, write to kcbassar@vcu.edu.

403. Words, Works, and New Archives: Studying African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the College Language Association 

PRESIDING : Warren Carson, Univ. of South Carolina, Spartanburg

1. “The Field and Function of African American Literary Scholarship: A Memorial and a Challenge,” Dana A. Williams, Howard Univ.

2. “The Black Book: Creating an Interactive Research Environment,” Kenton Rambsy, Univ. of Kansas

3. “Keepin’ It Interactive: Hip-Hop in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” Regina Bradley, Kennesaw State Univ.; Jeremy Dean, Rap Genius, Inc.

414. Literature and Media in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature 

PRESIDING : Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

SPEAKERS: Jonathan Elmer, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

Teresa Alice Goddu, Vanderbilt Univ.

Naomi Greyser, Univ. of Iowa

Brian Hochman, Georgetown Univ.

Christopher J. Lukasik, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette

Lauren A. Neefe, Stony Brook Univ., State Univ. of New York

For project statements, panelist biographies, and description of roundtable format, visit19thcamlitdiv.wordpress.com after 1 Dec.

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"Cubs Stomp" by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Cubs Stomp” by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014

8:30 am-9:45 am

441. Socialist Senses

Ohio, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Slavic Literatures and Cultures 

PRESIDING : Nancy Condee, Univ. of Pittsburgh

1. “The Materiality of Sound: Esfir Shub’s Haptic Cinema,” Lilya Kaganovsky, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

2. “From the Cinema of Attractions to the Cinema of Affect in Early Socialist Realism,” R. J. D. Bird, Univ. of Chicago

3. “Ineluctable Modality of the Visible: Gorky’s Return and the Onset of Clarity,” Petre M. Petrov, Princeton Univ.

For abstracts, visit mlaslavic.blogspot.com/ after 30 Dec.

447. The Seventies in Black and White: A Soundtrack

Purdue-Wisconsin, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Jack Hamilton, Harvard Univ.

1. “Mutts of the Planet: Joni Mitchell Channels Charles Mingus,” David Yaffe, Syracuse Univ.

2. “Righteous Minstrels: Race, Writing, and the Clash,” Jack Hamilton

3. “Broken Masculinities: Black Sound, White Men, and New York City,” Scott Poulson-Bryant, Harvard Univ.

10:15 am-11:30 am

474. African American Voices from the Civil War

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Timothy Sweet, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown

1. “The Color of Quaintness: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Black Song, and American Union,”Jeremy Wells, Indiana Univ. Southeast

2. “‘If We Ever Expect to Be a Pepple’: The Literary Culture of African American Soldiers,” Christopher A. Hager, Trinity Coll., CT

3. “‘And Terrors Broke from Hill to Hill’: The Civil War Poems of George Moses Horton,” Faith Barrett, Duquesne Univ.

4. “The Negro in the American Rebellion: William Wells Brown and the Design of African American History,” John Ernest, Univ. of Delaware, Newark

485. Digital Practice: Social Networks across Borders

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Twentieth-Century German Literature 

PRESIDING : Stefanie Harris, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

1. “Kafka and the Kafkaesques: Close Reading Online Fan Fiction,” Bonnie Ruberg, Univ. of California, Berkeley

2. “Network Politics, Wireless Protocols, and Public Space,” Erik Born, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3. “Intersections of Music, Politics, and Digital Media: Bandista,” Ela Gezen, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

Responding: Yasemin Yildiz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

For abstracts, visit german.berkeley.edu/transit.

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

508. Performing Blackness in the Nineteenth Century

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature 

PRESIDING : Harvey Young, Northwestern Univ.

1. “Being Touched: Sojourner Truth’s ‘Spiritual Theatre’ and the Genealogy of Radical Black Activism,” Jayna Brown, Univ. of California, Riverside

2. “Frederick Douglass and the ‘Claims’ of Democratic Individuality in Antebellum Political Theory,” Douglas Jones, Princeton Univ.

3. “’Dey Make Me Say Dat All De Time: Performance Art, Objecthood, and Joice Heth’s Sonic of Dissent,” Uri McMillan, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

509. Becoming Chroniclers: Latin American Women Writers and the Press, 1920–73

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago 

PRESIDING : Vicky Unruh, Univ. of Kansas

1. “The Opportunities of Technology: Cube Bonifant’s Radiophonic Chronicles in El universal ilustrado,” Viviane A. Mahieux, Univ. of California, Irvine

2. “Key Moments in the Subversion of a Genre: Alfonsina Storni and Clarice Lispector Redefine Womanhood,” Mariela Méndez, Univ. of Richmond

3. “Issues of Gender and Genre: Isabel Allende and Clarice Lispector Writing Chronicles, 1968–73,” Claudia Mariana Darrigrandi, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

1:45 pm-3:00pm

572. Illness and Disability Memoir as Embodied Knowledge

Los Angeles–Miami, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession 

PRESIDING : Rachel Adams, Columbia Univ.

1. “Recoding Silence: Teresa de Cartagena, Medieval Sign Lexicons, and Deaf Life Writing,” Jonathan H. Hsy, George Washington Univ.

2. “‘Twisted and Deformed’: Virginia Woolf, Alison Bechdel, and Crip-Feminist Autobiography,” Cynthia Barounis, Washington Univ. in St. Louis

3. “‘My Worry Now Accumulates’: Sensorial and Emotional Contagion in Autistic Life Writing,” Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell Coll.

For papers or abstracts, write to rea15@columbia.edu after 1 Jan.

3:30 pm-4:45 pm

586. Early Modern Media Ecologies

Great America, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Jen Boyle, Coastal Carolina Univ.

1. “Needlework Networks: Paper, Prints, and Female Authorship,” Whitney Trettien, Duke Univ.

2. “Sidney Circularities: Music and Script in the Contrafactum Lyric,” Scott A. Trudell, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

3. “Stage, Stall, Street, Sheet: Multimedia Shakespeare,” Adam G. Hooks, Univ. of Iowa

For abstracts, visit www.scotttrudell.com.

591. Multilingualism in Native American and Aboriginal Texts

Kane, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on American Indian Literatures 

PRESIDING : Beth H. Piatote, Univ. of California, Berkeley

1. “Reading Resistance and Resisting Readings in a Bilingual Text,” Laura J. Beard, Univ. of Alberta

2. “Narrative and Orthography in Cree Oral Histories,” Stephanie J. Fitzgerald, Univ. of Kansas

3. “Ongwe Onwe Languages in the Fourth Epoch of Iroquois History,” Penelope M. Kelsey, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

4. “Poetics of ka ‘āina and na ‘ōiwi: Language(s) of Land, Earth, and the Hawaiian People in Haunani-Kay Trask’s Night Is a Sharkskin Drum,” Nicole Tabor, Moravian Coll.

5:15 pm-6:30 pm

624. Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy in Medieval and Early Modern England: Form and History

Old Town, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Ian Cornelius, Yale Univ.

1. “Singing and Speaking Boethius in Anglo-Saxon England,” Anne Schindel, Yale Univ.

2. “Sensible Prose and the Sense of Meter: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Boethius and After,” Eleanor Johnson, Columbia Univ.

3. “Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and an Expansive Theology in the Late Sixteenth Century: Queen Elizabeth’s Translation in Context,” Linda Suzanne Shenk, Iowa State Univ.

For abstracts, write to ian.cornelius@yale.edu.

625. Verbal and Visual Satire in the Nineteenth Century

Chicago F, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Joseph Litvak, Tufts Univ.

1. “Organizing Anarchy: Class, Intellectual Property, and Graphic Satire,” Jason Kolkey, Loyola Univ., Chicago

2. “The Reemergence of Radical Satire in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Frank A. Palmeri, Univ. of Miami

3. “Turn-of-the-Century Satirical Plots of Fenian and Anarchist Terrorism,” Jennifer Malia, Norfolk State Univ

645. Current Issues in Romance Linguistics

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comparative Romance Linguistics 

PRESIDING : Andrea Perez Mukdsi, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

1. “Attribution in Romance: Reconstructing the Oral and Written Tradition,” Martin Hummel, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

2. “Pronouns and the Author-Reader Relationship in Academic Portuguese,” Karina Veronica Molsing, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul; Cristina Perna, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul

3. “The Semantic Feature [+INFLUENCE] and the Spanish Subjunctive,” M. Emma Ticio Quesada, Syracuse Univ.

4. “Palatalization in Chilean Spanish and Proto-romance,” Carolina Gonzalez, Florida State Univ.

For abstracts, write to perezmukdsi@gmail.com.

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"Mayb Your New Year Be Merry and Bright..." by Flickr user Jason Mrachina, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

“Mayb Your New Year Be Merry and Bright…” by Flickr user Jason Mrachina, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

742. Socialist Culture in the Age of Disco: East European Popular Pleasures

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages 

PRESIDING: Jessie M. Labov, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

1. “Imperial Disco: Czeslaw Milosz and Science Fiction,” Mikolaj Golubiewski, Free Univ.

2. “The ‘Movement of Writing Workers’ and State Stability in the 1970s German Democratic Republic,” William Waltz, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

3. “Flaming Socialist Creatures: Hippies as Auteurs in Soviet Latvia,” Mark Svede, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

For abstracts, visit mlaslavic.blogspot.com/.

744. Mass versus Coterie: The Audiobook

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Prose Fiction 

PRESIDING : Rebecca L. Walkowitz, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

1. “‘Fully Fleshed Out and Filled with Emotion’: Accent, Region, and Identification in the Reception of The Help,” Sydney Bufkin, Univ. of Texas, Austin

2. “Joyce, LibriVox, and the Recording Coterie,” Brandon Walsh, Univ. of Virginia

3. “Alien Stereo: China Mieville’s Embassytown,” Christopher Pizzino, Univ. of Georgia

1:45 pm-3:00 pm

788. Back Up Your Work: Conceptualizing Writing Support for Graduate Students

Grace, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Liana Silva-Ford, Houston, TX

SPEAKERS:

Tara Betts, Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York;

Lee Ann Glowzenski, Duquesne Univ.;

Annemarie Pérez, Loyola Marymount Univ.

Abigail Scheg, Elizabeth City State Univ.

792. Old Materials, New Materialisms

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Methods of Literary Research

1. “Objects, Authors, and Other Matter(s) in the Gloria Anzaldúa Archive,” Suzanne M. Bost, Loyola Univ., Chicago

2. “Writing Histories of Listening: Acoustemology as Literary Practice,” Ely Rosenblum, Univ. of Cambridge

3. “Even the Stones Cry Out: Archival Research and the Inhuman Turn,” Andrew Ferguson, Univ. of Virginia

4. “A Life of Its Own: A Vital Materialist Look at the Medieval Manuscript as an Agentic Assemblage,” Angela Bennett Segler, New York Univ.

"my kind of razzmatazz" by Flickr user David D'Agostino, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

“my kind of razzmatazz” by Flickr user David D’Agostino, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

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