11/16 MITH Digital Dialogue: Tara Rodgers, Representing Lively Bodies in Sound: Legacies of Analog Signification in Digital Audio

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A MITH Digital Dialogue
Tuesday, November 16, 12:30-1:45
MITH Conference Room, McKeldin Library B0135

How did it become commonplace for creative practitioners and engineers in contemporary audio cultures to think of sounds as individual entities, with distinct aesthetic properties that can be technologically controlled? This talk will address this metaphor of electronic sounds as individuals, which is such a familiar concept in epistemologies of digital audio that it has escaped critical attention. This metaphor took shape over the nineteenth century in tandem with the development of graphical methods that represented diverse phenomena in a common language of waveforms. Notions of sonic individuation and variability also emerged in the contexts of Darwinian thought, and a cultural fascination with electricity as a kind of animating force. Tara Rodgers argues that practices of classifying individual sounds by aesthetic variations are deeply entwined with epistemologies of gender and racial difference in Western philosophy and modern science, and that these legacies persist in contemporary representations of digital audio. This talk will also introduce some of her recent sound and music projects that complement this research by engaging metaphor as a creative tool.

TARA RODGERS is a composer and feminist historian of audio technologies. She is completing her PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University and has an MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College. Her research combines methods from ethnomusicology and popular music studies, media studies, and feminist science and technology studies. She has served as a guest editor and curator for Leonardo Music Journal (MIT Press, 2006, 2010), and recently published Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound (Duke UP, 2010), a collection of 24 interviews with women who are DJs, electronic musicians, and sound artists. She performed jazz piano for several years in New York City, has released numerous recordings of electronic music (as Analog Tara), and exhibited sound art at venues including Eyebeam (NYC) and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto). Her work has received such honors as a New Genre Composition Prize from the International Alliance of Women in Music (2007), a Canada-U.S. Fulbright scholarship (2006-07), and a Best Music Web Site nomination at the Webby Awards (2003). She currently teaches in the Women’s Studies department at the University of Maryland.


View MITH’s complete Fall Speakers Schedule here:


All talks free and open to the public!

Contact: Neil Fraistat, Director, MITH (http://mith.umd.edu, mith@umd.edu, 5-8927).

By | 2010-11-10T10:04:24+00:00 Wed, Nov 10, 2010|Community, Digital Dialogues|

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