Participants

Keynotes

Jonathan Sterne is Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.  He is author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke 2012), The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003); and numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture.  He is also editor of The Sound Studies Reader (Routledge, 2012).  His new projects consider instruments and instrumentalities; mail by cruise missile; and the intersections of disability, technology and perception. Visit his website at http://sterneworks.org .

Emily Thompson, Professor of History at Princeton University, explores the cultural history of sound, music, noise, listening, and technology. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is the author of The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (MIT Press) and co-author of the website The Roaring ‘Twenties. Her next book, Sound Effects, will examine how the art and craft of making and showing movies changed when recorded sound was introduced to the American film industry, 1926-1933.

Featured Artists

Pauline Oliveros is a senior figure in contemporary American music.  Her career spans fifty years of boundary dissolving music making.  In the ’50s she was part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists, poets gathered together in San Francisco. Recently awarded the John Cage award for 2012 from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, Oliveros is Distinguished Research Professor of Music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and Darius Milhaud Artist-in-Residence at Mills College.  Oliveros has been as interested in finding new sounds as in finding new uses for old ones –her primary instrument is the accordion, an unexpected visitor perhaps to musical cutting edge, but one which she approaches in much the same way that a Zen musician might approach the Japanese shakuhachi.  Pauline Oliveros’ life as a composer, performer and humanitarian is about opening her own and others’ sensibilities to the universe and facets of sounds.  Since the 1960’s she has influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual.  Pauline Oliveros is the founder of “Deep Listening,”  which comes from her childhood fascination with sounds and from her works in concert music with composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics.  Pauline Oliveros describes Deep Listening as a way of listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing.  Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one’s own thoughts as well as musical sounds. Deep Listening is my life practice,” she explains, simply.  Oliveros is founder of Deep Listening Institute, formerly Pauline Oliveros Foundation, now the Center For Deep Listening at Rensselaer.

Natalia Fedorova is a new media poet, a digital literature scholar, and a media poetry lab curator. Natalia is currently teaching language art and creative writing with new media at the Curatorial Studies Program of Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Saint Petersburg State University. Her poems appeared in TextSound, Rattapallax, LIT magazine, Ill-Tempered Rubyist, räume für notizen [rooms for notes]. Natalia has presented her work at a number of international festivals and biennials such as the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Manifesta 10, Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair, REVERSE, Moscow Book Festival, E-Poetry, LUMEN EX, Interrupt II, VideoBardo, Liberated Words, and Tarp. 

Lesley Flanigan is an experimental electronic musician living in New York City. Inspired by the physicality of sound, she builds her own instruments using minimal electronics, microphones and speakers. Performing these instruments alongside traditional instrumentation that often includes her own voice, she creates a kind of physical electronic music that embraces both the transparency and residue of process — sculpting sound from a palette of noise and subtle imperfections. Her work has been presented at venues and festivals internationally, including Sonar (Barcelona), The Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Chicago), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), ISSUE Project Room (Brooklyn), The Stone (New York), TransitioMX (Mexico City), CMKY Festival (Boulder), the Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art (Denmark) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.

Carl Linich, a Poughkeepsie native Carl Linich has been a scholar, teacher, and performer of traditional Georgian polyphonic singing since 1990, and is a member of Trio Kavkasia. While living in Georgia, Carl founded and directed a group of foreigners that sang exclusively Georgian folk songs. In 2004, Carl completed a full fellowship MFA graduate degree in voice at Bennington College, where he also taught a course on Georgian culture and folk singing. In recognition of his work to promote and preserve Georgian folk song, Carl has been honored as a Silver Medal Laureate of the Georgian government (1995) and is the recipient of Georgia’s prestigious President’s Order of Merit Award (2009). He has worked on numerous CDs and publications related to Georgian folk music for the Tbilisi State Conservatory, the State Folklore Center of Georgia, and the International Centre for Georgian Folk Song. Carl has toured with the Vermont-based Northern Harmony ensemble and has been leading summer singing camps for Village Harmony since 2000. He currently directs the Supruli Ensemble in New York City, the Bard College Georgian Vocal Ensemble, and sings in a family trio with his two young sons. Carl leads workshops and also offers private instruction in Georgian vocal ornamentation, Georgian stringed instruments (chonguri, panduri, chunir) and Georgian language.

Tristan Perich‘s (New York) work is inspired by the aesthetic simplicity of math, physics and code. The WIRE Magazine describes his compositions as “an austere meeting of electronic and organic.” 1-Bit Music, his 2004 release, was the first album ever released as a microchip, programmed to synthesize his electronic composition live. His latest circuit album, 1-Bit Symphony, has received critical acclaim, called “sublime” (New York Press), and the Wall Street Journal said “its oscillations have an intense, hypnotic force and a surprising emotional depth.” He has received commissions from the New Museum, the LA Philharmonic, So Percussion and more, and his award-winning work coupling 1-bit electronics with traditional forms in both music (Surface Image, Parallels) and visual art (Machine Drawings, Microtonal Wall) has been presented around the world, from Sónar and Ars Electronica to MoMA and bitforms gallery.

Todd Shalom works with text, sound and image to re-contextualize the body in space using vocabulary of the everyday. He is the founder and director of non-profit participatory walks organization, Elastic City. In this role, Todd leads his own walks, collaborates with artists to lead joint walks, and works with artists in a variety of disciplines to adapt their expertise to the participatory walk format. He often collaborates with performance artist/director Niegel Smith. Together, they conceive and stage interactive performances in public and private environments. Todd is also a ringleader of Willing Participant. Willing Participant whips up urgent poetic responses to crazy shit that happens. Todd is a member of the core faculty in Pratt Institute’s new MFA in Writing. His work has been presented by organizations such as Abrons Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, The Invisible Dog, ISSUE Project Room, The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, P.S. 122 and Printed Matter. Todd is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts and also holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University.

Panelists

Marié Abe is Assistant Professor of Music at Boston University. She is interested in investigating how sonic practices produce social space, and how sound’s materiality and ephemerality have particular tangible effects on affect and sociality. Her current book project, entitled Resonances of Chindon-ya, does so by examining the intersection of sound, sociality, and public space in contemporary Japanese urban life through ethnographic analysis of a street musical advertisement practice called chindon-ya. Her secondary project is on the politics of sound in the anti-U.S. military base movement in Okinawa. She is also a co-producer of the NPR radio documentary “Squeezebox Stories,” which has won the Best Arts and Culture Reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists in 2012.    

Alex Benson (PhD, UC Berkeley) is assistant professor of Literature and American Studies at Bard College. He is currently working on a book manuscript on the problem of ethnographic transcription in American literatures from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. His article on F. Scott Fitzgerald and the ethnography of gesture recently appeared in the journal Criticism, and another on Claude McKay’s dialect poetry is forthcoming in Small Axe

Matthew Deady is Professor of Physics and Director of the Physics Program. At Bard, he teaches, among other subjects, Acoustics, a course well populated each year with students from all disciplines. In developing that course, he has found student research topics on physical systems relevant to musical instruments. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Illinois, and his Ph.D. in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981, doing nuclear physics structure experiments at the MIT-Bates Linear Accelerator Laboratory.

Emilio Distretti is a researcher, cultural theorist and lecturer. He completed his PhD in Aesthetics and Politics of Representation at the School of Art and Design at the University of Portsmouth (UK) co-supervised at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL in London. His research interests are multidisciplinary and place a strong emphasis on new materialism, spatial practices and colonial geographies. Emilio is Research Fellow at the Council for British Institute of the Levant at the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem and since August 2015 he is the Head of the Urban Studies and Spatial Practices at al Quds Bard, Palestine.

Masha Godovannaya is a visual artist, curator and educator, born in Moscow, Russia. She holds MFA degree in Film/Video from Bard College, US, and now is enrolled at MA program at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology at European University of St. Petersburg (gender studies and sociology). Masha’s films and visual works have been shown at many international film festivals, screenings, galleries and biennials such as Manifesta 10 (Russia), 7th Liverpool Biennial (UK), Center Georges Pompidou (France), Rotterdam Film Festival (the Netherlands), Oberhausen International Film Festival (Germany), London Film Festival (UK) and others; her curatorial projects have been presented at different venues such as Loft Project Etagi (Russia), Avant Film Festival (Sweden), Anthology Film Archives (USA), Independent Film Show (Italy), Moscow International Film Festival (USA), Avanto Film Festival (Finland) and others. She has been teaching film/video classes at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) of St. Petersburg State University since 2003.

Tomie Hahn is a performer and ethnologist whose activities span a wide range of topics including: Japanese traditional performing arts, Monster Truck rallies, issues of identity and creative expression of multiracial individuals, and relationships of technology and culture; interactive dance/movement performance; and gestural control and extended human/computer interface in the performing arts. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of the Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology fromWesleyan University, M.A. in urban ethnomusicology from New York University, and B.S. in performance and art history from Indiana University (Bloomington campus). Tomie is a teacher/performer of shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), and of nihon buyo (Japanese traditional dance) holding the professional stage name, Samie Tachibana.

Brian Hochman is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University, where he also serves on the faculties of American Studies and Film and Media Studies.  He is the author of Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology (University of Minnesota Press,2014), which was a finalist for the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero Prize for Best First Book, as well as essays in African American Review, American Literature, Callaloo, Post45: Peer Reviewed, and The Multilingual Screen: New Perspectives on Cinema and Linguistic Difference (Bloomsbury, 2016).  He is currently writing a book on electronic eavesdropping titled All Ears: A History of Wiretapping in the United States.

Laura Kunreuther began teaching at Bard in 2001. She completed her B.A. at University of Pennsylvania and finished her Ph.D. at University of Michigan in 2002. Prof. Kunreuther’s teaching and research interests center around themes such as cultural memory, urban public culture, postcolonial theory, technology and media, social suffering, and cultural representations of home. She has conducted extensive research in Kathmandu, Nepal. In addition to thematic courses, she teaches classes on colonial India and ethnography of South Asia. Professor Kunreuther’s Voicing Subjects: Public Intimacy and Mediation in Kathmandu (Berkeley) traces the relation between public speech and notions of personal interiority during a moment of political upheaval in Nepal through a focus on distinct formations of voice. She is currently engaged in two research project that explore sound, listening, and political subjectivity. The first centers on the use of sound for political and artistic protest; the second examines the role of interpreters deployed in field mission of the UN. Other articles explore the intersections between state and domestic archives, and the FM radio in Kathmandu. Professor Kunreuther coordinates the Sound Cluster of Experimental Humanities.

Danielle Riou is a Research Associate and Associate Director at the Human Rights Project at Bard College. She is a co-founder of the Milosevic Trial Public Archive, a project exploring the scope and substance of audio/visual recordings of war crimes trials, which was awarded a 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities grant. She founded Human Rights Radio in 2014 as an auditory platform to explore contemporary topics in human rights, as well as to think about human rights through sound.

Thomas Porcello is Professor of Anthropology and has served both as Director of Media Studies and as Co-Director of the Media Studies Development Project. Dr. Porcello is trained in linguistic anthropology and ethnomusicology, and has done extensive research in sound recording studios on technological and discursive practices involved in popular music production. In 2006 his co-edited book, Wired for Sound: Engineering and Technologies in Sonic Cultures (2005) was awarded a book prize by the Society for Ethnomusicology, and his work has appeared in several journals including Social Studies of Science, Ethnomusicology, Popular Music, and Current Musicology. Recently, he has begun work on a recording project that will highlight similarities and differences between live and recorded sounds of American baseball.

Erica Robles-Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication. Her research focuses on collective life in network society. Her forthcoming book (Yale University Press) traces the rise of hyper-mediated, high-tech churches.

Suzanne Snider (Founder/Director, Oral History Summer School 2012-) is a writer, documentarian, and educator whose work is deeply influenced by oral history theory and practice. Her most recent projects have taken the shape of sound installation, essays, and archive design. In 2012, she founded Oral History Summer School, a cross-disciplinary training program in upstate New York. She consults frequently for institutions and project teams including MoMA, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Prison Public Memory Project on oral history-related challenges. Her own oral history projects have addressed disappearing labor forces, rehabilitative medicine, parapsychology, and feminist presses (supported by the Radcliffe Institute/Schlesinger Library Oral History Grant).  Snider teaches at the New School for Public Engagement and served as a visiting lecturer at Columbia University (OHMA) in spring 2014.  With support from Yaddo, UCross Foundation Center, and the MacDowell Colony, she is completing her first book, The Latecomers.

Maria Sonevytsky is Assistant Professor of Music at Bard College. She has published on the racialized accordion in the U.S., post-nuclear folklore, revolution and popular music in Ukraine, and on doing ethnography in post-Soviet rural Ukraine. She is presently at work on a book tentatively titled, Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine. She is also a singer and instrumentalist who has played experimental chamber music, cabaret pop, and various Eastern European repertoires.

David Suisman’s scholarly interests concern the relationship between different forms of cultural and economic power, particularly in relation to the development of modern consumer capitalist society. More precisely, these interests crystallize around subjects related to citizenship, critiques of capitalism, intellectual property, advertising, photography, film, literature, and music. These also encompass a concern for the broader historiographic challenge of cultural history itself and the problems inherent in writing histories of “experience.” This has led Suisman into a deep interest as well in sensory experience—seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling—and consideration of the senses as social constructions, whose historical significance can vary over time and space. Publications include: Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music (Harvard UP, 2009), named one of Choice’s “Outstanding Academic Titles for 2009”; winner of the Hagley Prize for the Best Book in Business History, and the DeSantis Book Prize, Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era; and honorable mention for the Woody Guthrie Prize, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), U.S. branch; Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), co-edited with Susan Strasser; “Sound, Knowledge, and the ‘Immanence of Human Failure’: Rethinking Musical Mechanization through the Phonograph, the Player-Piano, and the Piano,” Social Text 102 (Spring 2010); “Co-workers in the Kingdom of Culture: Black Swan Records and the Political Economy of African-American Music.” Journal of American History 90 (March 2004). Since 2011, he has been associate editor of the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Julianne Swartz creates sculpture and installations that involve sound, magnetism, kinetics and optics. Her work has been exhibited worldwide. Venues include Tate Museum, Liverpool, UK; Whitney Museum, NY, NY, New Museum, NY, NY; The Jewish Museum, NY, NY; P.S.1/MOMA, LIC, NY; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel. Upcoming projects include commissions for Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA, and The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth AU. She has taught sculpture at Bard College since 2006.

Drew Thompson is Assistant Professor of Historical and Africana Studies at Bard College (Annandale). His research considers the ways in which photography—as practice and discourse—impacts the construction and operation of bureaucracy in colonial and post-independent Mozambique. As an extension of this study, he teaches classes on the history of the radio in Africa, urbanism, historical photography, liberation struggles, and post-colonial theory. At Bard, he has been involved in efforts to integrate new technologies, like podcasts and online exhibitions, in the teaching of history, and he has also been actively involved in the programmatic efforts of Africana Studies in terms of organizing lecture series and in the re-launch of Bard’s International Human Rights Exchange in Johannesburg, South Africa. He received his Ph.D. in African History from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a B.A. in History and Art History from Williams College.

Olga Touloumi is Assistant Professor of Art History at Bard College. She is writing on the acoustic spaces of war rooms, courtrooms, assembly halls, and other interiors where the imagination of a global space has been articulated during the 20th century.  Her book-in-progress examines new forms of governmentality at the design of international institutions during the first half of the twentieth century. Her writing has appeared at the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Buildings & Landscapes, Culture Machine, and Thresholds. In 2015 she co-organized the panel Sound Modernities: Architecture, Technology, and Media.  She holds a BArch from AUTh, a MSc from MIT, and a PhD from Harvard University.

Amanda Weidman is a cultural anthropologist with an area specialization in South Asia. Her previous research in South India examined the creation of South Indian classical music as a high cultural genre in the context of late colonialism, Indian nationalism, and regional politics in South India. This project combined ethnographic research, examination of archival sources, and her own study and performance of South Indian classical music. Her current research focuses on the people who create the music for South Indian popular cinema: playback singers, music directors, and studio musicians. She examines the social organization of the studios and discourses about voice and sound that emerge in recording sessions, relating these to broader politics and cultural movements.

Collaborators

WAVE FARM / WGXC 90.7-FM is based in New York’s Upper Hudson Valley (Acra, NY), Wave Farm is a non-profit arts organization that celebrates creative and community use of media and the airwaves. Wave Farm programs support artists who engage the transmission spectrum, on the airwaves and through public events, and include the Wave Farm Artist Residency Program, the Transmission Arts Archive, and Wave Farm Radio. Wave Farm’s WGXC 90.7-FM is a creative community radio station. Hands-on access and participation activate WGXC as a public platform for information, experimentation, and engagement. Over 100 volunteer programmers produce shows. Community programs include news and music produced by residents of Greene and Columbia counties, as well as syndicated national programs produced by Pacifica. WGXC commits over 60 hours a week to transmission art and experimental sound. https://wavefarm.org/

Galen Joseph-Hunter has served as Executive Director of Wave Farm since 2002. From 1996 to 2015 Joseph-Hunter worked closely with the venerable video art organization Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), serving as Assistant Director and then Executive Consultant. Over the past two decades, she has organized and curated numerous exhibitions and events internationally. From 2013 to 2015, she served as the co-organizer of “Groundswell” an exhibition event featuring broadcast, performance, sound, and installation works by contemporary artists conceived within the 250 acres of the Olana State Historic Site. In 2015, she curated “Amplitude” at Pioneer Works in New York, an exhibition of recent works by artists in Columbia University’s Sound Arts MFA program. Joseph-Hunter is the author of the book “Transmission Arts: Artists and Airwaves” (PAJ Publications: 2011,) as well as “Transmission Arts: the air that surrounds us” (PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, September 2009: MIT Press). She is the administrator of a Regrant Partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts Electronic Media and Film, providing distribution and exhibition support to New York-based media artists and technical assistance to New York media arts organizations. Joseph-Hunter has served as a panelist/reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Experimental Television Center, Meet The Composer, New Music USA, Harpo Foundation, and the Greene County Council for the Arts, among others.