Colloquium Sound & Sensory Studies
we are no good
Michel Serres, The Five Senses (1985/2008), S. 139
Be it sound art-pieces, academic articles, blogposts or a PhD-treatment, an artistic research proposal: in this biweekly research colloquium we immerse ourselves in discussing new approaches to sound studies.
Part of the interdisciplinary Research Group Sound & Senses we invite all researchers, artists, students or listeners to take part and to propose topics and materials for our future meetings.
As a collaborative workshop this meeting provides an opportunity for researchers of all levels (experienced scholars as well as PhD-/MA-students or artistic researchers) to discuss their approaches from various interdisciplinary fields with a special sensibility concerning sound.
biweekly, alternating between presence & online meetings (more or less – please check dates!)
Sound Studies Lab
On Zoom (maybe Room 16.4.63)
Department of Arts & Cultural Studies
Karin Blixens Vej 1
Cf. on website Sound in Media Culture
* ZOOM: tuesday 19.1. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: Giada dalla Bontà (Berlin/DE): On the sound storage medium of Roentgenizdat
* ZOOM: tuesday 2.2. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: Remapping Sound Studies, edited by G. Steingo & J. Sykes.
* ZOOM: tuesday 17.2. kl.17:00-18:00
Topic: Macon Holt (Copenhagen/DK): Childish Gambino’s “This is America”: A Black Comic Sonic Fiction of Code Switching and Bass Materialism.
Abstract: Following the release of the song and music video for Childish Gambino’s “This is America”, numerous attempts were made to read the song as a straight forward political statement. While many were interested in and attempted to decode the complexly layered signifiers and messages laced throughout the media artefact, others were frustrated with what they saw as a muddled vague enunciation being communicated to a broad and large audience. Gambino (Donald Glover) himself refused to clarify the ideas behind the song, relying instead on the oft invoked cliché that it was up to the viewer/listener to make up their own mind about the music video’s theme.
In this paper, I will argue that the insufficiencies of these two critical perspectives on this music video make the same fundamental error in how they approach this cultural intervention. Instead of something to be decoded or made to conform to existing political discourse, “This is American” needs to be regarded and amplified as what Kodwo Eshun might call a “sonic fiction”. More specifically it is a black (in every sense) comedy that explores ideas of US racial politics in terms that can be understood as a combination of the linguistic practice of code-switching and what Steve Goodman has termed “bass materialism”.
This methodology of co-creation as analysis reveals more incisive levels of critical cultural narration within the song and music video. Levels that more conventional modes of analysis miss, or ignore in the service of a narrow political reading. Furthermore it may help to understand this music video as an invitation for further related creative investigations that make material attempts to shift the racist discourses that are characteristic of the atmosphere of capitalist realism in both the US and, in different ways, throughout the postcolonial world.
* ZOOM: tuesday 2.3. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: D’Arcee Charington (Columbus, Ohio/US): A Black Ghost Made Flesh: How to Weaponize Disability Erasure in Spectre: AV
* ZOOM: tuesday 16.3. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: Madli Oras (Vienna/AT): Climate Walk – Developing Sonic Interventions for Understanding Experiences of Climate Change.
* ZOOM: tuesday 13.4. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: We will be discussing this article: Hartman, Saidiya. “Venus in Two Acts.” Small Axe 12, no. 2 (2008): 1-14.
* ZOOM: tuesday 27.4. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: Luca Forcucci (Berlin/DE): The Work of Composer Pamela Z (excerpt from the podcast U(BQT)LAB
* ZOOM: tuesday 11.5. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: Ania Mauruschat & Carla J. Maier: [tbc]
* ZOOM: tuesday 8.6. kl.15:15-16:30
Topic: Jenny Gräf Sheppard (Copenhagen/DK): Tactile Speakers & Communicating Vessels