Doors open at 7:30pm
Thursday, May 5th
Matmos Performance, 8pm in Mudd Auditorium, JHU Homewood Campus
Dr. Jonathan Sterne (McGill University), "Audile Scarification: Notes on the Normalization of Hearing Damage"
Friday, May 6th
Dr. Mara Mills (New York University), "Speed Listening by Blind Readers and the History of Audio Time Compression"
Dr. Jacob Smith (Northwestern University), "Adventurous Listening and Radio's 'Escape'"
Dr. Andrew Daniel (The Johns Hopkins University), "Queering the Field Recording"
Is this event free?
All academic talks are free. The Matmos performance is also free. No tickets are required. The venue seats approximately 150 people, and we will take first come first seated.
Is it open to the public?
Will refreshments be provided?
Friday's talks will have lunch; it will be provided to those who have RSVP'd to Dr. Meredith Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVPs must be made by Saturday, April 30th at the latest. Please RSVP today with the subject line "Listening In: RSVP."
What topics will be covered at the Symposium?
Hearing loss, practices of reading via hearing, radio and sonic aesthetics, and field recording will all be covered. The theme of "listening in" is designed to be inclusive of sound concerns coming from many disciplines and research methods. The exciting result is a collection of talks designed to meet the desires of any person interested in sound. We feel very lucky to have secured such wonderful speakers, and extend our thanks to them.
Dr. Jonathan Sterne
Jonathan Sterne’s work is broadly concerned with the cultural dimensions of communication technologies, especially their form and role in large-scale societies. One of his major ongoing projects has involved developing an adequate history and theory of sound in the modern west. Beyond the work on sound and music, he has published over fifty articles and book chapters that cover a wide range of topics in media history, new media, cultural theory and disability studies. He has also written on the politics of academic labor and maintains an interest in the future of the university. His new projects consider instruments and instrumentalities; histories of signal processing; and the intersections of disability, technology and perception. He continues to support emerging scholarship in sound studies.
As a researcher, he employs historiographic, philosophical and interpretive methods, and in more recent work, long-form interviews and participant observation. In addition to his books and articles, Sterne has published online since 1994, experimenting with multimodal and open access approaches, which are now gathered under the “digital humanities” umbrella.
Sterne has held fellowships from the Mellon and Woodrow Wilson Foundations, the Smithsonian Institution, The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and the University of Southern California. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard and New York Universities, and a visiting researcher in the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. His work has also been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds québécois de recherché sur la société et la culture, the Beaverbrook Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, and the Australian Research Council. He has delivered over a hundred invited lectures and keynotes around the world.
Dr. Mara Mills
Mara Mills works at the intersection of disability studies and media studies. Her research and teaching interests include communication history (especially related to telephones and reading practices), science and technology studies, disability theory, and mobile media studies. Her first book (On the Phone: Deafness and Communication Engineering), forthcoming from Duke University Press, argues the significance of phonetics and deaf education to the emergence of "communication engineering" in early twentieth-century telephony. This concept and set of practices later gave rise to information theory, digital coding, and cybernetics. Her second book project, Print Disability and New Reading Formats, examines the reformatting of print over the course of the past century by blind and other print disabled readers, with a focus on Talking Books and electronic reading machines. It is under contract with the University of Minnesota Press for the new Manifold print/digital hybrid series.
Mills is on the steering committee of the Science and Society Minor and is co-chair of the NYU Council for the Study of Disability. She is a member of the executive council (2016-2018) of the Society for the History of Technology, as well as a founding editor of the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. More information can be found at her website.
Dr. Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith is the author of Vocal Tracks: Performance and Sound Media (University of California Press 2008), Spoken Word: Postwar American Phonograph Cultures (University of California Press 2011), and The Thrill Makers: Celebrity, Masculinity, and Stunt Performance (University of California Press 2012). He writes and teaches about the cultural history of media, with a focus on sound and performance.
PhD Department of Communication and Culture, Indiana University
“Phonograph Toys and Early Sound Cartoons: Towards a History of Visualized Phonography,” in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 7, no. 2, July 2012.
“Kissing as Telling: Some Thoughts on the Cultural History of Media Performance,” for Cinema Journal: In Focus section on media performance, Cinema Journal, Vol. 51, no. 3, 2012.
“Turn Me On, Dead Media: A Backwards Look at the Re-enchantment of an Old Medium,” External link icon in Television and New Media.
[co-authored with Patrick Feaster] “Reconfiguring the History of Early Cinema Through the Phonograph,” in Film History, Volume 21, 2009, pp 311-325.
“A Town Called Riddle: Excavating Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There,” in Screen, Spring 2010, Volume 51, Number 1, p. 71-78. [Reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 313. Detroit: Gale, 2012.]
“Tearing Speech to Pieces: Voice Technologies of the 1940s,” in Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, Volume 2, Number 2, Autumn 2008.
Recent Awards, Honors and Grants
Plenary address at Screen Conference at the University of Glasgow, July 2-4, 2010.
Society for Cinema and Media Studies Dissertation Award, 2005-2006.
Vocal Tracks was selected as a finalist for the 2008 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.
Dr. Andrew Daniel
Drew Daniel studied philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, and then attended Brasenose College, Oxford University on a Marshall scholarship, where he received a second B.A. in English literature.
He returned to Berkeley and entered the graduate program in English, writing a dissertation entitled " 'I Know Not Why I Am So Sad': Melancholy and Knowledge in Early Modern English Portraiture, Drama, and Prose". He was awarded his Ph.D. in the spring of 2007.
His published reviews, catalogue essays, chapters in edited collections and articles in scholarly journals range across Elizabethan drama, political philosophy, contemporary film, contemporary art, and the musical avant-garde. In 2008, Continuum Press published his first book, a study of the English "industrial" music pioneers Throbbing Gristle titled Twenty Jazz Funk Greats. In 2013, Fordham University Press published his second book The Melancholy Assemblage: Affect and Epistemology in the English Renaissance, an attempt to use assemblage theory to understand the social distribution of negative emotion.
In addition to artist's talks, colloquia, and seminars at the Tate Modern, CalArts, UVA, Princeton and Harvard, he has taught courses in Renaissance literature, critical theory and aesthetics at UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Art Institute before joining the faculty at Hopkins. He is also one half of the electronic duo Matmos.
Matmos is M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, aided and abetted by many others.
Currently based in Baltimore, the duo formed in San Francisco in the mid 1990s, and self-released their debut album in 1997. Marrying the conceptual tactics and noisy textures of object-based musique concrete to a rhythmic matrix rooted in electronic pop music, the two quickly became known for their highly unusual sound sources: amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, water hitting copper plates, liposuction surgery, cameras and VCRs, chin implant surgery, contact microphones on human hair, rat cages, tanks of helium, a cow uterus, human skulls, snails, cigarettes, cards shuffling, laser eye surgery, whoopee cushions, balloons, latex fetish clothing, rhinestones, Polish trains, insects, life support systems, inflatable blankets, rock salt, solid gold coins, the sound of a frozen stream thawing in the sun, a five gallon bucket of oatmeal. These raw materials are manipulated into surprisingly accessible forms, and often supplemented by traditional musical instruments played by them and their large circle of friends and collaborators. The result is a model of electronic composition as a relational network that connects sources and outcomes together; information about the process of creation activates the listening experience, providing the listener with entry points into sometimes densely allusive, baroque recordings.
Since their debut, Matmos have released over eight albums, including: Quasi-Objects (1998) , The West (1998), A Chance to Cut Is A Chance to Cure (2001), The Civil War (2003) and The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of A Beast (2006) and Supreme Balloon (2008). In 2001 they were asked to collaborate with the Icelandic singer Bjork on her “Vespertine” album, and subsequently embarked on two world tours as part of her band. In addition to musical collaborations with Antony, So Percussion, Terry Riley, The Kronos Quartet, David Tibet, the Rachel’s, Lesser, Wobbly, Zeena Parkins, and the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, Matmos have also collaborated with a wide range of artists across disciplines, from the visual artist Daria Martin (on the soundtrack to her film “Minotaur”) to the playwright Young Jean Lee (for her play “The Appeal”) to Berlin-based choreographer Ayman Harper. Most recently, they have been part of the ensemble for the Robert Wilson production “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic”, featuring Marina Abramovic, Antony and Willem Dafoe. Their most recent album, The Marriage of True Minds, was released in 2013 by Thrill Jockey Records.