• Conference: Association for Art History 2018

    Conference: Association for Art History 2018

    Heading out tomorrow to speak at the Association for Art History's 2018 Conference at the Courtauld Insititue of Art in London, UK. I'll be presenting on Thursday, April 5 as part of a session entitled "Soundscape: New Challenges, New Horizons" with a paper about Alan Nakagawa's work Peace Resonance. If you aren't familiar with Alan and his work, do yourself a favor and check him out - he's one of the most generous, affable, creative, and committed people I've come across in long time. 

    Here's an abstract:


    Soundscape, Memory, and Meaning: Thoughts on Alan Nakagawa’s “Peace Resonance”

    Sound artist Alan Nakagawa is engaged in a three-part project that manipulates field recordings made in culturally significant constructed spaces. The second of these pieces, Peace Resonance, features soundscape audio recordings made in October 2016 of the interior space of Japan’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial. In November of 2017, these recordings will be performed inside the Wendover Hangar in Utah, US—the former hangar of the B-29 bombers that carried out the atomic bombings and subsequent destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The work may be construed as auto-biographical as Nakagawa’s family immigrated to the US from Hiroshima in 1957. But more than demonstrating a narrative connection, “Peace Resonance” expresses a material invagination of a space that, conceptually and aurally, manifests the memory of unimaginable destruction in the space that harbored its messenger. But what, in addition to this overt symbolic outcome, accompanies this sonic juxtaposition? And what might this sonic intervention demonstrate about the significance of sound in spaces?

    This paper takes seriously assertions made by sound and spatial theorists that social reality is intrinsically spatially inscribed; that sounds are vital to constructions of identity, history, and meaning. Deploying memory and phenomenal experience in a material, experiential manner, the work superimposes the social reality of both spaces. I show that by structuring meaningful traces of one soundscape inside the other, Nakagawa bridges not only the ostensive distance between spaces, but between cultures, and makes previously abstract violence more tangible.


  • New grad-journal contribution...

    New grad-journal contribution...

    I was excited when the editors of the American Society for Aesthetics Graduate E-Journal (ASAGE) asked me to contribute to the most recent edition of their publication. Myself and two others wrote short riposte's to a new article by Thomas Benjamin Yee regarding an agentially-enriched narrative analytical hermeneutic as deployed in an analysis of a work by Beethoven, and he then got to reply to all of us in turn. This is a great idea to spark academic discourse I don't see often in a graduate journal! I admire Yee's analysis, though, in my reply I take issue with what I perceive as several problematic theoretical imbibings, methodological glosses, and assumed conceptual givens. This cycle of scholarly feedback has been great for me as I have gotten to learn a lot about a few different analytical approaches than what I'm more accustomed to deploying. Thanks for including me, ASAGE, and thanks for your article and willingness to engage in a conversation, Thomas Benjamin Yee!

  • New article...

    New article...

    I'm pleased to have a new article in the International Journal of New Media, Technology, and the Arts (2018, Vol 13 (1):1-6). This little piece stirs the pot more than it offers solutions to the slippery problem of how we talk about ontology--from a continental perspective, at least--and experimental works. It's always nice to get work out into the public sphere - even nicer to get feedback. Let me know what y'all think about this crazy "recombinant ontology" business, eh? 

  • Jean Rohe's "National Anthem: Arise! Arise!"

    This is five years old now, but I want to give a signal boost to Jean Rohe’s “National Anthem: Arise! Arise!” As an American living (for the time being) in Europe, I am often asked about the state of the United States. What can I say? Before having come to Germany just two months ago, I had spent thirteen years as a liberal elite in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. My America was seemingly very different from that America that elected our current president. And from within my own liberal bubble, that which indeed has become the case seemed impossible. Don’t we all want radical plurality in our communities? So I thought. And so, apparently, is not the case.

    Jean Rohe’s amazing “National Anthem” keeps coming to mind both for its honesty, beauty, and humility about the reality, rather than ideology, of America. I grew up playing music with her partner, Liam Robinson (the arranger/conductor in the video), in Green Bay, Wisconsin. And while I have not been terribly successful in making the connection in my own work between politics and sound, I continue to grow in my admiration for what he and Jean have and continue to do. They’re successfully marrying sophisticated and self-reflexive musics to several American musical traditions; songs that really sing and speak. It’s that kind of music that makes you smile and move while you’re hearing it, but think on it for days afterward. 

    Though I haven’t been in touch with them for some time, I am really feeling their music these days. Please check out their new record, Hunger. Gorgeous, thoughtful, and thought-provoking music. We’re lucky to have them.