[-empyre-] Week 4: Feminism Confronts Audio Technology - Day 1
Rachel Devorah Trapp
racheldtrapp at gmail.com
Tue Jun 24 14:42:41 EST 2014
Hello everyone and thank you to Renate, Tim and Asha for inviting me!
Asha's points about pedagogy are ever-present in my mind. Many of the
narratives that we weave about our discipline eschew what might be
perceived as “irrelevant” elements of race, gender, and class. Yet
this detritus is important. People create music; people are the agents
in the creation of ideas. An individual's cumulative experience stands
behind the sound.
As the love child of music and technology, electronic music in its
current state is exploding with creative uses of computer code. So if
we turn our attention to a computer science course, we quickly see
that these courses are often devoid—probably for the sake of time and
efficiency—of discussions about agents: the people who made the code,
functions, or scripts and their histories. Frankly, for computer
scientists, an employer probably does not care if a job applicant the
history of Bjarne Stroustrup and C++.
The stories of innovators such as Leon Theremin and Robert Moog are
written into our histories of development, but are only included when
they are necessary to chronicle the basic evolution of the
technologies. By disavowing the human history of our field, we leave
behind real, important detritus: the valuable information about our
innovators from all backgrounds. These stories are necessary to the
study of electronic music because they provide paradigms for students
who are in the process of becoming the next generation of innovators.
All artists at one point in their career have read a fact or detail in
a biography (or heard a story/urban legend) about a luminary in their
field that inspired them. Even more powerful are these histories for
students who might not have shared experiences with their mentors or
cohort. Students benefit from identifying with the stories of
innovators who came before them, and the usefulness of identification,
of course, is not exclusive to race, gender, and class.
My analysis is one of a practitioner and student of electronic music
not a historian, so I freely admit that
this is a surface look which does not fully account for wider cultural
I look forward to all of your thoughts!
On Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM, Asha Tamirisa <ashatamirisa at gmail.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear Renate and Tim,
> Thanks so much! I’m honored to be included in this month’s discussion along with such an incredible group of artists and scholars: Rachel, Monisola, Caroline, and Lyn.
> I will begin the discussion this evening with a post on my own research on modular interfaces, and the ways in which their design and use expresses particular ideas of power, freedom, connection, and subjectivity. My hope, though, is that this week’s discussion will expand into larger issues of feminist approaches of audio technology, audio culture, history, pedagogy, and feminist spaces, drawing inspiration from the incredible work done by scholars like Tara Rodgers, Harraway, Judy Wajcman, Anne Basalmo, and Wendy Chun. I will keep tabs on all resources and ideas and summarize them into a bibliography/list at the end.
> To preface, here are some topics I hope to touch on in this week:
> Audiotechnical Design
> * Rhetorical weight in technological design
> * How can technological design not just make things “better” but “different” in ways that provoke social change?
> Audiotechnical Language:
> * What does the language imply? Who does it exclude?
> Feminist Spaces
> * Intersectionality: Why haven’t most feminist electronic music spaces addressed race and broader issues of gender diversity? What are some examples of structures that have?
> * Fetishizing/categorizing women in electronic music
> * Male allyship
> * Why is there resistance to incorporating gender and race into the study of this field? Is that changing?
> * Moving beyond tokenism: How can the study of gender and race not be an appendage to the field, but a true part of its study?
> * Making balanced / diverse syllabi
> * Changing use of gendered/racialized language
> History / Archives
> * Radical archives / Integrating feminist archives into “mainstream” electronic music history
> * Linkages between militaristic technological development and audio technologies
> * Complicating the relationship electronic music history to Futurism/Fascism
> Very much looking forward to seeing what this network brings to the fore! All best,
> - Asha Tamirisa
> ashatamirisa at gmail.com
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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