[-empyre-] Week 4: Feminism Confronts Audio Technology - Day 1

Asha Tamirisa ashatamirisa at gmail.com
Thu Jun 26 08:39:03 EST 2014

I’d be curious to hear more thoughts on pedagogy, both as educators and as
students. As educators, how do you think about gender and race as you
develop syllabi? What happens when we are asked to teach someone else’s
syllabi that might not have as much diversity as you had hoped? How do we
work with textbooks that may not have much historical information about
women, or perhaps use gendered and racialized language in technical
diagrams? I wonder about using supplementary text and how this might appear
as an appendage to the information presented, rather than as canonical (but
of course, better this way than not at all). As students, what do we do
when we are shown syllabi with little or no gender or racial diversity? How
do we involve our colleagues as we make these decisions such that these
ideas and concerns spread to our larger community? What do we do, even
after voicing our point and taking direct action, patterns of exclusion

I know these are quite basic questions that are certainly dependent on
context, and generally, the answer is to facilitate dialogue on gender and
race, to have diverse syllabi and resources available to students, to speak
up and to keep speaking up... But perhaps posing these questions will spark
sharing good resources or some anecdotes that could be helpful to all and
applied in other contexts.

Also,very excited to see NIME include this panel this year!
Gender, Education, Creativity in Digital Music and Sound Art:

On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 12:13 PM, Asha Tamirisa <ashatamirisa at gmail.com>

> Rachel- thanks for this! A few things quickly come to mind: Tara Rodgers,
> in both Pink Noises and in her chapter in Sound Studies on Feminist
> Historiographies, talks about patrilineal language in electronic music
> history--- e.g. Max Mathews as the father of computer music, in the movie
> Modulations, Stockhausen is referred to as the godfather of electro (which
> I find kind of strange anyway). To the fault of our culture, the cultural
> weight of being a mother doesn’t carry the same sense of authorship as
> being a father, so we tend not to ascribe the same types of formal titles
> to artists and thinkers such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Daphne Oram, or
> Laurie Spiegel. The collective handle and understanding of patrilineal
> language perpetuates the glorification of male figures.
> But I think you are pointing towards something else, which is that it is
> not just the formal titling of so-called inventors, but actually knowing
> their biographical history that allows us to see them as people and better
> see ourselves as participants of the field. I remember asking exactly these
> types of questions when learning about Pauline Oliveros, Pamela Z, Laurie
> Spiegel, Suzanne Ciani… wanting to know where they studied, who they
> studied with, etc. I think Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner’s and Tara Rodgers’ work
> is important for this very reason, hearing the stories of women in the
> field, but wouldn’t it be great if these stories were more integrated into
> the texts and syllabi commonly used in Intro to Computer Music courses!
> Also, Jacob Gaboury is doing incredible work on parallel ideas in comp
> sci-- A Queer History of Computing:
> http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/feb/19/queer-computing-1/
> Lots more to say about this, but trying to keep it short :)
> On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 12:42 AM, Rachel Devorah Trapp <
> racheldtrapp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> 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
>> implications.
>> I look forward to all of your thoughts!
>> Rachel
>> racheldevorahtrapp.com
>> 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
>> >
>> > Pedagogy
>> > * 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
>> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
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> --
> - Asha Tamirisa <http://ashatamirisa.net/>

- Asha Tamirisa <http://ashatamirisa.net/>
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