Ming-Yuen S. Ma
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Sounding a politics of place
Acoustic communities, aesthetic colonization, and sound imperialism
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The final chapter juxtaposes Clifford’s idea of an ‘ethnographic ear’ with contemporary media artworks that engage with the politics of location, geography, and landscape through sound and listening. Schafer’s discussion of ‘acoustic communities’ and ‘sound imperialism,’ as well as Michael Bull’s study of ‘aesthetic colonization’, serve as the overarching theoretical framework that informs these investigations. Through a series of ‘transductive’ exchange with six case studies, including location recordings by Spanish sound artist Francisco López and the collective Ultra-red, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s installation Frequency and Volume: Relational Architecture 9 (2003), a public art project by Elana Mann, and Maryanne Amacher and Bill Fontana’s live transmissions, the ideas of colonialism and imperialism, nature and pollution, community and access, site and non-site, public and private are worked with and through. This chapter proposes new ways of understanding sound through space, and vice versa.

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There is no soundtrack

Rethinking art, media, and the audio-visual contract


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