Archive for February, 2016

ESP #1: An Evening of Extra-Sonic Performances

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 16.29.38ESP #1: An Evening of Extra-Sonic Performances 

Friday 4th March, 7.00-9.30, St Mary Le Wigford Church, Lincoln

Featuring:
David McSherry
Stewart Collinson + Duncan Chapman
Annie Morrad + Ian Mcarthur

Plus Low Quality Sound Snapshots by Marie Thompson and film by Emily Wilczeck (TBC)

 

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Marie’s talk on weaponised classical music – available as PDF

The script from Marie’s talk for the 21st Century Research Group can be downloaded as a PDF here: Everyday Sonic Warfare: Affect, Ideology and Weaponised Classical Music

 

Paper abstract

Over the past thirty years in Britain, Canada and the United States, classical music has come to function not just as art or entertainment but as a sonic weapon. It is used a means of dispelling and deterring ‘loiterers’ from certain social spaces – including shopping mall, bus stations, fast food outlets and car parks. This talk examines the affective and ideological dimensions of the weaponised use of classical music. I propose that weaponised classical music functions as an audio-affective deterrent, referring to two seemingly conflicting claims. On the one hand, classical music is suggested to ‘improve’ the behaviour of ‘undesirable’ loiterers through due to its purported capacity to soothe and calm. On the other, classical music is understood to drive away and inhibit loiterers from occupying a space by generating ‘negative’ affects – feelings of irritation, alienation and annoyance. As that which both soothes and removes, the weaponised use of classical music can be connected to two overtly affective musical practices: the use of muzak in the Fordist and post-Fordist workplace; and the use of music as a mode of torture. However, classical music’s effectiveness as a repellent is partly informed by its ideological and symbolic associations. Consequently, the weaponised use of classical music highlights the complex relationship between affect, ideology and signification.

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21st Century Research Group Seminar: Marie Thompson

Maskull Lasserre’s Six Shot Six String

Marie will be giving a talk ‘Everyday Sonic Warfare: Affect and the Weaponised Use of Classical Music’ for the University of Lincoln’s 21st Century Research Group Wednesday 10th February, 4.15-5.30pm, MC0024.

 

Abstract

Over the past thirty years in Britain, Canada and the United States, classical music has come to function not just as art or entertainment but as a sonic weapon. It is used a means of dispelling and deterring ‘loiterers’ from certain social spaces – including shopping mall, bus stations, fast food outlets and car parks. This talk examines the affective and ideological dimensions of the weaponised use of classical music. I propose that weaponised classical music functions as an audio-affective deterrent, referring to two seemingly conflicting claims. On the one hand, classical music is suggested to ‘improve’ the behaviour of ‘undesirable’ loiterers through due to its purported capacity to soothe and calm. On the other, classical music is understood to drive away and inhibit loiterers from occupying a space by generating ‘negative’ affects – feelings of irritation, alienation and annoyance. As that which both soothes and removes, the weaponised use of classical music can be connected to two overtly affective musical practices: the use of muzak in the Fordist and post-Fordist workplace; and the use of music as a mode of torture. However, classical music’s effectiveness as a repellent is partly informed by its ideological and symbolic associations. Consequently, the weaponised use of classical music highlights the complex relationship between affect, ideology and signification.

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Geom – 22 channel sound work

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 10.46.08

Geom is a new sound wall commission by David McSherry for the exhibition, The Russell Chantry: Lothar Götz/ Duncan Grant at The Collection, Lincoln. In this piece, David uses sound to respond to the work of both Duncan Grant and Lothar Götz, creating an entirely new experience.

Sacred music is at the centre of this composition. David chose John Taverner’s ‘The Lamb’ as a starting point, in response to the imagery of the Good Shepherd in Duncan’s mural. Religious music also plays an important role in our experience of the original Russell Chantry mural, the sound of choirs and hymns permeate into the chapel space from the main cathedral. This work brings our attention to something we do not often consider when in an art gallery, the sounds around us and how these can affect our experience.

After deconstructing the harmonic aspects of ‘The Lamb‘, David then uses simple trianglular waveforms and a ‘geometric sequencer’ in order to create rhythmic patterns in the piece, in response to Lothar’s geometric shapes. Playing the work across the 22 audio channels of our permanent soundwall creates what David calls audible ‘sound shapes’. Here David pushes the boundaries between visual and audible art and experience.

Commissioned by The Collection with support from Arts Council England, 2016.

Words by Jenny Gleadell.

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Article on Vocal Fry out now

Marie’s article ‘Creaking, Growling: Feminine Noisiness and Vocal Fry in the Music of Joan LaBarbara and Runhild Gammelsaeter’ is now available. It’s published in Volume 37, SOUND?NOISE!VOICE! of the feminist art journal, N.Paradoxa. Copies of the journal are available to purchase here. A text-only version of the article can be found here.

Here’s the article’s abstract:

In recent years, much media attention has been paid to the phenomenon of ‘vocal fry’ – a creaking, growling affectation that occurs when the voice is in its lowest register. Vocal fry has been understood as a specifically feminine affliction. Yet this vocalisation is neither new nor gender specific; indeed, vocal fry has long been used in music as a means of aiding expressivity and generating unusual vocal sonorities. In this article, Marie Thompson interrogates the phenomenon of vocal fry and its use as a musical resource. She argues that vocal fry, as it has been characterised in recent accounts by ‘feminist’ and media commentators, connects to a historical lineage of ‘feminised’ noise. In Eurocentric cultures, feminine vocal qualities and speech have long been admonished as ‘noisy’ – that is, unwanted, irritating, meaningless and damaging. She also examines vocal fry’s utilisation in music in relation to the work of Joan LaBarbara and Runhild Gammelsæter: arguing that if LaBarbara extends the creak, Gammelsæter extends the growl. Consequently, Marie Thompson proposes that LaBarbara and Gammelsæter’s work can be interpreted as alluding to the connections between noise and femininity.

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