UChicago Hosts the Great Lakes Association for Sound Studies 2017 Fall Conference

The Great Lakes Association for Sound Studies (GLASS) was established in 2016 to gather scholars working in sound studies (broadly construed: any scholarship for which sound is a method or object of study) in the Great Lakes region. The goal is to generate high-level conversations around central problems in sound studies that could lead to new publications, grants, collaborations, and projects.

To RSVP your attendance, please write to Jennifer Iverson at iversonj@uchicago.edu.

Saturday, October 14 
Logan Center for the Arts, Room 802
915 E. 60th Street

8:30 – 9:00 Morning Coffee: Meet and Greet

9:00 – 10:00 Extended Sensing (Session chair: Sam Pluta)

“Listening to Scale(s): Information, Perception, and Agency with Fathead”            
(David Cecchetto, York University)

“Hanna-Barbera’s Cacophony: Distant Listening and TV Sound”
(Patrick Sullivan, University of Rochester)

10:00 – 11:00 Digital Multimedia and the Sonic Archive
(Session chair: James Lastra)

“The American Religious Sounds Project”
(Isaac Weiner and Lauren Pond, The Ohio State University)

“Re-Creating the Soundscape of The Heart of Darkness”
(Vincent Longo and Matthew Solomon, University of Michigan)

11:00 – 11:15 Short Break

11:15 – 12:30 Keynote Presentation
(Session chair: Jennifer Iverson)

“Adventures in Audiography”
(Mary Francis, University of Michigan Press; Jacob Smith, Northwestern University)
Attendees are invited to explore Smith’s podcast and a map of the larger project before the event here.

12:30 – 2:30 Lunch

2:30 – 3:30 Mapping Real and Virtual Soundscapes
(Session chair: Jessica Baker)

“Putting the Sound of Musicals on the Map: A Real and Virtual Broadway Mapping Project”
(Todd Decker, Washington University in St. Louis)

“(Re)Mapping the Little-Burgundy Neighborhood in Montreal: A Multistakeholder Soundscape Project”
(Jonathan Fraser Rouleau and Jacqueline Hampshire, McGill University)

3:30 – 4:00 Afternoon Coffee: The Conversation Continues

4:00 – 5:00 Soundwalk led by Amanda Gutiérrez
(Amanda Gutiérrez, Chicago, New York City, and University of Girona in Spain)

Abstracts

Extended Sensing (9:00 – 10:00) “Listening to Scale(s): Information, Perception, and Agency with Fathead ” (David Cecchetto, York University)
Titled Fathead, my current project will be executed through three iterations of a two stage process: the first stage consists in prototyping wearable devices that differently simulate what it would be like (acoustically) to have a 1,000 ft. wide head. There are dozens of simple and inexpensive ways to do this, each of which affords certain realisms at the expense of others (much like a wallet size photograph offers a realistic likeness at the expense of unrealistic dimensionality—i.e. since it is flat—and size). The second stage consists in the makers of these devices wearing them while studying a theoretical text that discusses the relations between perception and agency in a graduate seminar format/setting. This entire process will then be reiterated two more times in different disciplinary contexts, with participants who bring different design and hermeneutic assumptions to the work.

“Hanna-Barbera’s Cacophony: Distant Listening and TV Sound” (Patrick Sullivan, University of Rochester)
Hanna-Barbera Productions developed and popularized some of the most iconic sound effects of the 20th century but little scholarly attention has been directed towards the studio’s sounds—or visuals for that matter. This project looks to the tools and methods of digital humanities to get at a rich texture of the sonic register of the studio’s output and asks if there is a deep formal rhythm structuring the sound effects of the studio. The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Where are You!, and Super Friends serve as the primary sources from which this project draws sound effects.

Digital Multimedia and the Sonic Archive (10:00 – 11:00)
“The American Religious Sounds Project” (Isaac Weiner and Lauren Pond, The Ohio State University)

What does religion in the United States sound like? This question animates the American Religious Sounds Project (ARSP), a collaborative initiative of Michigan State and Ohio State Universities. The ARSP offers a new approach to documenting and interpreting the diversity of American religious life by attending to its varied sonic cultures. It centers on: (1) the construction of a unique sonic archive, documenting the diversity of everyday religious life through newly produced field recordings, interviews, oral histories, and related materials; and (2) the development of a digital platform and website, which draws on materials in our archive to engage users in telling new stories about religious diversity in the U.S.

“Re-Creating the Soundscape of The Heart of Darkness” (Vincent Longo and Matthew Solomon, University of Michigan)
This presentation concerns the annotated open-source digital archive edition of Orson Welles’s unproduced screenplay for “The Heart of Darkness” we are creating at the University of Michigan. The aim is to permit readers not only to read this script as they would a book, but also to simultaneously examining a range of supporting contextual materials in multimedia form. Our presentation would outline the project as it currently stands, paying particular attention to the challenges of re-creating the visual iconography and soundscape Welles and his collaborators prepared for “The Heart of Darkness” in University of Chicago, 1939. Our sources include indications found in the script, parts of the “research bible” detailing the sounds of African river boating and native rituals, and examination of the specific films (both ethnographic and fiction) set in Africa that Welles watched while preparing the script. We are also interested in the possibility of creating a podcast as one “layer” of this digital publication that communicates our research findings to a general audience while borrowing key features of Welles’s own broadcast radio style.

Keynote Presentation (11:15 – 12:30)
“Adventures in Audiography” Mary Francis (University of Michigan Press) and Jacob Smith (Northwestern University)

This dialogic exchange reveals the process of developing a multimodal sound studies publishing project. Attendees are invited to explore Smith’s podcast and a map of the larger project before the event here.

Mapping Real and Virtual Soundscapes (2:30 – 3:30)
“Putting the Sound of Musicals on the Map: A Real and Virtual Broadway Mapping Project” (Todd Decker, Washington University in St. Louis)

This talk presents reciprocal pedagogical and scholarly approaches to the Broadway musical as understood through the historical categories of race and place. I am currently making a web-based, interactive map of musical theatre production activity and racial casting practices in midtown Manhattan theatres from 1894 to the present. A travel course I teach in New York City considers the same content in the actual built environment of the Theatre District. The map and the course alike incorporate the rich archive of Broadway cast recordings—sonic traces of past stage productions (linked to specific locations) that can be heard as evidence of New York City’s (and the nation’s) musical and racial past and present. My talk will demonstrate the various ways I am incorporating historical recordings into both web-based maps and on-site coursework for meaningful argumentative and persuasive ends.

“(Re)Mapping the Little-Burgundy Neighborhood in Montreal: A Multistakeholder Soundscape Project” (Jonathan Fraser Rouleau and Jacqueline Hampshire, McGill University)
The soundscape project aims to sonically map Little-Burgundy and export the data into the Montreal Sound Map. Using relatively simple and accessible digital technology for sound recording, we organize workshops and activities where communities are invited to participate in sound exploration revolving around medial, spatial and social components. The objective is threefold: 1) to reveal the social aspects of sound in relation to different variables (class, gender, ethnicity, race) and themes (leisure, work, public places, gentrification); 2) to create a sonic archive that uses sound as a method of storing and processing cultural information; and 3) to explore how a sense of place and identity can be constructed by means of sound. This project emphasizes the multiple identities and histories of a neighborhood that has recently been depicted in homogenous ways in mainstream media discourses. 

Soundwalk (4:00 – 5:00) Amanda Gutiérrez (Chicago, New York City, and University of Girona in Spain)
My project, “Soundwalks and the Embodiment of Sonic Immigrant Enclaves” is constituted by the sonic analysis of the acoustic territories built by the cultural spatial codes embedded in soundscapes from diverse communities in two major cities: NYC, with more heterogeneous enclaves, and Chicago, delimited with geographically segregated enclaves. The paper will take into consideration the process of the soundwalk, as a field research tool in the experience and identification of cultural codification of sounds. The presenter will engage in a closer observation of the role of sound, in the intersection and adaptation of the immigrant dwelling and its effects on urban development. During the second part of the lecture, Gutierrez will lead a soundwalk, demonstrating and sharing common techniques used by the sound ecologist.