Ellen Waterman’s creative and research practices are all about listening together across and through distance and difference. When I spoke with her during our socially distanced summer of the pandemic, I was interested to hear how our current situation has influenced her thinking about what it means to create sound and sound-based work together. What follows is an interview that still attempts to be spontaneous and to listen, even in written form.
Sound Pedagogy – Teaching the Audible Dimensions of Poetry: A Conversation (plus clips and sample syllabus) with Chris Mustazza (Post)
In 2018 I had the opportunity to visit one of Chris Mustazza’s interdisciplinary literature classes taught at the University of Pennsylvania, a course called Poetry Audio Lab: Modernism & Sound Studies. I was amazed at how seamlessly he had woven questions of poetics, performance, media history, and digital approaches to listening and analysis into his syllabus. As one of the early experimenters in teaching poetry through a major audio poetry archive (PennSound), and as a regular collaborator with Al Filreis, another innovator in this area who draws upon the audio archive in his wide-reaching ModPo MOOC, talking to Chris about teaching proved a unique opportunity to think about rationale, methods and effects of teaching poetry with sound.
In May, I reached out to Leah VanDyk shortly after she was awarded a Killam scholarship for her research in environmental humanities. Having met Leah before and heard her present at the “Text/Sound/Performance” conference in Dublin, Ireland in April 2019, I was excited to catch up with her and hear about her ongoing research. As I quickly found out, while her research focuses on environmental humanities, pedagogy, and accessibility, Leah is also often thinking about serendipitous moments activated through sound.
The transition wasn’t gradual; it happened over night. In March 2020, due to the global COVID19 pandemic, university classes and seminars, research meetings, supervisory chats, scholarly conferences, and more, all moved online. Suddenly the screen became the office, the boardroom, and the classroom. Suddenly the screen became the sole mediator of collective thinking, discussing, and sharing of information. While some might argue for the efficacy of this collective move online, Stephen J. Neville—who would have presented at the SpokenWeb Listening, Sound, Agency symposium this July—published early research on the flip side of online videoconferencing, discovering the racist and misogynist underpinning of many so-called Zoom-bombing attacks (co-authored with Prof. Greg Elmer and Anthony Glyn Burton). Here I ask him a few further questions about his latest, highly relevant research.
As sound scholars, we can sometimes take for granted the existence of a sonic trace to blow open our research. However, if you’re working between sound and Black Studies like Dr. Kristin Moriah, Assistant Professor of English at Queen’s University, contending with sonic absence shapes—and often compels—the work. Kristin’s research examines Black performance and recording, spanning from Black feminist political mobilization against lynching in the United States to African-American performers in Berlin during the fin-de-siècle. We discussed the intrinsic relationship between Black activism and Black soundscapes via music, poetics, and oration, and its importance toward liberation during this pertinent contemporary moment.
Article, Interviews, SPOKENWEBLOG | 19th century, A Voice from the South, African-American literature, archive, Arrested Development, Berlin, Black feminism, Black Lives Matter, Black performance, fin-de-siècle, Ida B. Wells, Kristin Moriah, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Queen's University, Sonic colour line, The Red Record
Situated at the intersection of sound and literature, artist and scholar Dr. Eric Schmaltz exemplifies the flexible thinking proper to such an innovative, interdisciplinary field. Recently, I spoke with Dr. Schmaltz about his upcoming critical work— the radical potential of silence and of body in the formation of a poetics of the ‘unvoice’—and of the sounds, important, informing his recent research activities. Most meaningfully, our conversation speaks to the possibilities inflecting our ever-growing sound studies scape; the connected and vital work of confronting our literary histories.
Article, Interviews, SPOKENWEBLOG | Audiotexts, Avant-Garde, Body, Brandon Labelle, Canada, Eric Schmaltz, Gerry Shikatani, Listening-Sound-Agency-Forum, Literary Histories, NourbeSe Philip, PennSound, performance, Poetics of Unvoice, Silence
Finding spaces and opportunities that enable you to make use of all of your skills and experiences in meaningful ways can be a challenge as you navigate academic studies. As such, it’s always refreshing to speak with someone like Dr. Teresa Connors who has successfully brought together her artistic vision and creative practice and the world of data and research to create magnificent audiovisual installations.
Article, Interviews, SPOKENWEBLOG | audiovisual installation, Canada, ecological performativity, environment, International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Listening-Sound-Agency-Forum, Newfoundland, Teresa Connors
I reached out to Junting Huang, a Ph.D candidate at Cornell University, in May. Amidst my own encounters with the shifting soundscapes of the pandemic quarantine, I was excited to hear more about his paper, exploring the soundscapes of political unrest in Taiwan. Our correspondence, over numerous emails and international borders, suggests that despite these often isolating circumstances, good conversation persists.
SpokenWeb research affiliate Samuel Mercier was interviewed by Radio-Canada about the project and the discovery by the Concordia University team of the Alan Lord collection. He used the opportunity to talk about the project in general and about his field work on the French archives. Gravel le matin is one of the most popular shows […]