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Symposia

Listening, Sound, Agency: An International Scholarly Symposium

Listening to sound entails scenarios of subjection and agency. In Althussarian terms we might say that we are persistently interpellated, or hailed into positions of listening subjects in society, requiring us to engage in or with the cultural assumptions and techniques that those listening positions entail. But listening may also represent a capacity for agency. In Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance, Brandon LaBelle, elaborates upon this idea, stating that to listen is “to perceive the ever-changing relations in which the self is always embedded.” As LaBelle proceeds to explore a series of sonic figures, he outlines a complex roster of listening modalities in which listening is inherently relational.

The SpokenWeb Symposium aims to explore a broad range of disciplinary and methodological approaches that reflect upon the relationship between our three keywords: Listening, Sound, and Agency. The event prioritizes the development of new theories and practices for underrepresented voices in audio archives. It will feature a plenary talk from Dylan Robinson (Queen’s University; Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts) and a collaborative talk on “Sound, Speed and Disability” from Jonathan Sterne (McGill) and Mara Mills (NYU). The entire symposium will be live-streamed and open to the public.

Conference Schedule

Day 1 - Friday, 17 July 2020

- Coffee and Light Breakfast

- Opening Remarks

1.1 - Plenary Panel: Ethical Listening and Learning: A panel that presents case studies exploring practice-based methods in oral history and the ethics of listening in indigenous and other communities.
Chair: TBA

  • Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan (Brock U) “Pivoting towards a Key Change: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Sonic Production to facilitate Embodied Understanding”;
  • Steven High (Concordia U) “The Pedagogy and Practice of Listening to Living Archives”;
  • Smaro Kamboureli (U Toronto) “Storying Chrystos’s Oral Life Story: The Making of an Archive”.

1.2A - Voice Technologies and Materials: Interdisciplinary approaches to sound, noise and the mediated voice.
Chair: TBA

  • Stephen J. Neville (York U) “Digital assistants as Technologies of the Self: Auditory surveillance and Neoliberal Subjectivity”
  • Philippe Aubert Gauthier, Georges Roussel, François Proulx, Nicolas Bernier (UQAM) "Listening to Acoustic Metamaterials: A futuristic speculation on acoustic lens"
  • Karine Bouchard (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières) “Listening to Noise in the Art Gallery: A Way to Challenge the Visitor’s Experience”

1.2B - Archives of Historical Listening: Histories of listening in different political and media contexts.
Chair: TBA

  • Caroline Kita (U St. Louis) "Anxious Ears: Listening to Postwar German Radio”;
  • Renée Altergott (Princeton U) “The Listener as Colonized: The Phonograph and the Scramble for Africa”;
  • Kevin McNeilly (UBC) “Sounding the Living Archive: Listening with Dálava”.

LUNCH (off campus, not provided)

1.3 – Plenary Talk: Dylan Robinson (Queen’s University; Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts). A talk about decolonial listening practices based on Robinson’s book, Against Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies (2020).
Moderated by: TBA

Dylan Robinson is a xwélméxw (Stó:lō) writer, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, and associate professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is coeditor of Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action in and beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and co-curator of Soundings, an internationally touring exhibition of Indigenous art scores.

1.4A - Sonic Spaces: A panel on space, sound, and listening.
Chair: TBA

  • Andre Furlani (Concordia U) “Sound Walks/ Sounds Walk”;
  • Klara Du Plessis (Concordia U) “From Poetry Reading to Performance Art: The Agency of Deep Curation Practice”.
  • Julia Polyck-O’Neill (Brock U) “Lisa Robertson’s Archive, Singular and Collective: Feminist Subversions to Institutional Memory”

1.4B - Hearing Voices/Auditory Hallucinations: A panel on disembodied voices from the disciplinary perspectives of Virtual Reality, Psychiatry and literary performance.
Chair: TBA

  • Jon Saklofske and Deanna Fong (Acadia University; Concordia U) “Reversing the Sacrifice: Auditory verbal hallucination and the productive disruption of localization in Virtual Reality experiences”;
  • Robert Stacey (U Ottawa) “Sounding Degree Zero: Listening to Zombies, Hearing Ourselves”
  • Kevin Zemmour, Philippe-Aubert Gauthier, and Sandrine Rousseau (U Montreal) “Listening to Our Voices Experience” Project: Empathy for voice hearers”.

1.5 - Plenary Event: Sound Artists Performances and Panel
Moderated by: Ali Barillaro, Klara Du Plessis, Andrew Roberge, Emma Telaro
A curated panel of three sound artists (Julieanna Preston, Danya McLeod, Teresa Connors) speaking about their creative practice with examples from their performances. Graduate students from Concordia will facilitate this session and lead the Q&A with artists.

 

Day 2 - Saturday, 18 July 2020

- Coffee and Light Breakfast

2.1A - Queer Voice and Agency: Sound as resonating queerly through and across bodies and communities.
Chair: TBA

  • Moynan King (York U) “Queer Resonance: Trans Vocality and Transtemporal Collaboration”;
  • Mathieu Aubin (Concordia U) “Listening for Queer Sonic Resonances in the Sir George Williams University Poetry Series”;
  • Victoria Roskams (Oxford) “Queer Listening to Trilby and Teleny”.

2.1B – Machine Listening and Voice Interfaces: A panel that explores methods of listening to literary performance through audio signal analysis and graphic user interfaces.
Chair: TBA

  • Chris Mustazza (U Penn) “Distant Listening as Hermeneutic Method: Computational Prostheses, Sonic Genre, and the Poetic Audiotext”;
  • Adam Hammond and Samantha Greco (U Toronto) “Voice Work”: The Politics of Racialized Voice in Contemporary Performances of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God;
  • Jentery Sayers (U of Victoria) “The Design of Voice User Interfaces: Some Histories and Their Implications for Media Studies”.

2.2A - Institutional Sound Archives: The ethics of accessing, using, and teaching university-held sound collections.
Chair: TBA

  • Isabella Wang (SFU) “Reactivating the Spoken Webb: Phyllis Webb’s Archival Recordings as Performative Synergy Paper”;
  • Leah Van Dyk (U Calgary) “Listenings of the (in)Accessible: Community Building and Public-Facing Pedagogy in Audio Archives”;
  • Jason Wiens (U Calgary) “The Sound of the Found: Ethics, Appropriative Poetics, and the Sir George Williams Reading Series”.

2.2B - Unvoicing: A panel about the politics and poetics of voice and silence.
Chair: TBA

  • Eric Schmaltz (Sheridan) “Poetics of the Unvoice: The Mouths That Do Not Speak in the Poetries of M. NourbeSe Philip and Gerry Shikatani”;
  • Kristin Moriah (Queen’s U) “Playing the Red Record: Ida B. Wells and the Politics of Voice”;
  • Katharina Fuerholzer (U Penn) “Aphasic Poetry and the Ethics of Listening”.

LUNCH (Off campus, not provided)

2.3 A – Music as Sound: Listening to the politics of music and sound performance.
Chair: TBA

  • Kate Galloway (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) “Wood, Grain, Language”;
  • Ellen Waterman (Carleton U) "Imagining Otherness Then and Now: Patria Three: The Greatest Show and Anthropologies imaginaires”;
  • Junting Huang (Cornell U) “Animating Sound Bodies: Listening to Nakasi in Taiwan’s Labor Movement”.

2.3 B - Corporeal Listening: Listening to the body through textual and graphic scores and media formats.
Chair: TBA

  • Katherine McLeod and Emily Murphy (Concordia U; UBCO) “bill bissett: technoscores for voice-movement”;
  • Shannon Maguire (Algoma University) “Noise, Resistance and Sonic Composition in Leonora Carrington’s Paintings and Prose”.
  • Andrew McEwan (Brock U) “‘Selvesothers’ in Performance: Hannah Weiner’s Community Performance Hearing-Voices Listening”

2.4 Plenary Talk: Jonathan Sterne (McGill) and Mara Mills (NYU)
Moderated by Jason Camlot (Concordia U)

Of Tape and Time: Compressing and Expanding Sound in the Analog Era

This talk examines the development of analog time-compression and time-expansion technology in the analog tape era. While traditional tape playback could not be sped up or slowed down without affecting the pitch of playback, after World War II a number of devices that could overcome this problem became available. While still quite expensive, they were taken up by blind readers, avant-garde composers, educators, broadcasters, cryptographers, speech researchers, and communication engineers—all populations who had an interest in manipulating playback speed. While the technology is now ubiquitous today and available in standard software like Audible, Pro Tools, and YouTube, this earlier generation’s reflections on tape and time provide new clues into the meaning and politics of media playback.

Mara Mills is an Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University who works at the intersection of disability studies and media studies. Her book On the Phone: Hearing Loss and Communication Engineering (forthcoming from Duke University Press) argues the significance of phonetics and deaf education to the emergence of “communication engineering” in early twentieth-century telephony. This concept and set of practices later gave rise to information theory, digital coding, and cybernetics—along with new electroacoustic tools and a revised understanding of human speech and hearing. Mills is currently working on the history of optical character recognition and, with Jonathan Sterne, she is co-authoring a book titled Tuning Time: Histories of Sound and Speed.

Jonathan Sterne is James McGill Professor of Culture and Technology at McGill University. He is author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke 2012), The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003); and numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture. He is also editor of The Sound Studies Reader (Routledge, 2012) and co-editor of The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age (Minnesota, 2016). He is at work on two books: Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment, and Tuning Time: Histories of Sound and Speed, co-authored with Mara Mills, and beginning a project on artificial intelligence and culture.

2.5 Plenary Event: Montreal Poets in Performance:
Hosted by: TBA
Kaie Kellough and Tanya Evanson, with visuals by Kevin Lo.

Travel

Getting to Montreal

Montreal is easily accessible by planes and trains from all the major cities in North America and Europe. Please note that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), requires anyone, including U.S. citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea to have a passport or other appropriate secure document.

From the Airport

The cheapest way to get downtown from the airport is to take the new airport bus, Route 747, which will bring you directly to the metro system and runs 24/7. The fare is $10 and functions as a day pass for the Montreal metro system, or can be purchased at 14$ for a weekend pass (Friday 4PM to Monday 5AM). Taxis are also available and charge a flat rate of $40 from the airport to downtown Montreal. Other destinations charge by meter and begin at 17$. Travelers can also request Uber pickups from two locations: Door 6 on the Departures level and Door 20.

From the Train Station and Bus Station:

Gare Central train station is within walking distance from Concordia (if you have a suitcase on wheels), or a very cheap taxi ride. The Bus station is at Berri, east of where Concordia is located. To get to Concordia or the hotels from there you may either take the green line going west, from Berri-UQAM to Guy-Concordia, or take the 24 bus that runs along Sherbrooke, going west. 

Getting Around Montreal

The Montreal metro system is the fastest and most cost effective way to get around the city. While individual tickets are $3.50, a three day pass is $19.50 (and will last through the conference).

Metro operating hours are Monday to Friday and Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. The average wait time between trains is eight minutes and three minutes during rush hour. For more information about public transportation in Montreal, visit www.stm.info or download the STM smartphone app. 

If you prefer getting around by taxi you may find them in front of your hotel, at popular landmarks, or call taxi coop at 514-725-9885 though note that Ubers are generally cheaper. Also, should the weather prove appropriate, you want to take advantage of the Bixi bicycle rental system that is set up throughout the Montreal metropolitan area. Visit https://montreal.bixi.com/en for more information. 

By taxi/ride-share:

If you prefer getting around by taxi, it’s always very easy to flag one down on the street. You’ll also find them in front of your hotel, or at one of the city’s many taxi stands. 

Uber is also a viable option to get around Montreal.

By bike:

If the weather is suitable, you may want to take a ride around Montreal using the Bixi bicycle rental service which is available 24/7. The locations of nearby Bixi terminals can be tracked through the Bixi app, downloadable via the Google Play Store or the App Store. For more information on Bixi’s services, visit https://montreal.bixi.com/en/how-it-works.

Accommodations

Please book your rooms as soon as possible.

We recommend these accommodation options with rooms available:

  • The Grey nuns residence. Right on campus and highly recommended. The following rates have been negotiated – arrival July 16 departing July 21, 2020. 10% discount on the standard rates at time of booking (valid on the room types with a shared washroom). Our discount code is SPSY2020. 
  • Chateau Versailles - A quaint boutique next to campus
  • Le Nouvel Hotel (1740 René-Lévesque West Montréal) - Right next to campus
  • Marriott Residence Inn Westmount - Nice hotel close to campus

When booking hotels, ask about the Concordia Corporate University rate. Visit https://www.concordia.ca/alumni-friends/benefits-services/off-campus/hotel-discounts.html for more information about booking.

The SpokenWeb Symposium 2019: Resonant Practices in Communities of Sound

The submission for papers is open until February 15th, the results will be announced by late February. Please see the Call for Papers here.

We also invite proposals from students for research creation involving SFU literary audio archives. Please see this CFP here.

Notable Events

Dr. Jennifer Lynn Stoever (SUNY Binghamton) - Opening Plenary
“Sonifying Race, Surveilling Space: The Sonic Color Line and the Listening Ear”

May 30, 2019 (Day 1) - 9:30-10:45am

For more information, click here.

 

The Politics and Poetics of Mediated Sound
Performances of poetic work by Jordan Abel, Oana Avasilichioaei, and Jordan Scott

May 30, 2019 (Day 1) - 5:30-7:00pm

For more information, click here.

 

Jason Camlot (Concordia University) - Concluding Plenary
The (Dis)articulating Voice of the Phonograph: Early Spoken Recordings and the Sound of the Literary

May 31, 2019 (Day 2) - 4:45-5:45pm

For more information, click here.

 

Conference Schedule

The program can be downloaded here.

Accommodations

Participants who wish to stay at a SFU Burnaby Campus, may book according to the instructions provided here. Otherwise, they should seek accommodations in downtown Vancouver.

The Literary Audio Symposium: A Free-to-Attend Conference

Digitized spoken-audio archives have proliferated over the past two decades, making a wide range of historically significant analog spoken recordings originally captured in different media formats accessible to listeners and scholars for the first time. Online repositories like PennSound and the Cylinder Archive Project, have begun to transform previously multi-format collections into a massive resource, the potential of which is just beginning to be realized. Still, many local audio archives with recordings that document literary events remain either inaccessible or, if digitized, largely disconnected from each other. Given the potential usefulness of online audio archives for scholars, teachers and the general public, The Literary Audio Symposium aims to explore possibilities around a coordinated and collaborative approach to literary historical study, digital development and critical and pedagogical engagement with diverse collections of spoken recordings.

The Symposium emerges from a joint venture of the AMP Lab and TAG Centre, COHDS: Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and the Concordia University Libraries, all based at Concordia, in collaboration with literary scholars, digital humanists and librarian/archivists from the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and Simon Fraser University, and local community partners with unique analogue holdings.  Invited participants include colleagues from McGill U, U Victoria, U Texas, Austin, UCSB, and The Canadian Centre for Architecture.

This symposium will offer a productive scene of discussion and collaboration between academic researchers, librarians and archivists and emerging scholars and students, as well as community-based cultural and literary practitioners.  The primary aims of The Literary Audio Symposium are to share knowledge and provide discussion and debate about

1) new forms of historical and critical scholarly engagement with coherent collections of spoken recordings;

2) digital preservation, aggregation techniques, asset management and infrastructure to support sustainable access to diverse collections of archival spoken audio recordings;

3) techniques and tools for searching and visualizing corpora of spoken audio (for features relevant to humanities research and pedagogy); and

4) innovative ways of mobilizing digitized spoken and literary recordings within pedagogical and public contexts.

These objectives will be met through a structured set of keynote topic-organizing panels, tool demonstrations, case-study presentations, and collaborative workshop discussions, led by experts from a variety of relevant backgrounds including Literature, Library, Archives and Information Science, Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Computer Science, and Communications and Media History.  Each day of the Symposium will be initiated by a plenary presentation that frames key questions concerning one of the four key symposium themes, to be followed by hands-on presentations of relevant digital platforms and tools, case-study presentations that elaborate upon the day’s theme, followed by collaborative workshop discussion that will debate, reflect upon, and formulate new approaches to engaging with the implications of the day’s materials.

From a range of relevant perspectives, The Literary Audio Symposium will enable the collaborative formulation of answers to core questions surrounding the preservation, digital presentation and critical use of humanities-oriented spoken audio materials, and temporal media holdings of cultural significance, in general.  Our work will benefit scholars, students and society by establishing processes for making a generally dispersed corpus of cultural heritage widely available in useful and meaningful ways.power

spokenweb2016_poster-03

Conference Schedule

Day 1 – FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd

The Uses of Spoken Audio Collections in Research and Creation: New Literary Methods

9:30–-10:00—LB 361—Breakfast

10:00—12:00—LB 322 — Keynotes

Al Filreis (U Pennsylvania)
“The Digital Curation of Audiotexts for Literary Research “

Darren Wershler (Concordia U)
“A Political Economy of Audio Collections, or, The Politics of Audiotextual Inheritance”

Bill Kennedy (Intelligent Machines) “New Contexts for Old Voices: Rethinking the Literary Archive”

12:00—1:30 Lunch (off campus)

1:30—3:30—LB 322—Panel I

Michelle Levy (SFU) and Rebecca Dowson (SFU)
“Data-Intensive Humanities Research: Strategies for Collaboration and Interoperability”

Michael Nardone (Concordia U)
“phonotext.ca: Towards a General Index of Literary Audio”

3:30-4:00—LB 361—Nutritional Break

4:00—6:00 —LB 322—Panel II

Deanna Fong (SFU)
“Itinerant Audio-biography: Digitizing, Editing and Managing the Roy Kiyooka Digital Audio Archive”

Tony Power (SFU)
"Literary Audio in SFU Library's Contemporary Literature Collection"

6:15-7:15—LB 361— SPECIAL EVENT—Poetry Listening

An Archival Listening to Robert Creeley reading at Sir George Williams U, Fall 1970 (with introduction by Frank Davey and a silent Robin Blaser in the audience). Organized by Katherine McLeod (Concordia U). Approx. 1 hr.

Day 2 – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3rd

Digital Preservation: Digitization, Cataloging, Storage, and Access

9:30 —10:00—LB 361—Breakfast

10:00—12:00—LB322—Keynotes

Welcome Remarks from Guylaine Beaudry (University Librarian, Concordia U)

David Seubert (UCSB)
“A Digitization Strategy for the Age of Abundance”

Jonathan Sterne (McGill U)
“Understanding Audio Media Formats”

12:00—1:30 Lunch (off campus)

1:30—3:30—LB 362—Panel I

Jared Wiercinski (Concordia U), Tomasz Neugebauer (Concordia U) and Tim Walsh (Canadian Centre for Architecture)

“Selecting an Access and Digital Preservation Platform for Humanities Research in Audio and Video Format: Avalon & Archivematica”

3:30-4:00—LB 361—Nutritional Break

4:00—6:00 —LB 314—Panel II

Lee Hannigan (U Alberta)
“Not Listening: Preliminary Initiatives for Inventorying and Cataloguing Literary Audio Corpora”

Michael O’Driscoll (U Alberta)
“Audiographic Coding, or, Whose Sound is this Anyway?”

Cecily Devereux (U Alberta)
“SpokenWest: Creative Reading Recordings at UAlberta, 1969-1986”

Day 3 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4th

Digital Audio Tools: Sound Searching and Visualization

9:30 —10:00—LB 361—Breakfast

10:00—12:00—LB322—Keynotes

Steve McLaughlin and Tanya Clement (U Texas, Austin)
“High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship”

12:00—1:30 Lunch (off campus)

1:30—3:30—LB 362—Panel I

Patrick Feaster (U Indiana, Bloomington)

“Putting Existing Tools to Unanticipated Purposes in Audio Digitization”

Steven High (Concordia U)
“Beyond the Juicy Quotes Syndrome: Building Digital Tools and Platforms in Partnership with Source Communities"

3:30-4:00—LB 361—Nutritional Break

4:00—6:00 —LB 362—Panel II

Ian Ferrier (Wired on Words)

“The Wired on Words Analogue Audio Collection”

Louis Rastelli (Archive Montreal)
“The Audio Materials of Archive Montreal”

Day 4 – MONDAY, DECEMBER 5th

Teaching with Sound: Digital Audio Pedagogy

9:30 —10:00—LB 361—Breakfast

10:00—12:00—LB 322—Keynote

Jentery Sayers (U Victoria)

“Prototyping Impressions of Sound: Pedagogy across the Lab and Gallery"

12:00—1:30 Lunch (off campus)

1:30—3:30—LB 322—Panel I

Catherine Cormier-Larose (Poetry In Voice/Les voix de la Poésie)
“Poetry In Voice: Teaching Poetry With Audio”

Kevin Austin (Concordia U)
“Ear Training in Electroacoustics"

3:30-4:00—LB 361—Nutritional Break

4:00—6:00 —LB 322—Panel II

Annie Murray (U Calgary)
“Overcoming Institutional Barriers to Engagement with Sound and Media Archives"

Jason Wiens (U Calgary)
“Incorporating Archival Audio Practices in Teaching”

Jordan Bolay (U Calgary)
“Re-teaching Reading and Listening Through Experimental Poetry and Audio Archives"

6:30-8:00 —LB 362 (Seminar Room)—Proposed Working Dinner (for members of SSHRC PG team)

spokenweb2016_poster-01

Participants

KEVIN AUSTIN (Concordia U)

“Ear Training in Electroacoustics"

This talk will introduce a variety of issues surrounding ‘ear-training’, or rather, refined hearing, in the domain of electroacoustics (referring to both acoustical engineering and, with examples, electroacoustic music). The starting premise of this talk is that hearing / listening, is all perception. The presentation will frame core questions surrounding ‘how’ auditory perception functions, and therefore considerations of the applicability of different kinds of tools to different data sets. This will include matters of sonic identity and character, and sonic transformation with understanding more deeply various models applicable to pattern identification for manual and automated sound searches.  The talk will also include a brief exploration of how symbolic notation / representation may be approached to develop concepts for multi-dimensional hearing, the fundamental proposition being that ‘how’ we hear will be at the educational core of auditory perception. The refinement of hearing increases the depth of perception, a skill applicable across disciplines, from music to text-sound composition, to spoken literature.

Kevin Austin, Professor of Music at Concordia University, is a Montreal-based composer, educator, arts animator and electroacoustics archivist. A specialist in electroacoustics – all areas, composition, theory [electroacoustics and music], ear-training and music history. For 25 years he was the Coordinator of the Concordia Electroacoustic Studies area at Concordia University. He was a Charter and Founding Member of the CEC (Canadian Electroacoustic Community), and the director of The Concordia Archival Project (CAP). This important initiative, funded by Heritage Canada through Canadian Culture Online, using the Concordia Tape Collection – over 3,000 pieces, has produced the largest single primary resource for the history of electroacoustics in Canada available anywhere in the world.

 

JORDAN BOLAY (U Calgary)

“Re-teaching reading and listening through experimental poetry and audio archives”

"How do you grow a poet?" Robert Kroetsch famously asks in his long poem Seed Catalogue. The second half of the 20th century saw many new poets and types of poetry growing in Canada. Of particular interest to scholars (and of particular difficulty for students) are the formally experimental poets of the post-structural movement, including Earle Birney, bp nicol, and occasional works by Kroetsch (i.e. The Ledger). This paper will examine how audio recordings of these poets' work, housed in the University of Calgary's Special Collections Archive, can give direction to students' readings but also destabilise the notion of singular linear ways of reading or hearing a text. My hope is that this research will demonstrate both the importance of oral readings in the classroom and of audio recordings in the archive.

Jordan Bolay is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Calgary. His research focuses on the intersection of contemporary Canadian poetics, archives and methodologies of the archeology of discourse and knowledge. He is presently focusing on the writing of Canadian poet Robert Kroetsch and of the Canadian West in a broader sense. His participation in The Literary Audio Symposium will complement his research interests and allow him to apply his knowledge of Kroetsch to a consideration of the possibilities for research and teaching of the Kroetsch audio recordings in the University of Calgary collections.

 

JASON CAMLOT (Concordia U)

“Digital Analysis of Spoken Performance: Praat, Sonic Visualizer and Melodyne"

This presentation will demonstrate three digital tools designed for distinct disciplinary or technical purposes as they might be applied to a use in the analysis of literary recordings. Praat, designed by linguists for "doing phonetics by computer" will be explored as a model for the granular micro-analysis of pitch contours in performed poetry. Sonic Visualizer, designed for the visualization of large scale musical compositions, will be applied to the analysis of the pacing and structure of hour-length documentary poetry readings, and Melodyne, a software tool that converts wave-forms into MIDI data, designed for pitch correction and signal separation, will be explored as a model for tangible interaction and manipulation of spoken recordings. Together, the tools will be discussed as models for engaging with literary audio in varying scales of proximity and distance, and will be designed to encourage discussion about the kinds of tools literary and historical scholars need to pursue analytical work with sound in digital environments.

Camlot's research of the past decade has focused on the history of literary sound recordings and their mobilization through digital platforms and tools. Recent articles relevant to the symposium include "Historicist Audio Forensics: The Archive of Voices as Repository of Material and Conceptual Artifacts," in Journal 19 (2015), "Le Foster Poetry Conference, 1963" in Voix & Images, "The Sound of Canadian Modernisms: The Sir George Williams University Poetry Series, 1966-1974." Journal of Canadian Studies, and several articles in the special issue of Amodern on "The Poetry Series" that he has co-edited with Christine Mitchell (2015). His recent digital project is spokenweb.ca. He is Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Concordia University in Montreal.

 

TANYA CLEMENT (U Texas at Austin)

“High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship”

Co-Presented with Steve McLaughlin.  Humanists have few opportunities to use advanced technologies for analyzing large, messy sound archives. In response to this lack, the HiPSTAS (High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship) Project is developing a research environment that uses machine learning and visualization to automate processes for describing unprocessed spoken-word collections of keen interest to humanists. This paper describes how we have developed, as a result of HiPSTAS, a machine learning system called ARLO (Adaptive Recognition with Layered Optimization). I describe a use case for finding moments of applause in the PennSound collection, which includes approximately 36,000 files comprising 6,200 hours of poetry performances and related materials. We conclude with a brief discussion about our preliminary results and some observations on the efficacy of using machine learning to facilitate generating data about unprocessed spoken-word sound collections in the humanities.

Clement's research centers on infrastructure information impacting academic research, research libraries, and the creation of research tools/resources in the digital humanities. Projects include High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship, "Improving Access to Time-Based Media through Crowdsourcing and Machine Learning" project. Important articles include: "Measured Applause: Toward a Cultural Analysis of Audio Collections." Cultural Analytics 1; "A Rationale of Audio Text." Digital Humanities Quarterly 10; "The Ear and the Shunting Yard: Meaning Making as Resonance in Early Information Theory." Information & Culture 49; and, "Distant Listening: On Data Visualisations and Noise in the Digital Humanities." Text Tools for the Arts. Digital Studies 3.

 

CATHERINE CORMIER-LAROSE (Poetry In Voice)

“Poetry In Voice: Teaching Poetry With Audio”

The Poetry In Voice project is a recitation contest for Canadian high schools. Its aim is to encourage young readers and students to become interested and involved in an appreciation of poetry through an engagement in the live, spoken performance of literary works. The project archives every one of its organized live readings, as well as selections from professional poets, as a means of providing modelling materials for its student users. Recordings of the recitations are essential to the project as they stand documentary examples for the students who use the PIV website. 875 Canadian high schools were involved in the PIV project last year; 50 000 students recited a poem at school level as a result of this involvement, and over a half a million people visited the PIV site. This presentation will report on the approach to live and online pedagogy through poetry performance that this project has pursued.

Catherine Cormier-Larose is the Quebec French-language director of the Poetry in Voice project which organizes recitation competitions and online teaching tools to encourage poetry performance and appreciation in high schools across Canada. As the longstanding artist director of Les Productions ARREUH which organizes an annual festival, gala and numerous events of literary performance, she is deeply involved in the development of public reading as an important facet of community culture.

 

CECILY DEVEREUX (U Alberta)

“SpokenWest: Creative Reading Recordings at UAlberta, 1969-1986”

From the late 1960s to the 1990s, the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta developed and maintained a collection of cassette recordings of Canadian writers reading from their work. These materials were part of a larger collection of audio cassettes used primarily for teaching. Materially ephemeral and in some cases absolutely unique, the cassettes represent not only an important record from the department that houses the longest-running Writer in Residence program in Canada, they are also part of a much larger national archive of creative communities in the

post-Centennial era in Canada. They thus serve at this time as a compelling case study of non-professional, intermittent, institutionally housed recordings of late twentieth-century author readings in Canada--and, crucially, of the lives of the media on which they have been reproduced. This paper considers the nature and the implications of anachronistic and disintegrating media for the teaching and study of late twentieth-century literary culture in Canada, and makes a case for the importance of digital preservation for public access to cultural histories.

Cecily Devereux is Chair of the Research Board of the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Literature Centre/Centre de Littérature Canadienne at the University of Alberta. She has been working with student research assistants and colleagues in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta for more than a decade to catalogue, safely store, and move toward the preservation and digitization of the department's collection of cassette and reel-to-reel recordings of Canadian writers reading from their work.

 

REBECCA DOWSON (Simon Fraser U)

“Data-Intensive Humanities Research: Strategies for Collaboration and Interoperability”

This presentation (co-presented with Michelle Levy) will consider how faculty, students and librarians can best work together to ensure that rigorous stands for database design, data normalization, and data aggregation are met. We will provide a survey of available options for working with different formats, demonstrate the importance of standards in the collection of metadata, and suggest strategies and tools that can be used to normalize and aggregate data with the goal of making our data interoperable with that of others. We will also suggest potential open source tools well suited to the visualization of audio data. Our particular focus will be on issues that arise with audio data, how it differs from other forms of textual and visual data, how cross-institutional platforms can be leveraged to ensure interoperability, and how libraries and labs can assist in the process of building infrastructure.

Rebecca Dowson is the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Simon Fraser University. In this role, she coordinates support for digital research training and knowledge exchange through the SFU Library's Research Commons, provides research consultations on approaches to digital research and scholarly communication, acts as the Library liaison to grant-funded digital humanities projects, and is a member of the Digital Humanities Innovation Lab Planning Committee at SFU. Rebecca is also responsible for administering SFU's Open Access Fund and coordinating related Library outreach events associated with scholarly communication. Her research interests include the intersection of libraries and digital humanities, with a particular interest in digital cultural heritage projects, and new forms of scholarly publishing.

 

PATRICK FEASTER (University of Indiana, Bloomington)

“Putting Existing Tools to Unanticipated Purposes in Audio Digitization”

As we go about surveying software applications that are available to us for cultivating our heritage of literary audio in various ways, it’s worth bearing in mind that—with a little creative thinking—we can sometimes put existing tools to uses that differ significantly from their intended ones.

I’ll first illustrate this point in connection with a couple pieces of software recently developed for Indiana University: MediaRIVERS /MediaSCORE, designed to quantify the value and “degralescence” risk of audiovisual collections, and a Physical Object Database designed to track media objects passing through our digital preservation workflow. We created these tools to answer some specific needs which existing software didn’t seem capable of satisfying, but in both cases we’ve ended up putting them to unanticipated uses as our circumstances have evolved—often successfully, but with limitations, as I’ll explain through a brief case study of Orson Welles broadcast recordings held by our Lilly Library.

I’ll then delve into some even more radical cases of repurposing. For the past nine years, I’ve participated in efforts to educe (i.e., “play” or “play back”) older representations of sound on paper, including phonautograms of dramatic oratory recorded by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in the 1850s and 1860s and paper prints made from gramophone discs of poetry recited by inventor Emile Berliner in the 1880s. This work has been carried out primarily with software designed for other spheres of application, such as ImageToSound and AudioPaint, both intended to support experimental sound art. I’ll describe the strategies and challenges involved in applying these programs meaningfully to historical inscriptions, as well as some striking results achieved to date by doing so. However, our need to rely on “repurposed” software in this work is now receding. By way of conclusion, I’ll introduce Picture Kymophone, a new program I’ve written specifically for playing phonautograms and other similar sources, and outline some remaining desiderata for the future.

Patrick Feaster received his doctorate in folklore and ethnomusicology in 2007 from Indiana University Bloomington, where he is now Media Preservation Specialist for the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. A three-time Grammy nominee, co-founder of the First Sounds Initiative, and immediate past president of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, he has been actively involved in locating, making audible, and contextualizing many of the world’s oldest sound recordings.

 

IAN FERRIER (Wired on Words)

“The Wired on Words Analogue Audio Collection”

After curating a spoken word poetry series for over fifteen years, and recording each and every reading and performance over that period, what to we do with the boxes of cassette tapes, mini discs, DAT tapes, and digital audio files on USB that comprise the the collection of audio that documents the events of the series? Ian Ferrier will discuss the nature and significance of the documentation of the Wired on Words reading series that he has curated since 2000, and present his organizations collection as a case study for considering the different kinds of digital development one might take in rendering such a historical series accessible and usable by researchers, artists and the wider public.

Ian Ferrier is a pioneer in Canada's spoken word poetry scene. A musician and composer as well as a poet, he currently tours Canada, the States and Europe in solo performance and with the spoken word/music/dance company For Body and Light. He is a founder of the spoken word and music label Wired on Words, curator and host of Montreal's monthly Words & Music Show which has been presenting poets monthly since 2000, and director of the annual Mile End Poets Festival which started in 2009. essays have appeared in Journal of the Americas and Canadian Theatre Review as well as in the online Canadian Review of Literature in Performance (LITLIVE.CA), a journal he co-founded in 2009. He has taught at the Banff Centre and is a past-president of the Quebec Writers' Federation. In 2011 he was the recipient of what is now the League of Canadian Poets' Golden Beret Award for outstanding contributions to spoken word.

 

AL FILREIS (U Pennsylvania)

“The Digital Curation of Audiotexts for Literary Research”

This talk will draw upon the case of PennSound and its approach to collecting, curating and augmenting content in order to establish a compelling digital environment for the study and appreciation of literary audiotexts. Using PennSound as a starting point, the main aim of this talk will be to frame fundamental questions about methodological approaches to the critical study of literary sound recordings, and will outline some strategies that digital spoken word archives may take to enhance research with these audible materials.

Al Filreis is Kelly Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House, Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, Publisher of Jacket2, and most importantly for the purposes of The Literary Audio Symposium, he is Co-Director of PennSound—all at the University of Pennsylvania. Among his books are Secretaries of the Moon, Wallace Stevens & the Actual World, Modernism from Left to Right, and Counter-Revolution of the Word.

 

DEANNA FONG (Simon Fraser U)

“Itinerant Audio-biography: Digitizing, Editing and Managing the Roy Kiyooka Digital Audio Archive”

This presentation will detail my activities digitizing, developing, annotating, and managing the audio archive of Canadian poet, Roy Kiyooka. Kiyooka's archival fonds at Simon Fraser University contains over 400 analog audio recordings inscribed on a variety of media: cassettes, mini-cassettes, and reel-to-reels. Recorded between 1963 and 1988, a burgeoning period of literary and artistic production, the tapes record the voices of many of Vancouver's avant-garde figures, such as Fred Wah, Daphne Marlatt, Carole Itter, Al Neil, George Bowering, Alvin Balkin, and Gerry Gilbert. The focus of my presentation will be on the archive's non-traditional audio genres, which include conversation, performance, ambient sound, and field recordings. I will outline the material, organizational and ethical challenges that these genres pose, attending to questions of navigation, access, privacy and consent.

Deanna Fong is a poet and PhD student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where her research focuses on the intersections of performance, audio archives, literary communities and intellectual property. She is a member of the federally funded SpokenWeb team, who have developed a web-based archive of digitized audio recordings for literary study. With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Janey Dodd, she co-directs the Fred Wah Archive, and is currently developing the digital audio archive of Canadian artist and poet Roy Kiyooka.

 

LEE HANNIGAN (U Alberta)

"Not Listening: Preliminary Initiatives for Inventorying and Cataloguing Literary Audio Corpora"

This presentation will identify the core questions one must ask upon preliminary examination of an audio collection. The University of Alberta (UA) has hosted and recorded regular reading events since the mid-1960s and holds a collection of recorded poetry readings consisting of over 100 media objects (reel-to-reel, cassette tape and digital formats) containing at least as many hours of audio. This collection, in the process of being inventoried, seems to hold a coherent set of recordings of the UA Writer-in-Residence Program (WiR) that has run uninterrupted for forty years, a series of recorded readings held during the "Poet & Critic Conference" of 1969, and an extensive set of reel-to-reel recordings that hold local readings by poets from across North America. The core research questions to be explored pertain to fundamental issues in cataloguing, organization and prioritization of the materials, in relation to questions of available resources for digitization and development and the identification of potential audiences for segments of the collection.

PhD candidate Hannigan earned his MA from Concordia University in 2015, where he worked for two years as a research assistant with the SpokenWeb project. His Master's Major Research Project, titled "The Critical Archive: A textual analysis of the SpokenWeb project," considered the possibility of studying the literary reading series as a coherent object. Hannigan's first academic publication (Al Flamenco and Aurelio Meza), titled "Reading Series Matter: Performing the SpokenWeb Project," will appear in Making Humanities Matter, part of the Debates in the Digital Humanities series (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). His Doctoral dissertation will be the first material, theoretical, and sociopolitical analysis of the characteristics of the concept of removal in late-20th and 21st-century American poetry. His presentation on the University of Alberta audio holdings will provide important case study material for the symposium, allowing him to frame core questions that are at the centre of his Doctoral research.

 

STEVEN HIGH (Concordia U)

“Beyond the Juicy Quotes Syndrome: Building Digital Tools and Platforms in Partnership with Source Communities"

If the “archival turn” has taught us anything, it is that archives are not neutral sites of storage and preservation. Extractive approaches to data-collection and analysis risk ignoring the ways in which “the archive itself orders the material within its realm, and the possibilities of knowledge production” (Geiger et al, 2010). We must therefore go beyond what Mike Savage calls the “juicy quotes syndrome,” to engage with the project archive as an object of study and to re-imagine how we design and build them. Building on past work as part of Montreal Life Stories, which recorded the life stories of 500 Montrealers displaced by mass violence, we recently embarked on a new project that will result in the Living Archive of Rwandan Exiles and Genocide Survivors. This online archive will enable researchers and community members to follow threads, identify patterns, track changes, map, and listen in new ways to more than 90 hours of video recorded interviews. We intend to do this in partnership with survivors, forging a methodology around participatory database-building where the coding, access conditions and research infrastructure itself serve both university-based researchers and community needs. A toolkit of inter-operable and freely available open source tools is also being developed, and will likewise be developed in collaboration with the source community.

Steven High is the co-founder of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and has spent a number of years on the development of digital tools that will facilitate the analysis of recorded oral history interviews at varying scales. He is also examining the potential of collaboratively produced "living archives" where researchers work closely with 'source communities.' He was a member of the Spokenweb research team and contributed to the special issue of Amodern on oral literature.

 

BILL KENNEDY (Intelligent Machines)

“New Contexts for Old Voices: Rethinking the Literary Archive”

Bill Kennedy is the author of two books of poetry (with Darren Wershler and a team of trusty web robots), Apostrophe (ECW, 2006) and Update (Snare, 2010). A longtime literary organizer, Bill ran the Café May Reading Series in Toronto (with Michael Holmes) in the early 90s, and the Lexiconjury Reading Series (with Angela Rawlings) a decade later. He was also a ten-year Artistic Director of The Scream, an alternative literary festival in Toronto that ended its run in 2011. He has edited and designed several award-winning books poetry through Coach House Books. He currently curates the official bpNichol archive (bpnichol.ca, with Gregory Betts).

In real life, he is the Development Director of Intelligent Machines, a digital consultancy and development agency that works mainly in the arts, education and publishing sectors. He specializes in the theoretical, bureaucratic, technical and design issues that come with building online arts archives. He was the director of the first Artmob team, a York University research project focusing on intellectual property issues in arts archivism. He is currently working on several projects with the University of Berkeley in partnership with the Agile Humanities Agency. He is unreasonably giddy at the possibility of working on an archive of twenty years of Gilles Deleuze’s lectures, newly transcribed from extant audio tapes and translated into English, pending the vicissitudes of funding and the caprice of an uncaring universe.

MICHELLE LEVY (Simon Fraser U)

“Data-Intensive Humanities Research: Strategies for Collaboration and Interoperability”

In this presentation (co-presented with Rebecca Dowson), we will consider how faculty, students and librarians can best work together to ensure that rigorous stands for database design, data normalization, and data aggregation are met. We will provide a survey of available options for working with different formats, demonstrate the importance of standards in the collection of metadata, and suggest strategies and tools that can be used to normalize and aggregate data with the goal of making our data interoperable with that of others. We will also suggest potential open source tools well suited to the visualization of audio data. Our particular focus will be on issues that arise with audio data, how it differs from other forms of textual and visual data, how cross-institutional platforms can be leveraged to ensure interoperability, and how libraries and labs can assist in the process of building infrastructure.

Michelle Levy is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in English at Simon Fraser University (SFU). To the discussions of The Literary Audio Symposium she brings extensive expertise in graduate student training, mentorship, supervision, collaboration in the Digital Humanitie, and researched consideration of humanities metadata and databases, database design/architecture, migrating and aggregating data from various platforms, data normalization; and data analysis/ visualization, across multiple platforms

 

KATHERINE MCLEOD (Concordia U)

"An Archival Listening to Robert Creeley reading at Sir George Williams U, 1970"

Dr. Katherine McLeod is an Assistant Professor, Limited Term Appointment, who teaches Canadian Literature in the Department of English at Concordia University. Her current research consists of two book manuscripts: a collection of essays co-edited with Dr. Jason Camlot, Un-Archiving the Literary Event: CanLit Across Media (under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press) and a monograph that examines poetry readings on CBC Radio in the 1950s-60s. She began these projects as a SSHRC-funded TransCanada Institute Postdoctoral Fellow (University of Guelph) and continued this work as a postdoctoral fellow with SpokenWeb (Concordia). She curates wherepoetsread.ca and, at this symposium, will be organizing the archival listening to Robert Creeley on Friday Dec 2nd.

STEVE McLAUGHLIN (U Texas at Austin)

“High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship”

Co-Presented with Tanya Clement.  Humanists have few opportunities to use advanced technologies for analyzing large, messy sound archives. In response to this lack, the HiPSTAS (High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship) Project is developing a research environment that uses machine learning and visualization to automate processes for describing unprocessed spoken-word collections of keen interest to humanists. This paper describes how we have developed, as a result of HiPSTAS, a machine learning system called ARLO (Adaptive Recognition with Layered Optimization). I describe a use case for finding moments of applause in the PennSound collection, which includes approximately 36,000 files comprising 6,200 hours of poetry performances and related materials. We conclude with a brief discussion about our preliminary results and some observations on the efficacy of using machine learning to facilitate generating data about unprocessed spoken-word sound collections in the humanities.

 

ANNIE MURRAY (U Calgary)

“Overcoming institutional barriers to engagement with sound and media archives”

In this presentation, Murray will address some of the barriers that prevent libraries and archives from developing accessible media archives, and will discuss the path that the University of Calgary is taking to overcome them. She will describe a large-scale audio digitization project currently underway, and how it can benefit the literary recordings in our care. She will outline the themes of fundraising, inter-departmental cooperation, relationship building, and risk taking as keystones in Calgary's approach to developing capacity in the preservation of media-rich archives, with the aim of framing discussion around the prevalence of barriers and the ways around them for large-scale audio digitization projects.

Andrea (Annie) Murray is Associate University Librarian for Archives and Special Collections at the University of Calgary. She oversees significant archival and rare book holdings, particularly in the field of Canadian cultural production. As a Co-Applicant on the Spokenweb project (Camlot, PI), she contributed to the development of the first Spokenweb interface, has co-presented project findings at the conference of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, and has co-authored articles that appeared in First Monday and Digital Humanities Quarterly, with Jared Wiercinski from Concordia University.

 

MICHAEL NARDONE (Concordia U)

“phonotext.ca: Towards a General Index of Literary Audio”

phonotext.ca is a project initiated to develop an open access index of sound recordings related to Canadian poets and poetry. The function of the site is simple: to organize and provide details on sound recordings related to Canadian poetry and poetics; to document the specific format(s) and relevant bibliographic information for each recording; to list where recordings can be located and listened to; and to provide links to recordings that are digitally available. The primary aim of this project is to aid listeners so they may access recorded materials, while emphasizing the importance of the sonic, performative, and medial aspects of poetic works. This presentation will focus on the idea and the challenges of developing such an index, and will be given as part of the symposium focused on the cataloguing of literary audio materials.

Michael Nardone is a PhD candidate at Concordia University's Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, where he is completing his dissertation "Of the Repository: Poetics in a Networked Digital Milieu." His research has been awarded a SSHRC Bombardier CGS Doctoral Award, a J.W. McConnell Doctoral Fellowship, a Concordia U Doctoral Award of Excellence, and an Editing Modernism in Canada Doctoral Stipend. In 2015, he was a PennSound visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Recent articles on poetics, technics, and sound appear in Public Poetics, Leonardo Music Journal, Camera Austria, Jacket2, Canadian Literature, Theatre Research International, and Amodern.

 

TOMASZ NEUGEBAUER (Concordia U)

“Selecting an access and digital preservation platform for humanities research in audio and video format: Avalon & Archivematica”

Concordia University Library selected the combination of Avalon Media System and Archivematica as the access and digital preservation platform for revealing aggregation of a vast and diverse range of audio and video recordings relevant to humanities research. Avalon needs to be combined with software designed specifically for digital preservation tasks that ensure the enduring usability, authenticity, discoverability and accessibility a wide range of media over the very long term. In this presentation (co-delivered by Neugebauer and Wiercinski) we discuss the process of selecting an access and preservation platform and explain which aspects and features of Avalon facilitate the use of humanities audio and video content for unique curation, design and pedagogical-oriented projects.

Tomasz Neugebauer is the Digital Projects & Systems Development Librarian at Concordia University, where he participates in the design, development and implementation of various library applications, including Spectrum Research Repository. His multidisciplinary research experience is focused on open digital repositories, information visualization, and open source software development. He has published in various scholarly and professional journals, including: PLoS One, Information Technology and Libraries, International Journal on Digital Libraries, International Journal of Digital Curation, Art Libraries Journal, Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Systems and Services: International digital library perspectives, and The Indexer. He was the primary investigator on the "Developing an Open Access Digital Repository for Fine Arts Research in Canada" grant (SSHRC, 2013) and an e-Artexte Researcher in Residence, instrumental in the launch of e-Artexte, Artexte's library catalogue and digital repository for contemporary Canadian art publications.

 

MICHAEL O’DRISCOLL (U Alberta)

“Audiographic Coding, or, Whose Sound is this Anyway?”

Proceeding from both Jacques Derrida's insight the "archivization produces as much as it records the event" and Jerome McGann's case for "bibliographic coding," this presentation will consider the status of the digital artifact that is the remediated spokenword object, with particular attention to the "audiographic coding" of the digital file. How does technology listen? And how, in the UAlberta collection, will that listening condition the work of researchers and students of literary performance? SpokenWest will digitize and make publicly available the rich archive of recorded creative readings held at UAlberta since 1969, featuring readings by many authors of international prominence. This panel will introduce the UAlberta collection, which includes four priority fonds, including fifty-six reel to reel recordings produced 1969-82 and twenty-five cassette recordings dated 1973-86, as well as recordings conducted at several major conferences (1969, 1975, 1978) that highlight presentations by major literary figures.

O'Driscoll is co-lead in the development and implementation of a digitized archive of five decades of creative readings at the University of Alberta, and the collaborative design of portable research methodologies and pedagogical strategies focused on the material production, circulation, reception, and analysis of oral literary performance. His disciplinary expertise in the areas of archive theory, poetry and poetics, and material culture studies are relevant to the successful outcome of this project. He has extensive experience in the design and execution of major collaborative research projects. As former Associate Dean Research, he oversaw the activities of the University of Alberta's Arts Resource Centre, a team of nine computing and multimedia experts focused on the support of social science and humanities researchers.

 

TONY POWER (Simon Fraser U)

“Literary Audio in SFU Library's Contemporary Literature Collection”

The Contemporary Literature Collection in SFU Library's Special Collections & Rare Books Division is a large, focused, mature collection of 20th & 21st C. avant-garde/'innovative' poetry in English.  Dating from the founding of the university in 1965, it is comprised primarily of published and archival materials but also includes many audio recordings.  In this talk the collection's curator will provide some background on the CLC as a whole, its history and definition and the collection policy that informs its contents.  With this as context, he will then describe the audio component of the collection - its size and content, the present state of its digitization, as well as the significance of its considerable overlap (as far as writers recorded) with the Sir George Williams poetry series recordings held in the Special Collections at Concordia University in Montreal.  This presentation will be coordinated with other participants from SFU, and in particular with Deanna Fong's presentation on the audio holdings of a single author (Roy Kiyooka) held within the Contemporary Literature Collection.  

Tony Power is a special collections librarian (M.L.S.) at SFU Library.  Since 2000 he has been curator of the Contemporary Literature Collection. The CLC is a large, focused collection of 20th & 21st C. avant-garde/'innovative' poetry in English. It is comprised primarily of published and archival materials but also includes many audio recordings

 

LOUIS RASTELLI (Archive Montreal)

“The Audio Materials of Archive Montreal”

This contribution will present the audio collection held by the non-profit community organization Archive Montreal, which consists of thousands of hours of audio materials relevant to community cultural activities in Montreal from the 1950s to the present in a wide range of formats ranging from wire recordings, reel tape, cassettes, acetates, vinyl, DAT tapes, minidiscs, CDs, etc. How should such a collection be catalogued, digitized and presented online for use in research and community activities? What audiences may such a community-developed collection serve, and how might this collection be enhanced through collaborative efforts around digital preservation platforms and collection aggregation with other kinds of institutions, for example, universities? These are the questions we will seek to explore in bringing forward the ARCMTL materials as a case study for consideration at The Literary Audio Symposium.

Louis Rastelli is the founding director of Archive Montreal (ARCMTL), a non-profit community archive centre which serves as a valuable reference for researchers and provides material for use in exhibits and projects touching on Montreal culture and history. Archive Montreal's preservation activities involve the ongoing acquisition of independently produced local cultural artifacts and publications in multiple formats. Deeply involved in numerous community outreach activities, including the distroboto art dissemination programme, Expozine: Montreal's largest annual small press fair, and a weekly Archive Montreal radio show, on which audio content from the archive is played, ARCMTL's participation will bring extensive experience in the development of a community-focused archive and will contribute not only to discussion of the digital development of ARCMTL's holdings, but to questions of audience and use of the kinds of archival materials.

 

JENTERY SAYERS (U Victoria)

“Prototyping Impressions of Sound: Pedagogy across the Lab and Gallery"

While many digital methodologies rely on tools for recording, analyzing, and visualizing sound, they may also prompt us to "remake" or prototype historical audio. Drawing on research conducted across a humanities lab and art gallery at the University of Victoria, this talk foregrounds the pedagogical affordances of such remaking. It focuses on what may have been the first magnetic recording, conducted in Denmark in 1898 during various experiments with volatile impressions on piano wire. Today, no audio from these experiments exists, and all visual evidence of them is speculative at best. However, enough detail remains to re-perform them with new technologies in the present moment. As a form of laboratory research, prototyping early audio becomes an opportunity to learn about its material composition as well as the embodied contexts of its reproduction. Installing these prototypes in a gallery setting encourages people to test them and also attend to how differences emerge across recordings. As a collaboration involving the arts and humanities, this prototyping process ultimately privileges a historical approach to sound that resists empiricism via screen-based tools and instead fosters a shared space for contingencies to speak.

Jentery Sayers bring expertise in digital pedagogy that involves teaching with sound in humanities contexts. He is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Maker Lab in the Humanities at the University of Victoria. His sound studies publications include, "Making the Perfect Record: From Inscription to Impression in Early Magnetic Recording" (American Literature 85.4) and "An Archaeology of Edison's Metal Box" (Victorian Review 38.2). He is the editor of two forthcoming collections, Making Humanities Matter (U. of Minnesota Press, Debates in the Digital Humanities series) and the Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (Routledge). He is also the co-editor of Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities (Modern Language Association, with Davis, Gold, and Harris). At the University of Victoria, he teaches courses in media studies, digital studies, critical theory, and U.S. fiction after 1940.

 

DAVID SEUBERT (U California at Santa Barbara)

“A Digitization Strategy for the Age of Abundance”

The unintended consequence of the mass movement of analog content to digital forms via platforms such as YouTube and Spotify is an embarrassment of audio riches, but unfortunately only selected riches. The modest and inadequate efforts of libraries and archives to digitize audio collections means that those collections that are left in analog form will become irrelevant to all but the most specialized researchers. This presentation explores this phenomenon as it relates to copyright, technological obsolescence, intellectual laziness, and how it informs the digitization strategy for the UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive and other digitized audio collections.
David Seubert is Curator for the Performing Arts Collection at Davidson Library (DL), and has served as Lead Principal Investigator on large scale analogue audio digital preservation projects, including: Packard Humanities Institute, American Discography Project, 2016, Library of Congress digitizing 78s for National Jukebox and editing of metadata, 2015-2016, Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation. Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, 2011, National Endowment for the Humanities, Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings, 2011-2013; and Institute for Museum and Library Services "Cylinder Recording Preservation and Digitization Project", 2003-2006.

 

JONATHAN STERNE (McGill U)

“Understanding Audio Media Formats”

Sterne will discuss how the mp3 lies at the center of important debates around intellectual property and file-sharing, but it is also a cultural artifact in its own right. Using the MP3 as a starting point for discussion about the cultural stakes of media formats for both historical research and digital design, Sterne will explore the meaning of formats--analogue and digital--from the perspectives of industry, psychoacoustics, and cultural history. In providing a framework for thinking about the meaning of audio media formats, he will provide key conceptual structures for our collaborative discussion of the implications of digitization of diverse media objects, and the choice of digital audio formats for online spoken word archives.

Jonathan Sterne one of the world's leading experts in the discipline of sound studies, sound media history and theory. He has developed the field of format studies through his analysis of audio media formats, and will apply this expertise to our discussion of the implications of analogue media formats in relation to digitized audio collections. Sterne is Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. He is author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke 2012), The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003); and numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture. He is also editor of The Sound Studies Reader (Routledge, 2012). His new projects consider instruments and instrumentalities; mail by cruise missile; and the intersections of disability, technology and perception. Visit his website at http://sterneworks.org.

 

TIM WALSH (Canadian Centre for Architecture)

“Selecting an Access and Digital Preservation Platform for Humanities Research in Audio and Video Format: Avalon & Archivematica”

Tim Walsh is the Digital Archivist at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), a research museum in Montréal dedicated to the notion that architecture is a public concern. Among his other tasks at CCA, Tim develops and manages workflows and software tools for processing born-digital archives, oversees development and use of CCA’s Archivematica-based digital preservation repository, and facilitates end user access of digital archives in the Study Room. He holds an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a BA in English from the University of Florida.

 

DARREN WERSHLER (Concordia U)

“A Political Economy of Audio Collections, or, The Politics of Audiotextual Inheritance”

This talk will both explore the kinds of questions scholars and students might ask of literary audio collections, and work towards theorizing the ideological contexts that inform the formulation of such questions in the first place. Why have literary audio collections emerged as important materials for research and study? How are decisions about which collections will be digitized and preserved made? What are the generational politics that have arisen as a result of the ubiquity of poet's archives? How do questions about humanities audio collections challenge some of the most basic methodologies that have informed literary studies for over a century? These are some of the questions that will be considered in this presentation with the aim of helping to frame discussion for the day's work on spoken word collections and methodological approaches.

Darren Wershler is the Concordia University Research Chair in Media and Contemporary Literature (Tier 2) and a co-editor of Amodern. He conducts most of his research through AMPLab: between media & literature, and with the Technoculture, Art and Games group (TAG), an interdisciplinary centre that focuses on game studies, design, digital culture and interactive art. Darren is the author or co-author of 12 books, most recently, Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg (U of Toronto Press), and Update (Snare), with Bill Kennedy. With Jason Camlot he co-organized the "Approaching the Poetry Series" conference in 2013 and co-authored "Theses on Discerning The Reading Series", published in Amodern 4 (2015) and has been a Co-Applicant through Camlot's development of the spokenweb project. His expertise in Contemporary Poetics, Media history and Theory, Digital Humanities, and in questions of digital economy, positions him as an ideal interlocutor with Al Filreis on core questions surrounding the use of humanities audio collections for research.

 

JASON WIENS (U Calgary)

“Incorporating Archival Audio Practices in Teaching”

Building upon Wiens' recent course design and implementation, this presentation asks how we might best ask students to examine archival audio sources alongside published literary texts, and then to engage in a digitization project of selections from the archival fonds of literary recordings held in the University of Calgary collections. With the aim of bringing to the classroom an awareness of the material conditions under which literature is produced, my discussion will consider not only how students might integrate archival records in literary analysis but contribute to the archive by institutional digitization projects.

Wiens is a Tenure-Track Instructor in English at U Calgary with a research and teaching focus in Canadian literature, archives, pedagogy and contemporary poetry. He has developed courses in which students digitize and curate materials from Canadian writers archives. Wiens' recent work extends this curricular development to include archival audio holdings, with the aim of exploring their pedagogical applications.

 

JARED WIERCINSKI (Concordia U)

“Selecting an access and digital preservation platform for humanities research in audio and video format: Avalon & Archivematica”

Concordia University Library selected the combination of Avalon Media System and Archivematica as the access and digital preservation platform for revealing aggregation of a vast and diverse range of audio and video recordings relevant to humanities research. Avalon needs to be combined with software designed specifically for digital preservation tasks that ensure the enduring usability, authenticity, discoverability and accessibility a wide range of media over the very long term. In this presentation to be presented by Wiercinski and Neugebauer, we discuss the process of selecting an access and preservation platform and explain which aspects and features of Avalon facilitate the use of humanities audio and video content for unique curation, design and pedagogical-oriented projects.

Jared Wiercinski works as Interim Associate University Librarian (Research & Graduate Studies) at Concordia University where he is responsible for the development and coordination of the library's user services and projects in support of research and graduate studies. As liaison librarian for the Departments of Music and Contemporary Dance, he supports students and faculty through collection development and research assistance. His research contributions, co-authored with Annie Murray, include publications and conference paper presentations on methodological and multimodal cognitive concerns surrounding the design of web-based sound archives. He was a co-applicant on the "SpokenWeb: Developing a Comprehensive Web-Based Digital Spoken Word Archive for Literary Research" grant (SSHRC, 2012) and a collaborator on the "The Spoken Web 2.0: Conceptualizing and Prototyping a Comprehensive Web-based Digital Spoken-Word Interface for Literary Research" grant (SSHRC, 2010).

 

Non-Presenter Participants

For the length of the symposium, specialists from various disciplines will be engaging in discussions and contributing questions and comments either in person or through remote AV communication.

SARAH ROMKEY (Artefactual Systems)
(December 2)

"Sarah Romkey is the Archivematica Program Manager for Artefactual Systems. Sarah is a graduate of the Dual MAS/MLIS program at the University of British Columbia’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (2008), and for six years worked as an archivist for the Rare Books and Special Collections branch of the UBC Library. While there she used both ICA-AtoM and Archivematica, starting when they were still in beta development. Her Master’s Degree work included internships at the City of Vancouver Archives and UBC Library, and she also worked as a research assistant on the InterPARES 3 project.

Sarah has served on the Board of the Archives Association of B.C. and has presented at Association of Canadian Archivists conferences and the UNESCO Memory of the World in the Digital Age conference in Vancouver (2012) on matters of digital preservation and access. During her years at UBC Library she was a project manager on several digitization projects, and she has experience working with both digitized and born-digital records."

JOANNA SWAFFORD (SUNY)
(December 3-4)

“Joanna Swafford is the Assistant Professor for Interdisciplinary and Digital Teaching and Scholarship at SUNY New Paltz, specializing in Victorian Literature and Culture, Digital Humanities, Sound, and Gender Studies.  Her book project, “Transgressive Tunes: the Politics of Sound of Victorian Poetry,” traces the gendered intermediations of poetry and music. Her articles and chapters appear or are forthcoming in such publications as Victorian PoetryVictorian Review, Victorian Institute, Debates in Digital Humanities, Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, and Digital Sound Studies: A Provocation. She is the project director for Songs of the Victorians (http://www.songsofthevictorians.com/), Augmented Notes (http://www.augmentednotes.com/), and “Sounding Poetry,” and is the founder and coordinator of DASH (Digital Arts, Sciences, and Humanities) Lab at SUNY New Paltz. She is also Head of Pedagogical Initiatives for NINES.org (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship).”

 

SEAN LUYK (Music Librarian, Alberta)
(December 2-4)

Sean Luyk is the Music Librarian in the Rutherford Humanities and Social Sciences Library at the University of Alberta and a Service Manager of the University of Alberta Libraries' streaming media repository, ERA Audio + Video. Sean holds an MA in Music Criticism and B.Mus from McMaster University, and an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario. His research interests span the areas of collegial governance in academic libraries, local music collecting, music information retrieval, scholarly knowledge-making practices involving sound, and web archiving.

 

ELISE CHENIER (SFU)
(December 3-4)

Elise Chenier is a Professor of History at Simon Fraser University. Her areas of expertise include the history of sexuality and oral history. She is the founder and director of the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony alotarchives.org and the creator of an online teaching and learning tool interracialintimacies.org

 

MELANIE HARDBATTLE (SFU)
(December 2-5)

Melanie Hardbattle is currently the Acting Head of Simon Fraser University (SFU) Library’s Special Collections and Rare Books division. A graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Master of Archival Studies program, she has worked at the SFU Library since 2009, during which time she has served as project coordinator for several digitization and community engagement projects, including the Multicultural Canada and Komagata Maru: Continuing the Journey websites, and as Special Collections Archivist (since 2012). Her research interests include the preservation and accessibility of the documentary record of groups not traditionally represented in the archival record.

 

NATHAN BROWN (Concordia U)
(December 2-3)

Nathan Brown is Canada Research Chair in Poetics at Concordia University, where he directs the Centre for Expanded Poetics. He is the author of The Limits of Fabrication: Materials Science, Materialist Poetics (Fordham, Jan. 2017) and is presently completing a second book manuscript titled Absent Blue Wax: Rationalist Empiricism in Modern and Contemporary Philosophy. 

 

CHRIS MUSTAZZA (U Pennsylvania)
(December 2, 4)

Chris Mustazza is a doctoral student in English at the University of Pennsylvania and the Associate Director of the PennSound archive, the world's largest archive of recordings of poets reading their own work. Chris has edited several collections of previously unreleased recordings of poets, including Gertrude Stein, James Weldon Johnson, Robert Frost, and Vachel Lindsay. His writing has appeared in Oral Tradition, the Chicago Review, the Notre Dame Review, and Jacket2. He was awarded a creative grant, for the 2015-16 academic year, by Harvard University's Woodberry Poetry Room, for research on his dissertation, tentatively titled "The Sociolinguistic Birth of the American Poetry Audio Archive.” He is also the editor of Clipping, a series in Jacket2 that focuses on experimental digital approaches to studying poetry audio.

 

FELICITY TAYLER (Concordia U)

Felicity Tayler is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art at University of Toronto, with a focus upon the print culture of artistic and poetic community. She has contributed scholarly articles to Art Documentation, Art Libraries Journal, International Journal of Digital Libraries, and the Journal of Canadian Art History.

KENNETH SHERWOOD (U Pennsylvania)

Kenneth Sherwood is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University of PA, where he teaches in the graduate program in Literature and Criticism and co-directs the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture. His scholarly research areas are 20th/21st century poetry, orality, digital writing, and digital humanities. He edited Louis Zukofsky's _A Useful Art: Essays and Radio Scripts on American Design._ His interest in the intersection of poetry and technology began with the founding and co-editing of the hypertext journal RIF/T in 1993 for the Buffalo Poetics program. In 2013 and 2014, he participated in the "High Performance Sound Technology for Access and Scholarship," National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute for Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities, Austin, TX.  As a co-founder of the CDHC, he has facilitated a number of projects involving faculty and graduate students, including the development of an Open Source Toolkit and the curation of a gallery show and online exhibition of digital literature

John Melillo

John Melillo is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Arizona. His book project, Outside In: The Poetics of Noise from Dada to Punk, explores the relationship between listening and noise through twentieth-century experimental poetry. He makes sound under the name Algae & Tentacles.

 

Research Assistants

CLARA NENCU received a B.A. in English Literature from McGill (2014) and is completing an MA at Concordia. Her research focuses on language and pain in Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Fanny Burney’s Journals and Letters. She is interested in medical humanities, classical history and literature, and intertextuality. 

 

VANESSA CANNIZZARO is currently a Master’s student of English at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She is editor-in-chief of Concordia's 20th edition Headlight Anthology, and a presenter at this year's NAVSA and NeMLA conferences.  Vanessa's current academic focus is on the Victorian lower class and their mobility within liminal sociopolitical spaces. With a background in neuropsychology, Vanessa's studies branch out into the scientific developments of the Victorian era, and consider the role of illegally obtained pauper corpses for dissection and scientific proliferation.

 

JESSICA TUCKER is a first year MA student in English Literature at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She received her Honours English Literature degree with Distinction in the spring. She was also published in the Literary Undergraduate’s Colloquium at Concordia in 2015, and is currently part of the team of editors working on the Graduate Colloquium for 2017.  Jessica’s academic interests lie in gender and sexuality, with a main focus on transgender young adult literature. She is interested in exploring how literature helps the early process of identity formation within today’s youth culture. Jessica hopes to either work in publishing or teach at the college level once she earns her degree.

 

MAX STEIN is a media artist based in Montréal. His work explores urban spaces through site-specific performances, installation art, and online mapping.  Stein designed and runs the Montréal Sound Map (2008-present), and has collaborated on other sound mapping projects including TSIKAYA, San Francisco Bay Area Sound Map, Oljud Sthlm, Portland Sound Map, Belfast Sound Map, My Favorite Brussels Sound, and the Soundprint Archive. Most recently, he has launched an online exhibition of urban environments in Montreal called Sounding the City <https://soundingthecity.com>.

spokenweb2016_poster-02

Travel

GETTING TO MONTREAL

Montreal is easily accessible by planes and trains from all the major cities in North America and Europe. Please note that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), requires anyone, including U.S. citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea to have a passport or other appropriate secure document.

From the Airport

The cheapest way to get downtown from the airport is to take the new airport bus, Route 747, which will bring you directly to the metro system. The fare is $10 and functions as a day pass for the Montreal metro system. Taxis are also available and charge a flat rate of $38 from the airport to downtown Montreal.

From the Train Station and Bus Station:

For those of you coming from Congress in Ottawa, train or bus are good ways to travel.  Gare Central train station is within walking distance from Concordia (if you have a suitcase on wheels, or a very cheap taxi ride.  The Bus station is at Berri, east of where Concordia is located.  To get to Concordia or the hotels from there you may either take the green line going west, from Berri-UQAM to Guy-Concordia, or take the 24 bus that runs along Sherbrooke, going west.

Getting Around Montreal

The Montreal metro system is the fastest and most cost effective way to get around the city. While individual tickets are $3.25, a three day pass is $18 (and will last through the conference).

Metro operating hours are Monday to Friday and Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. The average wait time between trains is eight minutes and three minutes during rush hour. For more information about public transportation in Montreal, visit www.stm.info.

If you prefer getting around by taxi, it’s always very easy to flag one down on the street. You’ll also find them in front of your hotel, or at one of the city’s many taxi stands. Also, should the weather prove appropriate, you want to take advantage of the Bixi bicycle rental system that is set up throughout the Montreal metropolitan area.

Uber is still functioning in Montreal.

Accommodations

Please book your rooms as soon as possible.

We recommend these accommodation options with rooms available:

Chateau Versailles - A quaint boutique next to campus
http://www.chateauversaillesmontreal.com/

Le Nouvel Hotel (1740 René-Lévesque West Montréal) - Right next to campus
http://www.lenouvelhotel.com/

Marriott Residence Inn Westmount - Nice hotel close to campus
http://www.residencemontreal.com/en/

Things to do around the area

Arts & Museums

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: http://www.mbam.qc.ca/en/index.html

Musée d’Art Contemporain: http://www.macm.org/en/index.html

Canadian Centre for Architecture: http://www.cca.qc.ca/

McCord Museum: http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/en/

Place Des Arts (Montreal Opera, The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens): http://laplacedesarts.com/index.en.html

Centaur Theatre Company: http://www.centaurtheatre.com/

The National Film Board (Events, Screenings and Personal Viewing Stations): http://www3.nfb.ca/cinerobotheque/

Segal Centre for Performing Arts http://www.segalcentre.org/

Théâtre Français à Montréal: http://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/theatre/thtre-franais-montral-french-theatre-in-montreal-where-to-find-it

Dining

Chowhound (Quebec and Montreal):http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/22

Resto Montreal: http://restomontreal.ca/

Montreal Food: http://www.montrealfood.com/

Urban Spoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/67/Montreal-restaurants.html

Attractions, Activities and Entertainment

Botanical Gardens: http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/en/menu.htm

Planetarium: http://www.planetarium.montreal.qc.ca/index_a.html

Notre Dame Basilica: http://www.basiliquenddm.org/en/

St. Joseph’s Oratory: http://www.saint-joseph.org/en_1001_index.php

Bell Centre: http://centrebell.ca/en/

Cinema Listings: http://www.cinemamontreal.com/eng

General Tourism: http://www.tourisme-montreal.org

Local Entertainment listings for the week: http://www.montrealmirror.com/listings/index.html

Véhicule Press’s “Montreal: A Celebration” site: http://www.vehiculepress.com/montreal/index.html

Yoga Montreal: http://www.yogamontreal.com/

Can Lit Across Media: Un-Archiving the Temporal Literary Event

As the culmination of the four-year SSHRC IG-funded project SpokenWeb, a conference “Can Lit Across Media: Un-Archiving the Temporal Literary Event” will be held at Concordia University on June 5-6th 2015. It will gather scholars, writers, archivists and media practitioners for an intensive investigation into the past, present, and future of archiving and un-archiving Can Lit across media. The conference expands the methods and research questions that have defined SpokenWeb’s engagement with audio poetry archives and invites scholars working on other media-diverse archives and collections to join the conversation.

For the past four years, SpokenWeb’s interdisciplinary team of researchers has been investigating the poetry reading as event through its audio archives of the Sir George Williams Poetry Series (1965-1974) and development of the PoetryLab mobile app. Building upon SpokenWeb’s mandate to re-activate engagement with audio poetry archives by presenting them in digital environments and public spaces, and motivated by an interest in exploring the range of media formats that have been used to preserve Can Lit since the 1950s, this conference looks ahead to the future of audio-visual archives of literary events and to the un-archiving of materials that document these events and continue to make them available in the present.

For more information about this conference, contact organizers Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod at <spokenwebcanada@gmail.com>

Conference Schedule

Conference Program

All events will be held at Concordia University’s downtown SGW Campus.

All panel sessions and the keynote lecture will take place in Room LB 646, located on the 6th floor of the Library Building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

Film screening of The Line Has Shattered, “Performing the Literary Archive on Air: A Conversation with Eleanor Wachtel,” and the reception and reading "All the Poets in Town: A Montreal Poetry Recording Party" will take place in the J.A. DeSève Cinema, located in the lobby of the Library Building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

Campus Map

Day One - Friday June 5th, 2015

9:00-9:30am - Welcome Reception/ Opening Remarks – Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod, organizers

9:30-10:30am – Archives and the Digitization of Nation – Panel Session

Dean Irvine, “Indigenous Networks: Digital Repatriation, the Sto:lo First Nation, and the Street-Sepass Archives”

Linda Morra, “Ira Dilworth, CBC Digital Archives, and the Production of Canadian Citizenship and Culture”

10:45-12:00pm – Mediated Conferences– Panel Session

Karis  Shearer, “Vancouver Poetry Conference, 1963”

Jason Camlot, “The Foster Poetry Conference, 1963: Archival Specters and Traces of the Event”

Andrea Beverley, “Archive Bound: Women and Words in 1983”

Lunch

1:15-2:30pm - Un-Archiving the Literary Event – Panel

Gary Barwin, "From Archive to Newhive: Using historical recordings to create H for it is a pleasure and surprise to breathe."

Karl Jirgens "Digital Mediations:  Temporal phenomenologies of Janet Cardiff and George Büres Miller’s inter-active walking tours, as archival events."

Nutritional Break

3:00-4:30 -  Plenary Keynote Lecture - Catherine Hobbs (Library and Archives Canada) "Voices Kept in Context: Un-derpinning and not Un-pinning the Archives of Literary Events"

5:00-6pm - Film Screening – “The Line Has Shattered” by Robert McTavish (J.A. DeSève Cinema)

Dinner and End of Day 1 Activities

 

Day Two - Saturday June 6th, 2015

9:30-10:45 - Archival Blind Spots and Silences – Panel Session

Katherine McLeod,Extension: Phyllis Webb on CBC TV”

Joel Deshaye, “Listening to the Unseen Layton: Irving Layton as a Voice for the Archives”

Felicity Tayler, “Sound as Visual - Visual as Sound: Documentary Traces of Literary Events at Véhicule Art in the Early 1970s”

11-12:15pm – Talking Can Lit – Panel Session

Michael John DiSanto and Robin Isard, “Re-Listening to George Whalley”

Deanna Fong, “Othertalk: Coversational Literary History in the Roy Kiyooka Digital Audio Archive.”

Marcelle Kosman, “Tapping the Canon: Jonathan Goldstein’s WireTap and the Production of Canadian Literary Culture”

Lunch Break

1:15-2:45pm - Archives of Canadian Cultural Production – Panel Session

Andrew Bretz, “Canadian Identity and Shakespeare on CBC Radio, 1936-53”

Annie Murray, “The National Film Board of Canada and the Production of Canadian Literature”

Darren Wershler, "TBA"

Nutritional Break    

3:30-5:30pm – Plenary Panel Discussion – “Performing the Literary Archive on Air: A Conversation with

Eleanor Wachtel” (with Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod)  (J.A. DeSève Cinema)

Dinner Break

8:00pm - "All The Poets In Town: A Montreal Poetry Recording Party" (J.A. DeSève Cinema) 

Join us for this final event of the SpokenWeb project. SpokenWeb has focused largely on questions surrounding the documentation (and recording) of literary events. For this event, every Montreal poet who is available will perform a poem on the de Seve stage. The event will be recorded in a multitrack format with some microphones capturing the voices of the poets, and other mics placed in different locations to capture the sounds that will occur concurrently, but out of earshot of the actual reading (including, possibly, the sounds of the city’s Grand Prix celebrations). At a later date, the voices of the readers, plus all other sounds inadvertently captured will be made available online for listeners to mix and listen as they like.Some of the superb poets who will read at this event (the list is growing by the minute) include:

Larissa Andrusyshyn
Maxianne Berger
Linda Besner
Stephanie Bolster
Asa Boxer
Jason Camlot
Jeramy Dodds
Tanya Evanson
Endre Farkas
Ian Ferrier
Raymond Filip
Helen Hajnoczky
Lee Hannigan
Catherine Kidd
Steve Luxton
Jeffrey Mackie
David McGimpsey
Ilona Martonfi
Stephen Morrissey
Daniel O'Leary
Branka Petrovic
Greg Santos
Carolyn Marie Souaid
Mike Spry
Carmine Starnino
John Emil Vincent
Darren Wershler

And more!...

poets_11x14_web

Participants

Conference Program

All events will be held at Concordia University’s downtown SGW Campus.

All panel sessions and the keynote lecture will take place in Room LB 646, located on the 6th floor of the Library Building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

Film screening of The Line Has Shattered, “Performing the Literary Archive on Air: A Conversation with Eleanor Wachtel,” and the reception and reading "All the Poets in Town: A Montreal Poetry Recording Party" will take place in the J.A. DeSève Cinema, located in the lobby of the Library Building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.)

Campus Map

Day One - Friday June 5th, 2015

9:00-9:30am - Welcome Reception/ Opening Remarks – Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod, organizers

9:30-10:30am – Archives and the Digitization of Nation – Panel Session

Dean Irvine, “Indigenous Networks: Digital Repatriation, the Sto:lo First Nation, and the Street-Sepass Archives”

Linda Morra, “Ira Dilworth, CBC Digital Archives, and the Production of Canadian Citizenship and Culture”

10:45-12:00pm – Mediated Conferences– Panel Session

Karis  Shearer, “Vancouver Poetry Conference, 1963”

Jason Camlot, “The Foster Poetry Conference, 1963: Archival Specters and Traces of the Event”

Andrea Beverley, “Archive Bound: Women and Words in 1983”

Lunch

1:15-2:30pm - Un-Archiving the Literary Event – Panel

Gary Barwin, "From Archive to Newhive: Using historical recordings to create H for it is a pleasure and surprise to breathe."

Karl Jirgens "Digital Mediations:  Temporal phenomenologies of Janet Cardiff and George Büres Miller’s inter-active walking tours, as archival events."

Nutritional Break

3:00-4:30 -  Plenary Keynote Lecture - Catherine Hobbs (Library and Archives Canada) "Voices Kept in Context: Un-derpinning and not Un-pinning the Archives of Literary Events"

5:00-6pm - Film Screening – “The Line Has Shattered” by Robert McTavish (J.A. DeSève Cinema)

Dinner and End of Day 1 Activities

 

Day Two - Saturday June 6th, 2015

9:30-10:45 - Archival Blind Spots and Silences – Panel Session

Katherine McLeod,Extension: Phyllis Webb on CBC TV”

Joel Deshaye, “Listening to the Unseen Layton: Irving Layton as a Voice for the Archives”

Felicity Tayler, “Sound as Visual - Visual as Sound: Documentary Traces of Literary Events at Véhicule Art in the Early 1970s”

11-12:15pm – Talking Can Lit – Panel Session

Michael John DiSanto and Robin Isard, “Re-Listening to George Whalley”

Deanna Fong, “Othertalk: Coversational Literary History in the Roy Kiyooka Digital Audio Archive.”

Marcelle Kosman, “Tapping the Canon: Jonathan Goldstein’s WireTap and the Production of Canadian Literary Culture”

Lunch Break

1:15-2:45pm - Archives of Canadian Cultural Production – Panel Session

Andrew Bretz, “Canadian Identity and Shakespeare on CBC Radio, 1936-53”

Annie Murray, “The National Film Board of Canada and the Production of Canadian Literature”

Darren Wershler, "TBA"

Nutritional Break    

3:30-5:30pm – Plenary Panel Discussion – “Performing the Literary Archive on Air: A Conversation with

Eleanor Wachtel” (with Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod)  (J.A. DeSève Cinema)

Dinner Break

8:00pm - "All The Poets In Town: A Montreal Poetry Recording Party" (J.A. DeSève Cinema) 

Join us for this final event of the SpokenWeb project. SpokenWeb has focused largely on questions surrounding the documentation (and recording) of literary events. For this event, every Montreal poet who is available will perform a poem on the de Seve stage. The event will be recorded in a multitrack format with some microphones capturing the voices of the poets, and other mics placed in different locations to capture the sounds that will occur concurrently, but out of earshot of the actual reading (including, possibly, the sounds of the city’s Grand Prix celebrations). At a later date, the voices of the readers, plus all other sounds inadvertently captured will be made available online for listeners to mix and listen as they like.Some of the superb poets who will read at this event (the list is growing by the minute) include:

Larissa Andrusyshyn
Maxianne Berger
Linda Besner
Stephanie Bolster
Asa Boxer
Jason Camlot
Jeramy Dodds
Tanya Evanson
Endre Farkas
Ian Ferrier
Raymond Filip
Helen Hajnoczky
Lee Hannigan
Catherine Kidd
Steve Luxton
Jeffrey Mackie
David McGimpsey
Ilona Martonfi
Stephen Morrissey
Daniel O'Leary
Branka Petrovic
Greg Santos
Carolyn Marie Souaid
Mike Spry
Carmine Starnino
John Emil Vincent
Darren Wershler

And more!...

poets_11x14_web

 

Travel

Getting to Montreal

Montreal is easily accessible by planes and trains from all the major cities in North America and Europe. Please note that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), requires anyone, including U.S. citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea to have a passport or other appropriate secure document.

From the Airport

The cheapest way to get downtown from the airport is to take the new airport bus, Route 747, which will bring you directly to the metro system. The fare is $10 and functions as a day pass for the Montreal metro system. Taxis are also available and charge a flat rate of $38 from the airport to downtown Montreal.

From the Train Station and Bus Station:

For those of you coming from Congress in Ottawa, train or bus are good ways to travel.  Gare Central train station is within walking distance from Concordia (if you have a suitcase on wheels, or a very cheap taxi ride.  The Bus station is at Berri, east of where Concordia is located.  To get to Concordia or the hotels from there you may either take the green line going west, from Berri-UQAM to Guy-Concordia, or take the 24 bus that runs along Sherbrooke, going west.

Getting Around Montreal

The Montreal metro system is the fastest and most cost effective way to get around the city. While individual tickets are $3.25, a three day pass is $18 (and will last through the conference).

Metro operating hours are Monday to Friday and Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. The average wait time between trains is eight minutes and three minutes during rush hour. For more information about public transportation in Montreal, visit www.stm.info.

If you prefer getting around by taxi, it’s always very easy to flag one down on the street. You’ll also find them in front of your hotel, or at one of the city’s many taxi stands. Also, should the weather prove appropriate, you want to take advantage of the Bixi bicycle rental system that is set up throughout the Montreal metropolitan area.

Accommodations

The conference is on Grand Prix weekend, which means that hotels in Montreal sell out and that rooms are going fast already. Please confirm your accommodation as soon as possible!

We recommend these accommodation options with rooms available (but going quickly):

Le Nouvel Hotel (1740 René-Lévesque West Montréal) - Right next to campus
http://www.lenouvelhotel.com/
For now, Le Nouvel Hotel has set aside a block of rooms for "Can Lit Across Media."

Chateau Versailles - A quaint boutique next to campus
http://www.chateauversaillesmontreal.com/

Marriott Residence Inn Westmount - Nice hotel close to campus
http://www.residencemontreal.com/en/

Grey Nuns Residence - Budget-friendly private rooms right on campus! (*Best rates!*)
http://www.concordia.ca/campus-life/summer-accommodations/rooms-rates.html

Things to do around the area

Arts & Museums

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: http://www.mbam.qc.ca/en/index.html

Musée d’Art Contemporain: http://www.macm.org/en/index.html

Canadian Centre for Architecture: http://www.cca.qc.ca/

McCord Museum: http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/en/

Place Des Arts (Montreal Opera, The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens):http://laplacedesarts.com/index.en.html

Centaur Theatre Company: http://www.centaurtheatre.com/

The National Film Board (Events, Screenings and Personal Viewing Stations): http://www3.nfb.ca/cinerobotheque/

Segal Centre for Performing Arts http://www.segalcentre.org/

Théâtre Français à Montréal: http://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/theatre/thtre-franais-montral-french-theatre-in-montreal-where-to-find-it

 

Dining

Chowhound (Quebec and Montreal):http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/22

Resto Montreal: http://restomontreal.ca/

Montreal Food: http://www.montrealfood.com/

Urban Spoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/67/Montreal-restaurants.html

Attractions, Activities and Entertainment

Botanical Gardens: http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/en/menu.htm

Planetarium: http://www.planetarium.montreal.qc.ca/index_a.html

Notre Dame Basilica: http://www.basiliquenddm.org/en/

St. Joseph’s Oratory: http://www.saint-joseph.org/en_1001_index.php

Bell Centre: http://centrebell.ca/en/

Cinema Listings: http://www.cinemamontreal.com/eng

General Tourism: http://www.tourisme-montreal.org

Local Entertainment listings for the week: http://www.montrealmirror.com/listings/index.html

Véhicule Press’s “Montreal: A Celebration” site: http://www.vehiculepress.com/montreal/index.html

Yoga Montreal: http://www.yogamontreal.com/

Approaching the Poetry Series Conference: Using Literary Recordings as Scholars and Digital Designers

SpokenWeb will be hosting a two-day conference to be held at Concordia University, Friday, April 5 – Saturday, April 6, 2013.  This mini-conference invites scholars and digital developers to engage directly with the recordings of “The Poetry Series” and to present work that explores either methodological or technical approaches one might take—as literature scholars or digital developers—to such documentary literary recordings.

As a critical/creative constraint for participation in this conference we have asked presenters to engage directly with some facet of the primary-source audio held in our archive and made available via the SpokenWeb site.  Lit papers may build upon ongoing work about specific authors who read in the series, avant-garde poetics, literary performance, etc., by integrating specific examples from The Poetry Series, or may perform substantial close-listenings of particular documented performances in the archive.  From the tech side, we have encouraged presentations and demos of methods or tools useful for annotating, searching, visualizing or otherwise manipulating the digitized audio recordings, using audio from The Poetry Series as test data.

Suggested topics to explore in the original CFP included:

  • Close Listening Methods
  • Methods for historicizing the Poetry Reading Series in the 60s and 70s
  • Avant-Garde Performance
  • Meta-Poetic Discourse (intros and poetry banter)
  • The Poetry Reading as Oral Pedagogy
  • Defining a Prosody of Poetic Performance
  • What We Look at When We Listen
  • What Literature Scholars Do When They Listen
  • Tools for Searching Spoken Word Audio (i.e. Sound Searching)
  • Theories and Methods of Transcription
  • Audio Annotation
  • Audio Visualization
  • Audio Navigation
  • The Limits of The Audio Timeline
  • Pitch, Amplitude and Other Features
  • Web-based DAWs (digital audio workstations)
  • Touching Sound (the haptic web and sound visualization)
  • Controlled Vocabulary, subject-index schemes, collaborative tagging, etc. for poetry/literature

For more information on this conference, please email the SpokenWeb team: spokenwebcanada@gmail.com

web_conferenceweb_vav

Conference Schedule

Friday, April 5th, 2013

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Jason Camlot (Concordia U) & Darren Wershler (Concordia U),
"Opening Remarks: Discerning the Poetry Series"

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM - PANEL 1

Tanya Clement (U of Texas at Austin), "Sound Seeings: High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship"

Annie Murray (Concordia U) and Jared Wiercinski (Concordia U), “Making Sense of Sound: Hearing, Seeing and Touching a Web-Based Audio Archive"

Max Stein and Liban Ali Yusuf (Concordia U), "SpokenWeb Developments"/"Automatic Detection of Poetic Devices"

12:15 – 1:00 PM - LUNCH (in house), PARTY SANDWICHES!
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM - PANEL 2

Danny Snelson (U Pennsylvania),"Speaking, speaking, speaking: bill bissett live, in vinyl, on MP3"

Lee Hannigan (UBC, Okanagan), "Robin Blaser’s Audiotexts and the Challenges of Archiving Conversation"

Dean Irvine (Dalhousie U and Yale U), "Mission Control: An Operator's Manual for Compulibratories"

2:45 PM – 4:15 - PANEL 3

Jane Malcolm (U de Montréal), “the poem among us, between us, there”: Rukeyser’s meta-poetics and the communal soundscape”

Jeff Derksen (SFU), "Secret Publicity, Social Sincerity, and the Politics of Affect: Oppen’s Post-Vanguardism"

Karis Shearer (UBC, Okanagan), “Daphne Marlatt, Making Public(s).”

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM - POETRY READING at the VAV Gallery (VA 037), 1395 Blvd. René Lévesque

Featuring: A soundscape installation by Steph Colbourn and performances by Gregg Betts, Lee Hannigan, Danny Snelson, derek beaulieu, Deanna Fong, Jeff Derksen, Michael Nardone, Karis Shearer.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM - PANEL 4

Cameron Anstee (U Ottawa), "'Opera, Theatre, Ballet, etc.': The Canada Council Learns to Fund Poetry Readings (1959-1974)"

Ashley Clarkson (Concordia U) and Steven High (Concordia U), “Playing with Time: Digital Oral History and Literary Studies in the SpokenWeb Project.”

Michael Nardone (Concordia U), "'Unstrung, the structure is sound': Jackson Mac Low’s Language Event and Archive

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM - PANEL 5

Gregory Betts (Brock U), "'i want nothing to do with me': Finding Nothing in the Avant-Garde Archive"

derek beaulieu (Mount Royal U/Alberta College of Art and Design), "Charles Reznikoff and Conceptual Writing"

Deanna Fong (Concordia U), "Concentric (Counter)Publics: Embodiment, Confession and Vocalization in Allen Ginsberg's 1969 Reading"

12:45 PM – 1:30 PM: Closing Remarks

Jason Camlot and Darren Wershler

Participants

Cameron Anstee (University of Ottawa)

"'Opera, Theatre, Ballet, etc.': The Canada Council Learns to Fund Poetry Readings (1959-1974)"

In 1959, the Canada Council funded a poetry reading series for the first time. The Contact Poetry Readings received $845.00 “to provide travel and assistance to Canadian poets to present readings of their own work at the Isaacs Gallery, Toronto” (Third Annual Report). Poetry readings were infrequent in Canada up to this point and funding infrastructure to sustain a poetry reading series did not yet exist. Given the rarity of such events, the young Canada Council (founded in 1957) did not have an appropriate category under which to offer financial support. Consequently, the Contact Readings were funded under “Opera, Theatre, Ballet, etc.” Following the rapid growth and rising popularity of poetry readings in Canada during the 1960s, the Canada Council responded by creating a new category, “Public Readings by Canadian Writers” in 1972. During the final year of The Poetry Series at Sir George Williams in 1974, a staggering sixty three organizations, academic institutions and independent poetry reading series received funding under this category; ninety five received funding the following year.

This paper will document and analyse the development of the Canada Council’s funding model as it pertained to poetry readings in Canada from the time of the Contact Poetry Readings in 1957 to the end of The Poetry Series in 1974. This will provide useful historical material context for understanding the development of poetry readings from disparate and infrequent to organized, sustained, and common. The poetry reading became an important form of literary expression in Canada during these decades, and the role of the Canada Council in supporting and facilitating such events must be documented and acknowledged. This paper will examine available correspondence relevant to funding decisions, applications and project descriptions from relevant poetry reading series, and annual reports from the Canada Council. It will assess how the Council attended to funding English and French-Canadian poets, as well as American poets. This work will be primary in nature, establishing a historical framework within which to pursue further critical scholarly analysis focused closely on The Poetry Series. This paper aims to historicize the material and socio-cultural conditions that enabled a poetry reading series as ambitious as The Poetry Series to succeed between 1966 and 1974.

Derek Beaulieu (Mount Royal University/Alberta College of Art and Design)

"Charles Reznikoff and Conceptual Writing"

Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony: The United States 1885-1890 Recitative (New Directions, 1965; excerpts of which Reznikoff read at SGWU in 1967) and Holocaust (Black Sparrow, 1975) are lyrical precursors to a series of Conceptual engagements with the Holocaust. As part of his SGWU reading, Reznikoff performed Testimony ‘s “Domestic Scenes I” (p.13), “Boys and Girls 5” (p. 57) and “untitled” (p. 35) each of which he contextualizes as “are all based on law cases. Ah...I don't know what...whether that'll excuse their ferocity, but apparently something like that once happened. The names are different. The facts are the same.”

Reznikoff was called to the bar but never practiced law, yet he lifts language directly from cases in the public record. Vanessa Place—who is an appellate criminal defence attorney specializing in violent sexual predators—uses similar compositional strategies in her Tragodia 1: Statement of Facts (Blanc, 2010).

Heimrad Backer’s nachschrift (1986; English translation 2010)—written supposedly without knowledge of Reznikoff’s efforts—also recontextualizes primary documents from the Holocaust, but while Reznikoff uses testimony from the Nuremberg and Eichmann Trials, Backer uses primary document from the Nazi party.

Robert Fitterman’s Holocaust Museum (Veer, 2011) uses the caption and the label to draw attention to the absent, the eradicated and the missing. With Holocaust Museum Fitterman transcribes the labels given to archival photographs in the online collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (www.ushmm.org) eliding the photographs entirely.

In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes referred to trauma as “a news photo without a caption.” Barthes argues that the photograph cannot be isolated from the event that it portrays. We do not see the photograph itself, we only see the image portrayed on the photograph. The photograph represents events without representing itself, an event portrayed without a means of discussing or categorizing.

Gregory Betts (Brock University)

"'i want nothing to do with me': Finding Nothing in the Avant-Garde Archive"

My paper will address the act of disavowal as both a common theme and a gesture in avant-garde aesthetics and will further comment on the problem of archiving or remembering works (and readings) marked by such an anti-philosophy. I take my cue on disavowal from Derrida’s discussion of various resistances to analysis wherein he claims that categories of truth (especially as established by psychoanalysis, but also, by extension, literary analysis and archivization) can be disputed convincingly only through disavowal, which ruptures the possibility of a truth claim from within. It is a useful frame in which to identify a recurring theme in Canadian avant-garde writing in the 1960s and 1970s that consistently explores the notion of discovery or uncovering an abyss of nothingness within language of the poem they are writing: thus, Gerry Gilbert proposes that when the “the silence arrives at the fact” the presence of this absence enables “a single uninterrupted poem / by means of the most direct and shortest image” (“Metro”). Phyllis Webb’s Naked Poems with its erotic minimalism presents a similar anti-Imagism that marks the creative act with or by its own withdrawal: “You took with so much gentleness my dark”. Withdrawing darkness is different from asserting presence, however, for it declares an ontological erasure at the heart of writing. For both Gilbert and Webb, the poetry performs a disavowal in the erasure of imagery and language. In the Sir George Williams readings, both of these writers read works that articulate a similar strategic disavowal – including, specifically, a disavowal of work, performance, and the community of those gathered to hear them. What particular challenge does this essential disavowal pose to scholars and archivists seeking to represent these events, these performances, and these naked – denuded – works?

Jason Camlot (Concordia University) & Darren Wershler (Concordia University)

"Opening Remarks: Discerning the Poetry Series"

 

Ashley Clarkson and Steven High (Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Concordia University)

“Playing with Time: Digital Oral History and Literary Studies in the SpokenWeb Project.”

For the past year, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Concordia University has been exploring the intersections between oral history, literature and the digital humanities. The SpokenWeb project, headed by Jason Camlot of the Department of English, aims to develop a Digital Spoken Web Archive from a recovered collection of audio recordings made of a series of public poetry readings from 1965 to 1974. However, it is so much more than a database building project. Surviving poets are being invited back to Montreal to read anew in a public series.  Digital audio extracts of the earlier readings are woven into these public events, creating a sense of dialogue across time. The resulting temporal flux creates an atmosphere that is very conducive to self-reflexivity and life review. Meanwhile, at the back of the room, a memory clinic invites audience members to record their reflections on the sensual and embodied experience of listening to and seeing someone perform their poetry, then and now. Participating poets such as George Bowering and David McFadden also recorded lengthy life history interviews earlier in the day, contributing further to the sense of time passing.  How these components will be represented in the digital archive is still an open question.

As the paper’s title suggests, the project has placed oral history into sustained conversation with literary studies and the digital humanities. The notion of “oral literary history” that is emerging from the project acknowledges the significance of experiential accounts of these public readings which are historical and cultural events. The proposed paper aims to explore the ways in which the project works across platforms – from online environments to physical spaces – to generate spaces of individual and collective life review, reciprocal sharing, and deep listening. The SpokenWeb project promises to make a significant theoretical and methodological contribution to digital oral history practice.  As Alistair Thompson once remarked, digital applications or environments “enable anyone, anywhere to make extraordinary and unexpected creative connections within and across oral history.” (Thompson, 2007).

Tanya Clement (University of Texas at Austin)

"Sound Seeings: High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship"

Poetry, stories, and speeches aren’t just what we read or what we hear-- they're how we make meaning and celebrate history. Hundreds of thousands of spoken text audio files - including poetry readings, Native American stories, and presidential speeches - remain untapped in archives throughout the world. These digital artifacts hold our oral traditions, and projects like High Performance Sound Technologies for Analysis and Scholarship (HiPSTAS) out of the University of Texas’s School of Information and the Illinois Informatics Institute  feature high performance data mining tools that help us visualize and understand our sound culture in new ways. Our understanding of the spoken word has been limited not only by technology, but also by our imaginations. This discussion will consider how the emergence of new data mining techniques and visualization software can help us to preserve culture and improve access while facilitating new literacies that foreground how we "read" sound.

Jeff Derksen (Simon Fraser University)

"Secret Publicity, Social Sincerity, and the Politics of Affect: Oppen’s Post-Vanguardism"

In this talk I will approach poetry readings as a moment of publicness engaged in the imagination of counter-publicness rather an event within an established or static public sphere.  I will link the publicness of poetry to Sven Lutticken’s assertion that “Art media as counter media would not be simply semi-public specialist forums, distinct from publicness at large, but avant-garde attempts to forge a different publicness, a counter publicness” (Secret Publicities 30). To do this, I will speculate on George Oppen’s 1968 reading at SGWU as a form of counter-publicness that takes place “on the grounds of a radical dissent from the dominant view of publicness, and the society it represented” (Lutticken 30). However, I hope to locate Oppen’s counter-publicness within his poetics as a form of social sincerity that sought to refigure subject-object relations. In terms of a poem and a reading, this involves a breakdown of producer and audience that figures poetry as a participatory art practice which Boris Groys argues “weakens the radical separation of artist and audience to a certain degree” (Going Public) Sincerity, as a political affect, is moved outside of the psycho-historical subject and placed in a space between producer and audience; imagined in this way, sincerity is a social relation that exists between subjects in social space and as a force that offers an alternative value to a neoliberal subject.  This alteration of subject-object and producer and audience begins to define, I hope to argue, a post-vanguardist practice which is itself at odds, today, with dominant forms of publicity.

Later I will try and think through “sincerity” and this externalization of it in relation to affect theory, but now I want to give us two political (rather than aesthetic or moral) historical markers of the return of sincerity.

This shift is also a proposes a respatialization of poetry readings as a spatial practice

So, what I am proposing is poetry understood (in its writing and reception) as research, and research as a public act.

Deanna Fong (Concordia University)

"Contiguous Counterpublics: Embodiment, Metonym and Vocalization in Allen Ginsberg's 1969 reading at SGWU"

Analyzing Allen Ginsberg’s 1969 reading as an exceptional, rather than paradigmatic event structure in the Sir George Williams Poetry Reading Series, I will first situate the reading both in relation to the rituals, protocols and practices of Series, and within the history of Ginsberg’s own poetic performance. I will argue that Ginsberg’s reading at SGWU deliberately makes his own corporeality the focus of his performance through acts of cultural transposition, confession, and vocalization. These alternative forms address constitute a counterpublic discourse, as defined by Michael Warner in Publics and Counterpublics by incorporating "the personal/impersonal address and expansive estrangement of public speech” to “challenge modernity’s social hierarchy of faculties” (121)—those that privilege rational-critical forms of discourse. For Ginsberg, this involves operating in a metonymic, as opposed to metaphoric, mode—rather than resolving disparate ideas into a third, shared space of meaning he instead places ideas, phrases and ideologies into contiguous, dyadic contact to resist interpretive closure. This critical strategy not only supports the coexistence of the material and the prophetic, the spiritual and the spectacular, but significantly expands the circulatory space of counterpublic discourse.

Lee Hannigan (UBC Okanagan)

"Robin Blaser’s Audiotexts and the Challenges of Archiving Conversation"

 American-born Canadian poet Robin Blaser’s influence on contemporary Canadian poetry has been an important one. However, as Blaser’s biographer Miriam Nichols has observed, although he has been a “touchstone of [the Canadian] literary scene for decades  . . . [his work] has hitherto received too little attention.” In addition to his long list of publications, Blaser left behind a number of audio recordings, including a 1969 SGW Poetry Series reading that has been made available in the SpokenWeb digital archive.

My paper analyzes this 1969 reading in comparison with a 1974 discussion between Blaser and Canadian scholar Warren Tallman to bring attention to the contrast between the poetry reading and the poetry conversation. Drawing from Charles Bernstein’s Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word, in which he emphasizes “sound as material, where sound is neither arbitrary nor secondary but constitutive,” I begin by examining how SpokenWeb’s current transcription and annotation practices facilitate the interrogation of poetic discourse. Next, taking Blaser’s and Tallman’s 1974 conversation (housed in the Poetry Okanagan Sound Archive) as a test case, I outline the challenges associated with transcribing and annotating recorded conversation.  Finally, building from Kate Eichhorn’s “Past Performance, Present Dilemma: A Poetics of Archiving Sound,” in which she argues that “[n]owhere is the archive’s creative potential more apparent than at its limit” (184-85), I discuss how SpokenWeb’s current transcription and annotation practices might be used to facilitate scholarly interaction with recorded conversation.

Dean Irvine (Dalhousie University)

"Mission Control: An Operator's Manual for Compulibratories"

What I propose is a variant on Kenneth Goldsmith’s theorization of uncreative writing--a practice of uncreative reading, one that sees Earle Birney’s experimentation with computer-assisted poetry as an act of human-machine interaction in which he reads digitally generated linguistic code through an analog process of critical perception, curation, and editing. In doing so, I will situate one of his computer-assisted poetry experiments ("Space Conquest") that he read in February 1968 at Sir George Williams in relation to the history of laboratory-based aesthetic research conducted by avant-garde writers, visual artists, and architects of the early to mid-twentieth century.

Jane Malcolm (Université de Montréal)

“the poem among us, between us, there”: Rukeyser’s meta-poetics and the communal soundscape

 We cannot know how many audience members at Muriel Rukeyser’s 1969 SGWU reading raised a hand to the question, “How many of you have ever written a poem?” Nervous laughter and a charged silence fill the space between Rukeyser’s query and her admission that she “asks the question now in all rooms.”  Focusing on this crucial moment of silence, as well as Rukeyser’s attempt to fill the room with poets, to occupy the “now” with poetry, this paper addresses the creation of imagined communal soundscapes and the poetics (and politics) of audience exchange.  Exploring Rukeyser’s explicit civic investments at the reading (the inclusion of her most incendiary poems from The Speed of Darkness (1968): “Orgy,” “Martin Luther King,” “The Speed of Darkness,” and many others), I want to explore the communal space of the poetry reading—a space that gives “Voices to all our voices”—particularly as a facet of the volatile political landscape of 1969.  Reading (and hearing) the intersections between the language of protest—“These sons,     these sons / fall burning into Asia”—and the bardic impulse—“I know I am space / my words are air,”—we can begin to understand this documentary recording as an archive of Rukeyser’s (and poetry’s?) sonic insurgency.

Annie Murray (Concordia University Special Collections) & Jared Wiercinski (Concordia University Libraries)

"Making Sense of Sound: Hearing, Seeing and Touching a Web-Based Audio Archive"

Much of our learning is multimodal, involving more than one sense modality. When we encounter a web-based archive of sounded poems, we are already combining the auditory with the visual. The web, an increasingly multimodal space for the creation and dissemination of culture, presents opportunities for deep engagement with sound. We will examine how hearing, seeing and touching all contribute to the experience of sounded poems on the web. Drawing upon research that examines the visual aspects of listening, and taking into consideration the haptic orientation of much mobile computing, we explore new ways we might design and interact with web-based audio archives.

Michael Nardone (Concordia University)

"'Unstrung, the structure is sound': Jackson Mac Low’s Language Event and Archive"

While numerous lines of dialogue continue to emerge on the archival and pedagogical implications of poetry audio recordings, critical practices based upon the phonotextual object remain underexplored. In this talk, I listen to Jackson Mac Low’s 1971 Sir George Williams performance to trace out possible tactics for phonotextual criticism. I give particular attention to imagining how modes of remixing and (re)performance open up critical engagements that extend beyond the written.

Karis Shearer (UBC Okanagan)

“Daphne Marlatt, Making Public(s)”

Danny Snelson (University of Pennsylvania)

"Speaking, speaking, speaking: bill bissett live, in vinyl, on MP3"

This speech considers spoken performances across a variety of digital platforms and media formats. As a test case, I explore several recordings of readings by bill bissett in the late sixties. Produced for vinyl recording (Awake in th Red Desert, 1968) and live performance in tape and digital formats (SGWU, 1969; Buffalo, 1980; Segue, 2005), bissett's signature style of live prosody is analyzed in relation to the media platforms and contextual registers it inhabits, case by case. Print artifacts are related to recordings, which are, in turn, related to media platforms and distribution networks. Methodologically, this exploration follows recent trends in format studies (Jonathan Sterne, 2012) and comparative media analysis (N. Katherine Hayles, 2013) in an attempt to understand how specific formats inflect, alter, and transform the meaning of bissett's readings. This discussion of format in bissett's performances verges on issues of digital archives, little databases, and the process of transcoding more generally. Both live performance and vinyl record are understood as facets (or modalities) of an internet archive that envelops the work from our present vantage. The historical recordings of bissett's performances are discussed in correspondence to online sites of dispersion, including Mutant SoundsPennSound, and SpokenWeb—each of which is situated within its own unique intertextual location on the internetMost succinctly, we might say that everything that was once spoken (that is to say, recorded) is continually speaking (differently) as it traverses each new archival context and medial format.

Max Stein and Liban Ali Yusuf (Concordia University)

"SpokenWeb Developments"/"Automatic Detection of Poetic Devices"

Travel

Getting to Montreal

Montreal is easily accessible by planes and trains from all the major cities in North America and Europe. Please note that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), requires anyone, including U.S. citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea to have a passport or other appropriate secure document.

From the Airport

The cheapest way to get downtown from the airport is to take the new airport bus, Route 747, which will bring you directly to the metro system. The fare is $9 and functions as a day pass for the Montreal metro system. Taxis are also available and charge a flat rate of $38 from the airport to downtown Montreal.

Getting Around Montreal

The hotel where the conference is being held is conveniently located downtown. The Montreal metro system is the fastest and most cost effective way to get around the city. While individual tickets are $3, a three day pass is $18 (and will last through the conference!).

Metro operating hours are Monday to Friday and Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. The average wait time between trains is eight minutes and three minutes during rush hour.

For more information about public transportation in Montreal, visit www.stm.info.

If you prefer getting around by taxi, it’s always very easy to flag one down on the street. You’ll also find them in front of your hotel, or at one of the city’s many taxi stands.

Also, should the weather prove appropriate, you want to take advantage of the Bixi bicycle rental system that is set up throughout the Montreal metropolitan area.

Accommodation

Accommodation for the conference will be at Hotel du Fort, a four-star, classic, independent, boutique hotel, located in downtown Montreal. It is centrally located at the corner of du Fort and Ste-Catherine Streets. The hotel is a five minute walk from Concordia University and is within walking distance to three metro (subway) stations, as well as many of the city's fine restaurants, shopping malls, and attractions.

Hotel du Fort
1400 Rue du Fort
Montreal, QC
H3H 2R7
Tel: (514) 938-8333 / 1-800-565-6333

View Larger Map

Signature rooms with king size beds and free high-speed wireless Internet are available for our conference participants. The rates are $109 + tax per night, which includes a buffet-style breakfast, or $99 + tax per night without breakfast.

To book your rooms, please call reservations at the above number and mention that you are a guest of the Approaching the Poetry Series Conference at Concordia.

We also have an open-block reservation at the cozy, historic Hotel Chateau Versailles, at a rate of $135 + tax per night. To book at this hotel, you can call reservations at (514) 933-3611 / 1-888-933-8111, and mention the same conference name.

Things to do around the area

Arts & Museums

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts:
http://www.mbam.qc.ca/en/index.html

Musée d’Art Contemporain:
http://www.macm.org/en/index.html

Canadian Centre for Architecture:
http://www.cca.qc.ca/

McCord Museum:
http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/en/

Place Des Arts (Montreal Opera, The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens):
http://laplacedesarts.com/index.en.html

Centaur Theatre Company:
http://www.centaurtheatre.com/

The National Film Board (Events, Screenings and Personal Viewing Stations):
http://www3.nfb.ca/cinerobotheque/

Segal Centre for Performing Arts
http://www.segalcentre.org/

Théâtre Français à Montréal
http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blogs/stageandpage/archive/2009/09/04/th-233-226-tre-fran-231-ais-224-montr-233-al-french-theatre-in-montreal-where-to-find-it.aspx

Dining

Chowhound (Quebec and Montreal):
http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/22

Resto Montreal
http://restomontreal.ca/

Montreal Food
http://www.montrealfood.com/

Urban Spoon
http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/67/Montreal-restaurants.html

Attractions, Activities and Entertainment

Botanical Gardens
http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/en/menu.htm

Planetarium
http://www.planetarium.montreal.qc.ca/index_a.html

Notre Dame Basilica
http://www.basiliquenddm.org/en/

St. Joseph’s Oratory
http://www.saint-joseph.org/en_1001_index.php

Bell Centre
http://centrebell.ca/en/

Cinema Listings
http://www.cinemamontreal.com/eng

General Tourism:
http://www.tourisme-montreal.org

Local Entertainment listings for the week:
http://www.montrealmirror.com/listings/index.html

Véhicule Press’s “Montreal: A Celebration” site:
http://www.vehiculepress.com/montreal/index.html

Yoga Montreal
http://www.yogamontreal.com/