Performative of what though?

October 25, 2006 at 04:28 | Posted in Grad school update, new york, Things related to critical theory, Things related to John Cage | Leave a comment

I continue to work on/develop/think about body theories. School has been a bit slow the last week or two. My musical ethnography class hit a bit of a lull as our equpiment order has been sitting in limbo, and my Affect Terror Biopolitics class has been difficult for me to navigate. I feel like the discussion in class often focuses solely on the shortcomings of the texts that we read, and that conversation rarely revolves around points of dispersion, or integration. I don’t know why this is such a difficult thing for me to get over because I seem to spend so much time lately talking shit about my peers, but nonetheless I don’t think too fondly of my own digressions either.

It’s starting to get cold here in New York. For the first time in eight years I haven’t been sleeping well–it’s strange. I rarely sleep through the night, and if I do I don’t wake up feeling rested.

I took some splendid field recordings at the Southside Seaport last Friday night with Chris Tabron. We wound up with some great sounds. Of specific fascination to me were recordings of a footbridge (about forty feet in length) going from a dock to a boat. The bridge had wheels at its dockside base, and beneath the wheels was a large metal plate. As the boat shifted in the port’s water the footbridge moved back and forth slightly on the metal plate producing a massive squeaking sound; unique. I also got some great sounds by placing stereo contact mics on one of the steel support beams for the FDR overpass.

I met with Richard Shcechner today to talk about my bodily theories and he brought up some interesting points about genetics that I hadn’t thought of. I also met with Jason Stanyek today in order to discuss some concerns about my project for musical ethnography. I had originally planned to do an audio documentray on skateboarding, but scrapped that idea when I hurt my foot. My new project involves field recordings from all over New York edited together in a way that attempts a mimetic performance of New York’s unmediated sonic body. This project mimics my Body project as it is predicated on the notion that the individuated body exists only in its occupation of multiple parts of a larger whole. Individuated aurality takes place as individuated bodies accumulate a method for navigating collective aurality by focusing on certain sounds, frequencies, rhythms, et cetera, and then codifying these facets into a map that is continually transposed onto the immediate aural geography. My concern was that the project may not be focused enough and I may wind up with nothing but a mess on my hands. Jason suggested that instead of simply going out and recording, that I speak to some people about their notion of sonic New York, record the conversations, record their versions of sonic New York, and then edit the whole thing together. Such amazing advice. The dilemma of my aesthetic process is that in order to conceptualize a methodology I identify and occupy the polar opposite of anything that can be empathized with. In most cases my efforts work, but in this case the human identity provides a crucial aspect in the produciton of aurality, and thus must be integrated rather than expelled. Jason’s response was enlightening because he saw my concerns when I couldn’t.

I got a new job at Arium tea lounge. The job is great. I love being around tea, and people drinking tea.

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