Sound Studies
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Media Studies
Course Number: NMDS 5199
Course Format: Seminar
Location: Online
Permission Required: No
  • Sound
  • Media Studies
While sounds have been explored by both listeners and au(di)teurs for millennia, it is only within the last 130 years that mediated technologies —the phone in 1876, the phonograph in 1877, popular radio broadcasting in the 1920s — have permitted artists to produce work that leaves an archival, sonic trace. In this course, students gain a foundation of how sound has entered the artistic landscape by exploring contemporary artists who “ensound” (as one “envisions”) media for presenting audio-based creative work across numerous genres. These include: gallery and site-specific installations; radio artistry via terrestrial and online broadcasting; Web-based performances; international sound-art festivals; darkened-space cinematic airings; LP/CD anthologizing; and sound walks via new technologies (cell phones, WiFi networks, GPS tracking). Understanding the historical-contemporary contexts of “sounded” production (from Dadaist experiments to Burroughs cut-up artists to tape-art mailers to radio pirates to podcasters to mobile phone artists) allows students to question their relationship to sound as a mode of communication in either creative productions or research-based work. This is an academic seminar with production options if students have the skills, equipment and desire to approach sonic artistry as practitioners. All students conduct non-production-oriented sound walks; deep listening exercises; sound scavenging forays; and numerous eavesdropping assignments alongside academic research and critical explorations of both the historical and contemporary sound art geography. The class culminates in contributions to sound culture discourse either in scholarship or production projects.
Course Open to: Degree Students


Open to Graduate students.