Date: Tuesday March 24th, 5:30-6:30pm

Venue: Building 80, Level 2, Room 2 (Swanston Academic Building), Ground Level – Swanston Street, RMIT City Campus


Beginning in the first part of the twentieth century with the portable gramophone and portable tube radio and continuing with the transistor radio, the boombox, the Walkman, the portable CD player, and the iPod, a range of mobile consumer products were developed, all with the primary function of outputting sound to human ears. These were devices that were listened to, actuating a variety of sonic worlds. Over the past 10 years or so, common consumer electronic products have begun to include an increasing number of sensors, and these devices now have the capacity to listen with us, taking in sound and processing it in real-time. Using a few case studies (noise cancelling headphones, music identification apps, activity trackers, wearable music composition interfaces), this paper examines the aesthetic and political ramifications of what might be called “the sensorization of listening.”

Jason Stanyek teaches at the University of Oxford where he is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Tutorial Fellow at St. John’s College. Before arriving to Oxford he was Assistant Professor at New York University, Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard University, and External Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. A primary strain of his research is on music technology. The two-volume Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies (co-edited with Sumanth Gopinath) was published in early 2014 and “Deadness: Technologies of the Intermundane”—co-written with Benjamin Piekut and published in TDR—was given the Association of Theater in Higher Education’s Outstanding Article Award in 2011 and was also named by MIT Press as one of the 50 most influential articles published across all of its journals over the past 50 years. In 2013 he delivered keynotes for two international conferences (“Music, Digitisation, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies” and “Functional Sounds: The First International Conference of the European Sound Studies Association”). He also frequently writes on Brazilian culture. His research on Brazilian music and dance has appeared in a range of academic journals and edited volumes. He edited an interdisciplinary issue of the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation on Brazilian improvisation and was guest producer of an hour-long radio show called “The Brazilian Diaspora in the United States” for Public Radio International’s programme Afropop Worldwide. An volume on bossa nova (co-edited with Frederick Moehn) and an ethnographic monographic on Brazilian performance in the United States are forthcoming in 2016. He currently serves as Reviews Editor of the Cambridge University Press journal Twentieth-Century Music and as general editor for Bloomsbury’s new series 33 1/3. Brazil, an offshoot of their long-running 33 1/3 series.

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