A big thanks to Dr Joyce Shintani for kicking off ArcDigital talks for this semester! We started these lectures last academic year in order to excavate the interzone between theory and practice of/in digital culture, the trandisciplinary zones often left untouched by the established disciplines of academia. Last year we had a range of excellent speakers from Espen Aarseth to Steven Shaviro and Gary Genosko (and a number of others!), and this year we continue from Shintani to Greg Elmer, Wolfgang Ernst, Richard Grusin...and so on.
Shintani's talk focused on music and sound in recent media art --- and she presented an overview of some of the themes in recent exhibitions such as Art Basel, Ars Electronica and Sonar (Barcelona). By focusing on the element of music, Shintani was touching on such regimes of sensibility too often left untouched by the visual emphasis of media art/theory -- an idea that resonates strongly with such claims for a "sonic turn" in cultural theory. Turn or not, such a multimodal perspective is much needed to understand multimedia as something more than just multiple media put together. Indeed, its not only sound and something else, but a focus on sound that deterritorialises our perspective on works of art from visual screen based to installations. Its not only about music per se, in that sense, but about sound as an attraction point for the user and for the analyst. Shintani pointed to some implications:
- music has been built upon the centrality of the word (as already Adorno argued); hence a much more multimodal approach is needed -- media is not only literature based, but interfaces of direct bodily sensations, musical expectations etc. demand a different focus
- This has implications in terms of institutions from teaching to performance
- a post object-subject approach demands a much more refined idea of embodiment and interaction than has been catered in the word-biased approaches.
All this is clear and stems from what she identified as current "trends" -- not in terms of fashionability but the singularity of some of the works she is interested in;
- Increasing minituarization
- Enabling ease of access to sound/music -- i.e. a certain DIY approach
- cooperation and collaboration in the process of art making
- "sophistication" of interactivity in connection with easing of access
- a strong focus on mixed media -- "Continuation of breaking down of barriers, mixing of media that stems from Adorno's "Verfransung" -- a wandering crossover, aberrant paths of and in media production).
In this context, Shintani is working on her new project: "Embodiment and "the Other". A multidisciplinary Comparison of Changing Aspects of the Subject in Musical Multimedia Works.