Panel: The Matter with Media
There is something that happens in the very moment of a ‘live’ utterance—that is to say an utterance that is simultaneously performed and transmitted—that is often overlooked, invisible, and, in a strange sense, inaudible. When one speaks, as Bernard Stiegler and Jacques Derrida have explored, as a philosopher, for example, or an artist, a politician or a citizen, into a microphone attached to a recording/transmitting apparatus, one’s words, in the very moment of their production, are swept away from their locus—the body out of which they issue—to appear elsewhere. It is the nature of this conjoined disappearance/appearance of the audible trace that this paper will investigate. How is it that, in the moment of its production, a voice, already a reproduction, becomes an artifact that must be (re)assigned to a register of sense, a community of meaning, a material body? Especially when the artifactual appearance of such a trace is plural, massive, and distributed? What one might say may be interpreted, deployed, decried, and possessed in a variety of ways, with immediate, contradistinct, and contesting claims and interests, drawing upon—or manufacturing— the authority of a certain event, person, context or trace. How is it that such conditions as culpability, sincerity, deceit, truth, or responsibility are reattached, via such audible artifacts, to sources which are neither direct nor unproblematic sites? And with what consequences? This presentation will address the material aspects of sound artifacts as evidence: scientific, social, political, artistic. Among the various aspects of technically reproduced sound as evidentiary trace that will be addressed are: the cinematic hors-cadre or off-screen sound; audial spectrality (e,g., hauntings, possessions, ‘phone calls from the dead’); social media, audio environments, music and aesthetic soundwork.
- Thomas Zummer, is an artist and lecturer at the Tyler School of Art (US) and a visiting professor in critical studies in the Transmedia Programme at the Hogeschool Sint Lukas, Brussels (B), as well as visiting professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee (CH). Thomas Zummer is an internationally aclaimed independent scholar and writer, as well as being an artist and curator. As an artist he has exhibited internationally since 1976, including at Exit Art, Thread Waxing Space, and The Dia Foundation in New York City as well as at the CAPC in Bordeaux and Wigmore Hall in London. With his wife, they have had a long collaboration as well with The Wooster Group, acting in many of their performances. Most recently, Zummer was artist in residence at the haudenschildGarage in La Jolla, California. In 1995 Thomas Zummer won 5th Prize in the ACA/CODA Architectural Design Competition for the City of Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics.