This 2017-2018 academic year, a few of us Digital Fellows – Rachel Rakov, Kristin Hackett, Jojo Karlin and myself – are very excited to be organizing the GC Digital Initiatives (GCDI) Sound Series #GCDISound.
The GCDI Sound Series includes talks and workshops on topics related to sound analysis, comparison, theory, production, and recording. This series explores a variety of research methods and perspectives on sound, including audio annotation and processing, oral histories and interviews, soundscapes, and DIY audio equipment. We invite scholars from all disciplines to explore ways we can study and use sound in our scholarship and pedagogy.
The breadth of event topics, tools and scopes reflects an interdisciplinary approach to sound studies and methodologies. Events will engage scholars in critical approaches to listening to and theorizing sound, to explore new tools and methodologies for recording, analyzing and producing sound, and to broaden understandings of what constitutes ‘the digital’ in relation to sound.
From digital oral histories to podcasting to audio annotation with praat and python, we are really excited for the lineup of events this spring semester. This is the full schedule of events so far:
- 2/27 Field-Recording: Beyond Your Ears
- 3/6 Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Oral History Project, Digital Archive and Documentary
- 3/7 Doing Digital Oral Histories Workshop
- 3/13 Sound! Workshop
- 3/20 Podcasting Workshop
- 3/22 Short Documentaries ITP Skills Lab
- 3/27 Audio Annotation with Praat and Python
Find more information on the GCDI Sound Series, each of the above events and our past events at cuny.is/gcdisound.
The first GCDI Sound Series event of 2018 will be a talk by Zach Poff whose work I first found out about when I visited London last May 2017 to attend a SoundCamp event at Stave Hill Ecological Park in Rotherhithe, with funding from GC Digital Initiatives to make my trip possible.
I will briefly divulge this story.
“SoundCamps” are: “Outdoors events on International Dawn Chorus Day, exploring the ecologies and acoustics of surprising places, and sharing their sounds in real time. They are loosely strung together by Reveil: a live 24 hour broadcast that tracks the sounds of daybreak as they emerge, travelling West from one open microphone to the next in a loop lasting one earth day” (http://soundtent.org/index.html).
The hub of all the SoundCamps in the UK and beyond was located at the SoundCamp in Rotherhithe, where I was visiting. There, I met one of the organizers Grant Smith of Reveil Radio, who led the coordination of the streaming technology and is a sound artist and academic. At SoundCamp, Grant led the coordination of the streaming technology and the SoundTent set-up and hosted a workshop on creating a low-cost live-streaming device with Rasberry Pi (curious? follow along here). During the workshop and in the meanwhile, he delved into various ruminations on sound theory, phenomenology, cost-accessible technologies, the acoustic commons, soundscapes, sound art, and various people creating projects that speak to related themes.
While I was already across the pond to attend SoundCamp at its hub, Grant told me about another SoundCamp going on right in New York – at Wave Farm, “a non-profit arts organization driven by experimentation with broadcast media and the airwaves,” in Acra, NY. That SoundCamp was hosted by New York area media artist, educator, and maker-of-things Zach Poff where attendees listened to the livestream of his Pond Station sound art installation. Attendees included an intimate group of Wave Farm folks and their friends and family (see more on their April 2016 SoundCamp event here). This year, maybe some of us city folks at The Graduate Center will look into Wave Farm’s 2018 SoundCamp… (I’ll be writing another blog post on that in a couple of months.)
To return to the GCDI Sound Series…
So when I was talking with Grant and asked about people doing creative or academic work with sound who we could potentially invite to the GC, he immediately recommended Zach. And then not only did we – GC Digital Initiatives – end up inviting Zach to give a talk but this visit along with other visits (including attending a DHSI workshop on sound) and discussions with GCDI Deputy Director Dr. Lisa Rhody and the Digital Fellows sparked an entire series of talks and workshops related to sound analysis, production, theories and methods this 2017-2018 academic year.
In addition to Zach Poff’s upcoming talk, Field-Recording: Beyond Your Ears, we are excited to host two events by another invited speaker, Doug Boyd: Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Oral History Project, Digital Archive and Documentary and Doing Digital Oral History.
More future GCDI Sound Series events include workshops by various GC PhD students involved in GC Digital Initiatives, including (in chronological order): Sound! Workshop by myself a Digital Fellow, Podcasting by Social Media Fellow Naomi Barrettara, Short Documentaries ITP Skills Lab by GC Urban Education PhD Student Sara Vogel, and Audio Annotation with Praat and Python by Digital Fellow Rachel Rakov.
Without further ado, we hope you are able to attend and participate in the 2017-2018 GCDI Sound Series this spring semester! All events are free and open to the public. Find more information on the GCDI Sound Series at: cuny.is/gcdisound.