Sounding new media : immersion and embodiment in the arts and culture / Frances Dyson.

by Dyson, FrancesLooking glass.

Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. ; University of California Press, 2009.Description: xi, 246 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.ISBN: 9780520258983; 0520258983; 9780520258990; 0520258991.Subject(s): Virtual reality -- Philosophy | SoundsLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Sounding New Media examines the long-neglected role of sound and audio in the development of new media theory and practice, including new technologies and performance art events, with particular emphasis on sound, embodiment, art, and technological interactions. Frances Dyson takes an historical approach, focusing on technologies that became available in the mid-twentieth century-electronics, imaging, and digital and computer processing-and analyzing the work of such artists as John Cage, Edgard Var#65533;se, Antonin Artaud, and Char Davies. She utilizes sound's intangibility to study ideas about embodiment (or its lack) in art and technology as well as fears about technology and the so-called "post-human." Dyson argues that the concept of "immersion" has become a path leading away from aesthetic questions about meaning and toward questions about embodiment and the physical. The result is an insightful journey through the new technologies derived from electronics, imaging, and digital and computer processing, toward the creation of an aesthetic and philosophical framework for considering the least material element of an artwork, sound.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1 Ethereal Transmissions
  • The "Tele" of Ph_n_
  • 2 Celestial Telegraphies
  • 3 Aural Objects, Recording Devices, and the Proximate Apparatus
  • 4 Death, Silence, and the Tape Recorder
  • 5 Immersion
  • 6 Embodying Technology
  • From Sound Effect to Body Effect
  • 7 Atmospheres
  • Conclusion: Music and Noise
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index

Reviews provided by Syndetics


"New media" is a general term applied to a wide variety of cultural forms influenced by digital technology, such as virtual reality, Internet art, robotics, biogenetic art, and video installation. This book examines how sound contributes to the immaterial nature of new media, as well as the immersion and embodiment experienced by its audiences. Dyson (UC Davis) explains how these conditions were initiated in "old media" including the telephone, radio, and analog film; she argues that they have fostered a "rhetorical structure" through which new media has been conceptualized. Four chapters are dedicated to immateriality and embodiment in early technology--telephone, telegraph, tape recorder--in conjunction with a wide range of theoretical positions expressed by Aristotle, Plato, Sigmund Freud, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Derrida, among others. The significant contributions made to the field of sound art by Antonin Artaud and John Cage are introduced. Additional chapters shift to new media directly, focusing most carefully on the work of Char Davies, Jon McCormack, and Catherine Richards. Dyson seamlessly integrates theoretical perspectives with the history of technological developments in this thought-provoking work for scholars and practitioners. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students through professionals/practitioners. E. K. Mix Butler University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Frances Dyson is Associate Professor of Technocultural Studies at the University of California, Davis.