Fifth Brown Bag of the Semester – October 5, 2012

Mack Hagood

Sonic Technologies and the Self

In this talk I’ll give an overview of my dissertation research on “audio-spatial media,” technologies used to create a sense of physical and psychological space through the mediation of sound. These white noise machines, noise-canceling headphones, tinnitus maskers, nature recordings, and mobile sound apps are media designed to add a level of personal technological control in relations between sound, space, self, and other. Audio-spatial practices and technologies work to control attention rather than to transmit information, though they are often used to facilitate concentration on a spreadsheet or entertainment content. Thus my research both complicates and augments screen-centric theory in media studies, reflecting how media practices reshape, remix, bridge, and separate spaces to structure the possibilities of embodied experience and copresence.

Mack Hagood <> is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University’s Department of Communication and Culture, where he does ethnographic research in digital media, sound studies, and popular music. He has written on indie rock in Taiwan (Folklore Forum<>), the use of noise-canceling headphones in air travel (American Quarterly<>), and the mediation of tinnitus (Sounding Out!<>).

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