Friday, 18 April 2014

Gendy Trouble - Sound, Gender and Technology from Xenakis to Butler and beyond

Course description at University of Arts Berlin (Summer Semester 2014)

What does Iannis Xenakis' "Génération Dynamique Stochastique" approach to waveform synthesis (shortened to "GenDy") have to do with Judith Butler's seminal feminist work "Gender Trouble"? Aren't maths, technology, programming and sound gender neutral?

Countering a common perception that this is true, in this seminar we will examine the gendered nature of technology and sound in its construction, distribution and use. We will be reading texts and discussing the following questions;  What is the role of gender within sound and computational/generative art? How does the continued hegemony of the male subject in technology and experimental/electronic music lead to an impoverishment to its development? What can alternative, including feminist, approaches provide in order to challenge and subvert majoritarian beliefs and practices in contemporary media, computer and sonic arts?

Indicative reading list: Judith Butler - "Gender Trouble", Iannis Xenakis - "Formalized Music", Sadie Plant "Zeros and Ones", Tara Rodgers "Pink Noises - Women on Electronic Music and Sound", Luciana Parisi "Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Bio-Technology and the Mutations of Desire", Curtis Roads - "Microsound", Shulamith Firestone - "The Dialectic of Sex - The Case for Feminist Revolution", Susan McClary - "Feminine Endings: Music, Gender & Sexuality", Donna Harraway "Cyborg Manifesto", VNS Matrix - "A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for 21st Century", Valerie Solanas "Scum Manifesto", Anne Carson "The Gender of Sound", Rosi Braidotti Chapter 9 "Discontinuous Becomings" of "Nomadic Subjects. Embodiment and Sexual difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory" 

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