Apr 222013

Instructor: Benjamin Tausig

CRN 1910
June 3 – June 27,
Monday-Thursday, 4:00 – 5:50
Course Description  
A Puerto Rican-born New Yorker rides his bicycle from the South Bronx over the Willis Avenue Bridge into Manhattan, a Don Omar single issuing from the boombox attached to the rear of his Schwinn. The music is amplified by his stereo system, and contorted by the Doppler effect, adjacent automobile traffic, and the flowing water of the Harlem River below.
All sound is marked by motion, but rarely more so than in a city like New York, where every block seems to represent a sonic world transplanted, where the subway is a hornet’s nest of expectations about sound and personal space, and where any sound produced will, almost by default, traverse private boundaries.
This month-long, intensive summer course meets four days a week, and examines the myriad dimensions of sound and mobility in New York, from the routes by which sonic cultures immigrate to cities to the ways that sound moves through built physical spaces, from the normative social rules of sound in spaces of transportation to broadcasting technologies that set sound in motion in new ways. We will read a rich cross-section of work including ethnographies of immigrant music, theoretical writing on sound and mobility, and practical texts on sonic field recording. In addition, students will be expected to make weekly sound recordings in the city, both on their own and in group field trips, using equipment from the New School media lab. We will explore strategies for examining and representing sound in motion in urban space. Final projects will include the option of written pieces or media presentations.
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