Hearing the Gaze, Feeling the Sound: Directed Listening in Audio Remix Culture
John Cain Harrison
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This thesis examines the cultural and textual forms that direct our experience of listening.
It addresses this consumption from both the bodily frameworks of intersectional subjectivity as well as affective assemblage. The concept of the assemblage allows for tracking mobile auditory flows of sensation, while intersectionality best models the position of minority bodies, minority politics, and minority listening in contemporary culture. In moving between these, I argue for the enduring, mutually-reinforcing necessity of using both. Finally, the remix provides both a methodological lens for revealing directive audio forms as well as marking a particular historic shift in listening.
In chapter one, I examine Spork! An Erotic Love Story(2009) by cirrocumulus and
jiaren_shadow. This piece is a reworking of the audiobook adaptation of the novelization of the eleventh Star Trek (2009) feature film. The woman-authored remix creates a male-male erotic story based on diegetically heterosexual protagonists. In doing so, it reveals the way listening is being directed in the original both in terms of intersectionality and sensation. The intersectional analysis focuses on gender, using the remix to bring out how listening is mediated through a male voice and the correspondence between this mediation and the erasure of women in the narrative. In terms of sensation, this comparison highlights the shift in encouraged manifestations of arousal from feelings rooted in action and adventure to that of sexual stimulation. I also explore the text‘s relationship to the Star Trekfranchise and its position as sound, as a remix, and as pornography. The chapter builds to an argument that remix culture facilitates an explosion of mediated bodies that represent a more flexible sense of the auditory for the contemporary moment.
Chapter two listens to the audio of a parodic remix of Lady Gaga‘s ―Alejandro‖ (2010)
by Latina comedienne, La Coacha (2010). The analysis locates the tensions between remix and source text at the intersection of race, sexuality, and gender, in its examination of the way Gaga‘s voice directs listeners in regards to Latin American male sexuality. Affectively, this chapter addresses humor and sensations of amusement. I conclude with a more thorough discussion of the union between affective and intersectional analytics and their mutual dependence as made clear in La Coacha‘s work.
Having paired grassroots remixes with commercial audio production in both chapters, the
conclusion uncouples them, returning to this introduction‘s examinations of Lady Gaga and DJ Earworm on their own. This section unpacks the question of who Lady Gaga and Earworm are. I sketch the relationship between the explosion of Gaga‘s body by commercial representation with the subsequent assembling of Earworm‘s out of these exploded pieces and those of other stars. This is followed by a discussion of the greater implications of the thesis for remix culture and for scholarship on listening.
world around them, all texts draw upon previous work. Complex vectors of influence always come into play with all forms of textual creation. However, the explicit augmentation, subtraction, and reorganization of text does mark a unique set of practices that have proliferated in the contemporary moment alongside technologies of digital reproduction. Today, remixes are made using media across the spectrum from films and television shows to books, photographs, and video games. These sound texts
very possibility within Star Trek‘s diegesis. Therefore, cirrocumulus and jiaren_shadow‘s taking the character in a direction that runs directly counter to the source text creates the point of departure for this chapter. THE FINAL FRONTIER The Star Trek media franchise began its life as a television series broadcast on NBC from 1966 to 1969. Created by Gene Roddenberry, the show was set in outer space, premised on the crew of the USS Enterprise exploring and seeking out new life. The original
―Poker Face‖ (2008), an even greater success, which won her ―Best Dance Recording‖ at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. In 2009, Gaga released the music video for ―Paparazzi,‖ her first production to significantly exceed the contemporary norms of the genre. The video is nearly eight minutes long, with scenes prior to, after, and during the song, itself, that are not accented by music. Created by Swedish director, Jonas Åkerlund, the story explores the violence of fame, which is particularly
consistent with the dreamy qualities of her production. Additionally, Halberstam points to two recordings that highlight her divestment from coherence. The first is in the song ―Telephone,‖ where the use of electronic vocal effects washes out conceptions of a singular authentic voice. More particularly, the stutter which 75 highlights the technologies of mediation and the stuttering of personal deployment of the self. She stutters, for example on the line, ―I‘m busy,‖ importantly a sentence
visuality and texts appealing to the other senses. Basic identitarian critiques of cultural production have always tended to pool around literature, visual texts such as photography, and multimedia – film, television, or online content. Consequently, too, debates on minority identification and media have primarily been acted out across these textual terrains. These analyses have overlooked leaving the singularities of raced and sexed voices as soundsand other minority-related critiques of