David Novak: Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (2013)

12 November 2017, dusan

Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged as a genre in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe, and North America. With its cultivated obscurity, ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise has captured the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience.

For its scattered listeners, Noise always seems to be new and to come from somewhere else: in North America, it was called ‘Japanoise.’ But does Noise really belong to Japan? Is it even music at all? And why has Noise become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization and participatory media at the turn of the millennium?

In Japanoise, David Novak draws on more than a decade of research in Japan and the United States to trace the ‘cultural feedback’ that generates and sustains Noise. He provides a rich ethnographic account of live performances, the circulation of recordings, and the lives and creative practices of musicians and listeners. He explores the technologies of Noise and the productive distortions of its networks. Capturing the textures of feedback—its sonic and cultural layers and vibrations—Novak describes musical circulation through sound and listening, recording and performance, international exchange, and the social interpretations of media.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, 2013
Sign, Storage, Transmission series
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 License
ISBN 9780822353799, 0822353792
x+292 pages
via author

Reviews: Shaun McKenna (Japan Times, 2013), Scott McLemee (Inside Higher Ed, 2013), Nana Kaneko (Ethnomusicology Rev, 2014), Andrés García Molina (Current Musicology, 2014), Max Ritts (Society+Space, 2014), Jonathan Service (Japan Forum, 2014), Rosemary Overell (Perfect Beat, 2014), Patrick Valiquet (Popular Musicology, 2014), Owen Coggins (Harts & Minds, 2014), Seth Mulliken (Sounding Out!, 2014), E. Taylor Atkins (Asian Music, 2015), Shelina Brown (Notes, 2015), Jennifer Milioto Matsue (Am Anthropologist, 2015), Carolyn S. Stevens (Am Ethnologist, 2015), Christopher Tonelli (Sound Studies, 2016), Benjamin Harley (Enculturation, 2016), Etienne RP (2017).

Book website, with supplemental media


Luciana Parisi: Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013)

20 February 2015, dusan

“In Contagious Architecture, Luciana Parisi offers a philosophical inquiry into the status of the algorithm in architectural and interaction design. Her thesis is that algorithmic computation is not simply an abstract mathematical tool but constitutes a mode of thought in its own right, in that its operation extends into forms of abstraction that lie beyond direct human cognition and control. These include modes of infinity, contingency, and indeterminacy, as well as incomputable quantities underlying the iterative process of algorithmic processing.

The main philosophical source for the project is Alfred North Whitehead, whose process philosophy is specifically designed to provide a vocabulary for “modes of thought” exhibiting various degrees of autonomy from human agency even as they are mobilized by it. Because algorithmic processing lies at the heart of the design practices now reshaping our world—from the physical spaces of our built environment to the networked spaces of digital culture—the nature of algorithmic thought is a topic of pressing importance that reraises questions of control and, ultimately, power. Contagious Architecture revisits cybernetic theories of control and information theory’s notion of the incomputable in light of this rethinking of the role of algorithmic thought. Informed by recent debates in political and cultural theory around the changing landscape of power, it links the nature of abstraction to a new theory of power adequate to the complexities of the digital world.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
Technologies of Lived Abstraction series
ISBN 0262018632, 9780262018630
392 pages

For a New Computational Aesthetics: Algorithmic Environments as Actual Objects lecture by Parisi (2012, video, 72 min).

Reviews: Lecomte (Mute, 2013), Ikoniadou (Computational Culture, 2014).


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