Thomas Patteson: Instruments for New Music: Sound, Technology, and Modernism (2015)

25 November 2015, dusan

“Player pianos, radio-electric circuits, gramophone records, and optical sound film—these were the cutting-edge acoustic technologies of the early twentieth century, and for many musicians and artists of the time, these devices were also the implements of a musical revolution. Instruments for New Music traces a diffuse network of cultural agents who shared the belief that a truly modern music could be attained only through a radical challenge to the technological foundations of the art. Centered in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s, the movement to create new instruments encompassed a broad spectrum of experiments, from the exploration of microtonal tunings and exotic tone colors to the ability to compose directly for automatic musical machines. This movement comprised composers, inventors, and visual artists, including Paul Hindemith, Ernst Toch, Jörg Mager, Friedrich Trautwein, László Moholy-Nagy, Walter Ruttmann, and Oskar Fischinger. Patteson’s fascinating study combines an artifact-oriented history of new music in the early twentieth century with an astute revisiting of still-relevant debates about the relationship between technology and the arts.”

Publisher University of California Press, Nov 2015
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 4.0 license.
ISBN 9780520963122 (EPUB), 9780520963122 (PDF)
250 pages



Journal of Visual Culture 13(1): Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man @ 50 (2014)

13 November 2014, dusan

A collection of thirty commissioned 1,000-word essays marking the semicentennial of McLuhan’s Understanding Media, written by Charles R Acland, John Armitage, Ryan Bishop, Jay David Bolter, Antonio A Casilli, Suzanne de Castell, Richard Cavell, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Edward Comor, Wolfgang Ernst, Gary Genosko, W Terrence Gordon, Paolo Granata, Richard Grusin, Erkki Huhtamo, Derrick de Kerckhove, Peter Krapp, Elena Lamberti, Paul Levinson, Henry Lowood, Peter Lunenfeld, Lev Manovich, Janine Marchessault, Shannon Mattern, WJT Mitchell, Jussi Parikka, Jeffrey T Schnapp, Marc Steinberg, Jonathan Sterne, William Uricchio, and Brent Strang.

Edited by Raiford Guins
Publisher Sage, April 2014
ISSN 1470-4129
114 pages



Trevor Pinch, Karin Bijsterveld (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (2011)

18 July 2014, dusan

“Written by the leading scholars and researchers in the emerging field of sound studies, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies offers new and fully engaging perspectives on the significance of sound in its material and cultural forms. The book considers sounds and music as experienced in such diverse settings as shop floors, laboratories, clinics, design studios, homes, and clubs, across an impressively broad range of historical periods and national and cultural contexts.

Science has traditionally been understood as a visual matter, a study which has historically been undertaken with optical technologies such as slides, graphs, and telescopes. This book questions that notion powerfully by showing how listening has contributed to scientific practice. Sounds have always been a part of human experience, shaping and transforming the world in which we live in ways that often go unnoticed. Sounds and music, the authors argue, are embedded in the fabric of everyday life, art, commerce, and politics in ways which impact our perception of the world. Through an extraordinarily diverse set of case studies, authors illustrate how sounds — from the sounds of industrialization, to the sounds of automobiles, to sounds in underwater music and hip-hop, to the sounds of nanotechnology — give rise to new forms listening practices. In addition, the book discusses the rise of new public problems such as noise pollution, hearing loss, and the “end” of the amateur musician that stem from the spread and appropriation of new sound- and music-related technologies, analog and digital, in many domains of life.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2011
ISBN 0199995818, 9780195388947
624 pages

Reviews: John F. Barber (Leonardo, 2012), Bruce Johnson (Popular Music, 2013), William Cheng (Journal of the American Musicological Society, 2014).

Companion website

PDF, PDF (56 MB)

James R. Beniger: The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (1986)

26 April 2014, dusan

“James Beniger traces the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of the past century. In the United States, applications of steam power in the early 1800s brought a dramatic rise in the speed, volume, and complexity of industrial processes, making them difficult to control. Scores of problems arose: fatal train wrecks, misplacement of freight cars for months at a time, loss of shipments, inability to maintain high rates of inventory turnover. Inevitably the Industrial Revolution, with its ballooning use of energy to drive material processes, required a corresponding growth in the exploitation of information: the Control Revolution.

Between the 1840s and the 1920s came most of the important information-processing and communication technologies still in use today: telegraphy, modern bureaucracy, rotary power printing, the postage stamp, paper money, typewriter, telephone, punch-card processing, motion pictures, radio, and television. Beniger shows that more recent developments in microprocessors, computers, and telecommunications are only a smooth continuation of this Control Revolution. Along the way he touches on many fascinating topics: why breakfast was invented, how trademarks came to be worth more than the companies that own them, why some employees wear uniforms, and whether time zones will always be necessary.”

Publisher Harvard University Press, 1986
ISBN 0674020766, 9780674020764
493 pages
via babyalanturing

Review (JoAnne Yates, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 1988)
Review (Krishan Kumar, Journal of American Studies, 1988)
Review (Kirkus Reviews)

Book-inspired website

PDF (16 MB, updated on 2016-6-16)

Philip Marchand: Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger (1989)

22 March 2014, dusan

He was described as “the greatest put-on artist of all time” and even as the greatest intellectual pioneer since Freud. Bouncing back and forth between the quiet University of Toronto campus and the glitzy world of the New York media, McLuhan was surely the most unlikely prophet of the sixties, yet his work underlies any serious discussion of the effects of media on our lives. (from the back cover)

Publisher Ticknor & Fields, New York, 1989
ISBN 0899194850
320 pages

Review (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times Books, 1989)
Review (E. Hamilton, Canadian Literature, 2001)
Review (Robert McKenzie, IPCT, 1994)
Review (William H. Melody, Information, Communication & Society, undated)


PDF (50 MB, no OCR)

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