Sound Studies Salon

@ The Public School LA
951 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA 90012


January 28, 2016 - 7:30pm
Jacob Goldman - it's more how I expected it to be than I expected that it would be
Jacob will screen clips from his recent video installation in which participants attempt to describe the sound of their own voices as they speak. Afterward, we'll consider speech as a mode of sonic experimentation through discussion, several simple activities and the work of other artists/performers.

Jacob Goldman is an artist and musician living in Los Angeles. He's a former student of Joan La Barbara, Rhys Chatham and Morton Subotnick, and is currently artist-in-residence at CalArts' Center for Integrated Media


The Sound Studies Salon is a public salon focused upon critical issues of sound as they may relate to culture, politics, history, architecture, environment, ecology, art, performance, music, science, and technology.

Any and all intellectually curious souls are welcome to attend as well as participate in developing programming and events. Events are free [unless otherwise noted]. At present, events are anticipated to occur at least once per month. Please sign up for our mailing list or come to an event to learn more.

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October 29, 2015
Sarah Kessler - Milli Vanilli and the Imperative to Synchronize
We will use the space of the Sound Studies Salon to explore and reprocess the *scandal* of the late 1980s-early 1990s Afro-German musical duo Milli Vanilli, who were widely accused of “ventriloquism” when audible skips in audio playback compromised their lip-synch act during a live performance. Among other approaches to this infamous narrative, we will examine the raced and gendered discourses surrounding Milli Vanilli’s public punishment in the wake of their alleged deception. We will also draw historical and theoretical links between the policing of Milli Vanilli's failed synchronization and German “reunification," exemplified by the fall of the Berlin wall during the same period. We will ask: under what circumstances are certain voices and bodies given the imperative to synchronize? What are the cultural politics of synchronization, and whom do they serve?

Sarah Kessler is a Ph.D. candidate in comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine, where she is completing a dissertation on ventriloquism in contemporary popular culture. Her writing on art, film, and media has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, In These Times, Public Books, and Sounding Out!, among other publications.

September 24, 2015
Patrick Shen - In Pursuit of Silence
In Pursuit of Silence is a documentary film about our relationship with sound and the impact of noise on our lives. From the Desert Fathers of third century A.D. that became the model for early monastics to John Cage’s seminal silent composition 4’33” which would go on to inspire a generation of artists, humankind has had a long fascination with silence. Currently in post-production In Pursuit of Silence will be the first comprehensive look at this topic whose many dimensions lie at the heart of so much of human progress. Award-winning director Patrick Shen will share some sneak peek clips and discuss the paradox of making a film about silence and the subsequent identity crisis it all inspired..

Patrick Shen is a filmmaker and the founder of Transcendental Media. Patrick’s work, which includes the award-winning films Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality, The Philosopher Kings, and La Source, has screened at over 100 film festivals across the globe, broadcast in over 25 territories, received 18 awards and 6 nominations, and has been featured on CNN, Huffington Post, LA Times, Boston Globe, and the Washington Post. Since 2012 Patrick has been lecturing and leading filmmaking workshops all over the globe as a film envoy for the U.S. State Department for their American Film Showcase. He has presented his work at USC School of Cinematic Arts, the Smithsonian, NYC Museum of Natural History, Princeton, Cornell, Duke, and Harvard University and back in 1999 was invited to the White House to meet with President Clinton. He is currently in post-production on a new film called In Pursuit of Silence which is set for a 2016 release.

May 14, 2015
R. Schwarz - The Scale of Things - Record Release / Listening Party
Sound Art Series by Gruenrekorder
Germany / 2015 / Gruen 154 / 12" vinyl
Distantly rooted in musique concrète, ”The Scale Of Things” discloses an uncanny, multi-layered sonic universe of its own. The seven compositions are based on the exploration of nature recordings for unheard details and hidden layers, focused on patterns of stochastic order and unique chaos created without musical intention. The harmony we hear is the harmony of overwhelming and collective uncertainty, because this nature is chaos.

Audio transformations that remain hidden, accompanied by modular synthesizers, purposely blur most links to the “real” world in favor of a strange and poetic realm, following the erratic patterns of nature.

Mesmerizing and disturbing at the same time, an ambivalent dualism emerges of a strange world that is dissolving and not dissolving. A world that can only be described by it’s surface. Expelled from nature, as our brain is expelled from nature.

Die Natur ist das einzige immerwährende Menschenunmögliche.

Robert Schwarz is a Viennese architect and sound artist, currently joining the MAK Schindler Artists and Architects-in-Residency Program in Los Angeles, where he is investigating the fictional architecture of Thomas Bernhard. He works in the intersection of fine art, music and architecture in various artistic and experimental settings. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Vienna University of Technology, and a Master of Arts from Berlin University of the Arts and studied computer music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. His installation works have been presented at museums and festivals such as Ars Electronica, Club Transmediale Berlin, Singuhr Hörgalerie, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Wiener Festwochen, TONSPUR für einen öffentlichen raum and Kunsthalle Wien. He has released compositions under different aliases on the labels Laton, Kinderkreuzzug, Vienna Wildstyle, Sonic Terrain, Mudblob and most recently on Gruenrekorder. Further he is a founding member of mostlikely a Viennese agency for architecture, design and sound.

April 23, 2015
Karen Tongson - Karaoke in Our Time: Technology, Performance, Politics
Karaoke—a Japanese term that translates into English as “empty orchestra”—which has achieved global ubiquity. Once consigned to seedy dive bars and windowless noraebang (the Korean word for private rooms hidden from view with an hourly rate), karaoke has come out of the dark. The empty orchestra can accompany us wherever we go: on our smart phones and tablets; on YouTube, on demand through our local cable or satellite providers, and—depending on what part of the world we’re in—in our taxis and Lyft cars. Karaoke has even been used by artists to stage public protests (for example, Valerie Tevere and Angel Nevarez’s recent participatory art project, Another Protest Song: Karaoke with a Message). On the other side of the political spectrum, karaoke has been enlisted to subdue a restless electorate for the Cambodian dictator, Hun Sen, who employs an in-house composer and video team to promote his policies through earworms and sing-along music videos. This presentation explores karaoke’s many dimensions, from the invention of the first karaoke machines in Japan and the Philippines, to its uses in fascist regimes, and in queer nightlife cultures.

Karen Tongson is Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at University of Southern California, and the author of Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries (NYU Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in a range of scholarly and popular publications, including Public Culture, Social Text, GLQ, Sounding Out, and Novel: A Forum on Fiction. She is currently the series editor for Postmillennial Pop at NYU Press, and an associate editor of the Journal of Popular Music Studies. Her current book project, Empty Orchestra: Karaoke. Critical. Apparatus., critiques prevailing paradigms of imitation in contemporary aesthetics and critical theory, while offering a genealogy of karaoke technologies, techniques, and desires.

April 2, 2015
Room Acoustics Workshop w/ Tyler Adams
This workshop will specifically focus upon improving the acoustic conditions in The Public School. The workshop will provide a very basic introduction to reverberation (measurement, calculation, criteria, and perceptual impacts), the acoustical characteristics of common materials, and DIY strategies for reducing reverberation in small spaces. As a design exercise, the group will strategize on practical, aesthetic, and cost-effective methods for improving the acoustics in The Public School.

Tyler Adams is an artist and acoustician. His work has been exhibited at Steve Turner Contemporary, The New World Symphony Miami, Taubman Museum of Art, MuseumsQuartier Wien, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, DOX Centre for Contemporary Art Prague, and ZKM Karlsruhe. As an acoustician, he has consulted on a variety of projects such as laboratories, schools, hospitals, office buildings, high-density residential, environmental and traffic noise mitigation, industrial parks, and performance spaces.

March 12, 2015
Anke Eckardt - Aesthetics and Acoustics / Ongoing Projects

Anke will lead an open discussion about the aesthetic and acoustic aspects of three of her ongoing projects:
  • A sonification of the multiple proportions of the 'How House' in Silver Lake, designed by architect Rudolph Schindler in 1925. The project is a collaboration with German sculptor Sandra Peters, who already created a series of pieces inspired by this house. Anke and Sandra currently work on a sound installation completing the series.

  • Aiming for the creation of translational and cross-modal sensory experiences, Anke realises a new installation that simulates an endlessly rising space. The new artwork is a commission for DIGITAL SYNESTHESIA, a transdisciplinary artistic research project based at the Department of Digital Art at University of Appled Arts Vienna, Austria.

  • Anke is planning a collaborative research project on a passive/active noise cancellation system for highways, comissioned by an Italian highway company. The project is initiated by the platform BUILDING ART INVENTION at the University of Kassel, which Anke is part of.

Anke Eckardt is a German artist, based in Cologne and Berlin. Her work encompasses installations, research and teaching. She presents herartworks internationally in exhibitions (Ars Electronics, NEMO, SteirischerHerbst, Club Transmediale, Skanu Mesz, European Media Art Festival a.s.o.).Her main field of research are SONIC SPACES where she investigates basic components of space. Anke Eckardt published a monography at Revolver Publishing (January 2014). She is part of the staff of the Department of Visual Arts & Architecture, within the School of Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape Design at the University of Kassel, Germany as well as part of the platform BUILDING ART INVENTION. Additionally, Anke Eckardt has a professional background in sound-engineering.

February 26, 2015
Matthew Doyle - Bow and Pick
What are the essential qualities that define a musical instrument or performance? How do we work with instruments, whether physical or digital, to create different types of self-knowledge – embodied, emotional, attentive, temporal? How do instruments think us? At this meeting of Sound Studies Salon, Matthew Doyle will lead an investigation of these and other questions raised by instruments and the activity of organizing sonic events with them.

Matthew Doyle has worked with sound in live instrumental performances and occasional audio compositions.

January 29, 2015
Micah Silver - Figures in Air and the Transsubstance of Audio
Micah will lead an informal discussion drawing upon ideas from his forthcoming book to be published by Inventory Press.

Micah Silver is an artist and curator who studied music at Wesleyan and in MIT’s Art, Culture, and Technology program. His installation and performance work has been produced by Mass MoCA, Issue Project Room, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and OK Zentrum, among other venues in the US and internationally.