“Sound, Vision, Action”

“Sound, Vision, Action”


Design by Caitlin Loney.
October 22, 2014
“Sound, Vision, Action”

November 14–15, 2014

McCord Museum
690 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal (Quebec) Canada


Jonathan Sterne (McGill University) and Nicholas Mirzoeff (NYU)

Surveillance: Caren Kaplan, Karin Bijsterveld
Performance: Daphne Brooks, Amelia Jones
Militancy: Nathalie Casemajor, Ultra-red (Dont Rhine & Robert Sember)
Humanity: Negar Mottahedeh, Anette Hoffman
Capitalism: Mark Curran, Sumanth Gopinath
Mediation: Natalie Bookchin, Georgina Born

“Sound, Vision, Action” puts contemporary art and scholarship in sound studies and visual culture in direct dialogue around questions of power and politics.

Today, we live in an age of unprecedented visual and sonic saturation. Although philosophers, artists, critics and censors have always argued for the power of sounds and images and their attendant senses, the last half-century has seen a major shift in how we talk about them, as scholars have systematically made the case for understanding modern power relations in terms of seeing and hearing, sounds and images. Where the last generation wrote in a context shaped by the various political upheavals around 1968, our conceptions of power must make sense of the various transformations and uprisings of the last decade, associated with the processes of globalization. Where the post-1968 writers conceived of looking and listening in a world filled with televisions, movies, records and newspapers, we confront an unprecedented torrent of images and sounds from all directions. Where they lived in a world where images and sounds were produced in radically different contexts and with radically different skill sets, we live in a world of convergence and aesthetic cross-fertilization. Where they worried about access to the means of media production, today we assume broad access to the means of production, and must account for the blurring of boundaries between production, circulation and consumption.

Against the background of new political, technical, mediatic and cultural realities, “Sound, Vision, Action” interrogates the very meaning of our most saturated senses, from live performances and face-to-face encounters, to shared experience at a distance, to machinic practices to which users delegate their senses. By bringing together interdisciplinary practices in visual culture and sound studies, and situating them in relationship to fields like science and technology studies, history, literature, music, art, and media studies, “Sound, Vision, Action” examines the relationships between diverse technologies and techniques that shape the torrent of images and sounds that surround us, and the everyday practices of hearing and seeing through which people engage with the world.

Organization: Jonathan Sterne, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Tamar Tembeck, [email protected]

Information and livestream here.

[email protected] is a hub of research, scholarship and public outreach on issues and controversies in media, technology and culture, housed within the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.

[email protected] colloquium partners: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; McCord Museum; Dean of Arts Development Fund, Canada Research Chair in Technology & Citizenship, Department of Art History and Communication Studies Speaker Series, Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship (CSDC), Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (IGSF), James McGill Chair in Contemporary Art History, James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy, McGill University; Media History Research Centre, Concordia University; The International Association for Visual Culture (IAVC); NYU Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture, and Communication.


Media@McGill International Colloquium: "Sound, Vision, Action"

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October 22, 2014

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