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Mack Hagood: Canceling Noise: Dreams and Dangers
April 19, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Location: Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
As evidenced by the myth of the Sirens, western culture has long perceived noise as a threat to the autonomy and agency of the self. Today, technologies like noise-canceling headphones and algorithmic newsfeeds promise to fulfill the dream of protecting the self by controlling what sounds and information we hear. Yet hearing what we want can carry its own dangers. In this talk, sound scholar Mack Hagood presents a cultural history of noise and its control, listening in to noisy moments in Ancient Rome, Victorian England, colonial West Africa, and the contemporary United States. Noise has been a nuisance, a hazard, a tool, a musical resource, and even a way of thinking that has reshaped our relations to one another in modernity. Today, thinking sonically can offer important insights into how we cope in a hyper-mediated world.
Mack Hagood is associate professor of media and communication at Miami University, where he studies technologies of sound and listening. He is the author of Hush: Media and Sonic Self-Control (Duke University Press). His writing has appeared in The Atlantic and The Washington Post and he has been interviewed in media outlets such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Pitchfork, BBC Radio, and Freakonomics Radio. He is the executive producer and host of Phantom Power, a podcast about sound.
Admission is free.
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This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Media and Communication Studies.