Liveblogging the Carolina Rhetoric Conference: Panel 2

Lauren Clark’s turn to liveblog. Yikes.

2:59 Seth is up first. (he’s a first-year CRDM student.) His paper is called “Sonic Authority in State Power.” In this paper, he is attempting to map state power through the sonic realm.

3:01 How power functions auditory as a means of discipline is not often considered.

3:02 Arguing that the line between sound and noise is a political distinction. Sound is distinguished between noise because sound is desired, where noise is not. Music itself is constructed from this distinction. (Example: heavily distorted guitars in country music affecting the end product.)

3:04 Visualist Logic: The visual is the primary sensory modality with which we interact with the world. As such, we construct the sonic realm with a visualist logic.

3:05 Just realized I’m trying to write too much.

3:08 The fundamental way in which we can think of sound as power is by turning up the volume.

3:09 A torture playlist at Guantanamo Bay! Scary. Playing a song over and over at top volume until someone cracks (“breaks”) and confesses.

3:12 The state attempts to to colonize auditory space by using music as a torture device.

3:13 In one of his songs, KRS-One discusses how in poor neighborhoods, the police signal is an overarching signifier of power. His reaction to that is to put on a West Indian accent in order to create the effect of unity, that “we are all one,” in order to respond to the original power signifier.

3:14 I got distracted by my computer being slow and missed the closing remark about Brian Massumi. How convenient. Anyone who wants to comment on that, go right ahead.


3:15 Kati’s turn. Kati is a seond-year CRDM student. Her paper is called “The Virtual World Soundscape as an Exigency for Auditory Rhetoric?”

3:18 Kati argues that there has been little to no discussion of how to compose with sound. Some scholars are attempting to put together an auditory epistemology. The aspects of this include temporality, plurality, and immersion, among other elements.

3:21 The Soundscape is proposed to keynotes of sound, consciously foregrounded sounds; signals, consciously foregrounded sounds; and soundmarks, sounds that tied in intertextually. Within Soundscape research, the argument is that with sound, environments come alive, with memories and emotion (citing Blesser and Salter).

3:25 Ineffective soundscapes in, e.g., virtual worlds can bring a user out of the experience can diminish the experience. Using soundscapes as a way to provide a sense of realness to virtual worlds, and this is becoming more popular (such as in virtual museums, I think was an example she used). The main point is to make sure that the soundscape is used with a rhetorical purpose in mind.


3:30 Jason, also a second-year CRDM student, is up next. His presentation is called “Synthesizing Experience.” Public memory lives! And is often performed in ways that shape shared sense of past, present and future. Public memory creates a “horizon of expectations” within those involved.

3:32 Public memory, however, is not static, but always contested. We should ask who is remembered, and how? Official + Vernacular = Public Memory >= Digital images. The official and vernacular is often manifested in photography.

3:35 Images as material traces (especially on “the intarwebs”) are situated within a digital media culture. This culture encourages people to produce and share images in order to expand the public memory and alter the rhetorical function of those images.

3:37 Photsynth stitches photos together from different angles in order to represent places in a 3D way. This is an example of social photography and serves to construct the public memory. One example is Obama’s inauguration. Stitching together the thousands (millions) of photos taken that day would construct a social representation of the present.

3:41 What are the rhetorical implications of this type of digital commemoration? It fragments public memory. Something like Photosynth is an individualizing event. Where is the public? The psychosis of digital photography says that the next image is always the most important.

3:45 Closing (positive) question: Does Photosynth attempt to slow down time in order to articulate a connection to the past? Does it allow the present the time to take place?


3:45 Christian Smith, from the University of South Carolina, is up. Discussing Joanna Drucker the rhetoric of science.

3:48 Joanna Drucker focuses her work on the materiality of language. She analyzes elements like typography to uncover the rhetorical elements. The physicality of typography is reminiscent of industrial signification.

3:51 Capital letters are defined by their “moreness,” which communicates beyond their materiality.

3:52 Materiality depends on how a work mobilizes its resources as artifact. It extrapolates data and remediates.

3:55 Before an object can be considered an object of science, it must be describable (with language). Communicating scientific knowledge without visuals is almost unheard of.

3:58 A new rhetoric of graphic representation calls for visual analogy, and making the non-visible visible. Visual representations of knowledge are sometimes instable. Correction for this often comes from the scientific community.



Filed under conferences

6 responses to “Liveblogging the Carolina Rhetoric Conference: Panel 2

  1. knmartin

    great live blogging Lauren. It sounds like panel 2 is off to an interesting and somewhat intense start!

  2. kfoswald

    Seth – really interesting points about power and sound – it seems like the visualist logic is also a challenge in the study of infrastructure – there has to be ways to render it sensible that are not visual. I think you would find the work that Dan Sutko and Adam Rottinghouse presented at NCA on warning systems very interesting. I also have a chapter Greg Wise wrote in Slacks’ “Animations of Deleuze and Guattari” that I want to send you a cite to.

  3. kfoswald

    Katie – your presentation definitely makes a great argument for the importance of sound. After seeing your presentation and Seth’s , I’m seeing more and more that we face some of the same kinds of challenges in research.

  4. Casey Boyle

    @Jason –

    I was thinking abut this as you discussed psychosis and visual memory, esp. in relation to photosynth. This is a trailer for a video game using photosynth like aesthetics as a way to emulate the the traumatic experience of memory. Maybe a helpful connection….that is, if you haven’t already come across it.

  5. Kevin Brock

    Idea for a collaborative project between Seth and Randy: a study that examines the psychological effects of Rickrolling audio torture. It can be called “Killing in the Meme of”

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