Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Hearing the gaze, feeling the sound: Directed listening in audio remix culture
by Harrison, John Cain, Jr., M.A., Georgetown University, 2011, 103; 1491415
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis examines the cultural and textual forms that direct our experience of listening. It addresses this consumption from both the bodily frameworks of intersectional subjectivity as well as affective assemblage. The concept of the assemblage allows for tracking mobile auditory flows of sensation, while intersectionality best models the position of minority bodies, minority politics, and minority listening in contemporary culture. In moving between these, I argue for the enduring, mutually-reinforcing necessity of using both. Finally, the remix provides both a methodological lens for revealing directive audio forms as well as marking a particular historic shift in listening.

In chapter one, I examine Spork! An Erotic Love Story (2009) by cirrocumulus and jiaren_shadow. This piece is a reworking of the audiobook adaptation of the novelization of the eleventh Star Trek (2009) feature film. The woman-authored remix creates a male-male erotic story based on diegetically heterosexual protagonists. In doing so, it reveals the way listening is being directed in the original both in terms of intersectionality and sensation. The intersectional analysis focuses on gender, using the remix to bring out how listening is mediated through a male voice and the correspondence between this mediation and the erasure of women in the narrative. In terms of sensation, this comparison highlights the shift in encouraged manifestations of arousal from feelings rooted in action and adventure to that of sexual stimulation. I also explore the text's relationship to the Star Trek franchise and its position as sound, as a remix, and as pornography. The chapter builds to an argument that remix culture facilitates an explosion of mediated bodies that represent a more flexible sense of the auditory for the contemporary moment.

Chapter two listens to the audio of a parodic remix of Lady Gaga's “Alejandro” (2010) by Latina comedienne, La Coacha (2010). The analysis locates the tensions between remix and source text at the intersection of race, sexuality, and gender, in its examination of the way Gaga's voice directs listeners in regards to Latin American male sexuality. Affectively, this chapter addresses humor and sensations of amusement. I conclude with a more thorough discussion of the union between affective and intersectional analytics and their mutual dependence as made clear in La Coacha's work.

Having paired grassroots remixes with commercial audio production in both chapters, the conclusion examines of Lady Gaga and DJ Earworm on their own. This section unpacks the question of who Lady Gaga and Earworm are. I sketch the relationship between the explosion of Gaga's body by commercial representation with the subsequent assembling of Earworm's out of these exploded pieces and those of other stars. This is followed by a discussion of the greater implications of the thesis for remix culture and for scholarship on listening.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Osborne, Wayne H.
Commitee: LeMasters, Garrison
School: Georgetown University
Department: Communication, Culture & Technology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Multimedia Communications, Sociology
Keywords: Assemblage, Audio, Latinidad, Listening, Remix, Senses
Publication Number: 1491415
ISBN: 978-1-124-60041-3
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