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Saturday, April 22 • 4:15pm - 6:15pm
Sounds from the Underground

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As a shouty and declarative election season skids to an abrupt halt, we feel the need to retreat from the crude mottos and repeated clichés and phrases of mainstream political speech. We take refuge in sound making practices in a number of different contexts. These practices engage breath, whistles, crowd sounds, yelps, whispers, and squeaks to create sonic landscapes, or what Josh Kun has called audiotopias. By tracking migrant sounds, rebellious non-harmonic convergences, indexical whistles, and the soundscapes of underground dance scenes, we seek a form of sonic fugitivity that orients away from noisy cultural clash and finds refuge in the babble of multilingual speech. While obviously our focus on sound is informed by various theories of music as organized or disorganized noise, and while noisiness itself is not the problem we oppose, we intend to cast noise as an aesthetic practice grounded in a political fantasy of meaningful multivocality. Our papers will orient to the sounds of migration, zapotec whistling, underground dance scenes, and punk background noise. We will conjure world making noise in the grunts, the hoots, the yelps, and the other non-verbal mechanisms that fill the gaps between shouted messages of outrage and the small sounds of change.

Gala Porras-Kim, “Whistling and Language Transfiguration”
Jack Halberstam, “Power in the Darkness—Queer Punk Cultures”
Tim Lawrence, “Multivocal Partying in Early 1980s New York City”
Josh Kun, “Sound of Detention /Music of Escape”

avatar for Jason King

Jason King

Twitter | | Jason King, PhD is Associate Professor, Director of Global Studies, and Director of Writing, History & Emergent Media Studies and the founding faculty member at New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. A journalist, musician, DJ, and producer, he was the program's first Interim Chair, Associate Chair... Read More →


Jack Halberstam

Twitter | | Jack Halberstam is a professor of English and Gender Studies at Columbia University. Having just moved from LA to NY, from West to East, Jack is learning to live with the cold again and enjoying the sights and sounds of Brooklyn while writing two new books—one titled Trans* looks at new forms of gendered embodiment and... Read More →

Josh Kun

Twitter | | Josh Kun is Professor in the USC Annenberg School and Director of The Popular Music Project at The Norman Lear Center. His edited collection on the Latin American music of Los Angeles is forthcoming from UC Press as part of the 2017 Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. His project Hit Parade will debut with SFMOMA and the... Read More →
avatar for Tim Lawrence

Tim Lawrence

Twitter | | Tim Lawrence is the author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79; Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Party Scene, 1973-92; and Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83. He is a professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London. He co-founded... Read More →

Gala Porras-Kim

Gala Porras-Kim was born in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1984 and works primarily with drawing and sculpture. Porras-Kim’s academic background includes an MFA in art from California Institute of the Arts, as well as a BA in art and Latin American studies and an MA in Latin American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her solo exhibitions include For Prospective Rock/Artifact Projection (2015) and The Mute Object and... Read More →

Saturday April 22, 2017 4:15pm - 6:15pm
JBL Theater MoPOP, 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109