Colloquium: "Noise Archaeology: the Materiality and Immateriality of Sound"

APR 04, 2014 | 4:15 PM TO 6:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




April 04, 2014: 4:15 PM-6:00 PM




Brian Boyd
Department of Anthropology
Columbia University

"Noise Archaeology: The Materiality and Immateriality of Sound"


Ways of deliberately producing sound obviously involve engagement of the human body with the material world: musical instruments, the spaces, ambiences, technologies and architectures of producing and recording sound. The preservation of sound, it seems, was once so tangible: plastic/vinyl (78s, 45s, EPs, 33 and a thirds), cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, CDs. Most of these forms of sound capture are possibly receding into archaeological time, although a concern for them remains in (largely male) specialist communities. Digital sound forms - mp3/4, WAV, AIFF - while preservable are, it could be argued, immaterial, and there are many legal issues being brought forth on this. With an archaeological eye, this talk considers the recent media focus over the rumored sale of the Abbey Road studios in London - an architectural/technological space of prime cultural heritage - and asks, how is the memory of sound preserved?