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Welcome to RE:SOUND, the 8th International Conference on the Histories of Media Arts 2019 - Aalborg, Denmark. RE:SOUND is part of the Media Arts Histories conference series, bringing together leading researchers, artists, and scientists on a series of interdisciplinary topics for over 14 years.

The RE:SOUND conference will take a specific interest on the theories, practices, histories, etc., of art and technology which are focusing on, concerned with, reflecting on, including, mobilising and/or working with sound as a main component or an integral part. RE:SOUND will host four days with 10 tracks of paper sessions, panels, workshops, practice-based interventions, exhibitions, performances, poster sessions, a PhD workshop and keynotes.
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Tuesday, August 20 • 09:30 - 10:30
Keynote: Jamie Allen

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Beyond the Media Reveal: Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying… What?
Jamie Allen

The media arts seem quite concerned with a particular set of binaries: mediums and messages, contexts and contents, forms and functions. These dualities seem endlessly fascinating, as they allow for repeated reassertions of materialist reveals, exposing how aesthetic “illusion” is produced by “real" infrastructure. Media arts and activism are forever disclosing the nervy tensions between signals and their substrates, hiding-in-plain-sight—images are composed of pixels that consume the energy of electrons; moving images laid bare as a mere perceptual delusion of stroboscopic sequence; what we call “sound” entrains near-negligible variations of pressure waves; the Internet is but a crisscrossing of wires at the bottom of Earth’s oceans; you’re carrying a piece of Africa around in your pocket. Once internalised by communities of practice and concern, and taken up by popular imaginaries and culture—that is, once these points are made—what more can we do with these insights, what can come after these important media reveals?

Using examples from the study, theory and practice of infrastructures (made of matter, ideas and people) I would like us to think together about what we think the arts and sciences of media can do to push beyond the materialist and constructivist debunking of media as infrastructure. How might we find ways of addressing the current crises of environment, politics and identity in technologically-saturated cultures that provide something in addition to these now somewhat repetitive, pseudo-novel reveals? And how can we productively question suppositions that such revelation is always inherently interesting or radical? What preliminary or speculative, non-binary and non-representational, strategies and openings appear when we cease presuming and declaring technological-saturation as inescapable? Can hopeful interventions and improvisations occur in the media-technological undercommons?

As someone I love recently said to me, “the things you pay attention to grow”, and the question of what media practices, as arts of attention, cultivate and propagate, is always in need of essential re-examination. What energies and relevances can be recovered in an art, research and pedagogy that are not in advance denatured or economized, but hopeful, supportive, expressive and generative of the presence and attentions needed to allow good things to grow?

[Image: Jamie Allen. Chilean National Museum of Natural History, Santiago, Chile. March 26, 2017.]

avatar for Jamie Allen

Jamie Allen

Critical Media Lab Basel
Jamie Allen is a Canadian-born artist and scholar who investigates what technologies teach us about who we are as individuals, cultures and societies. He has been an electronics engineer, a polymer chemist and an exhibition designer with the American Museum of Natural History. He... Read More →

Tuesday August 20, 2019 09:30 - 10:30 CEST
Auditorium - CREATE AAU Rendsburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, Dänemark