Sounding Difference: Gender, Sound, and Technology

This track seeks proposals that dismantle dominant gender assumptions in the histories and practices of media arts and propose different relations between sound, art, and technology. We seek research papers and artistic interventions that address historical and aesthetical contributions of practitioners and/or theorize on the social, cultural, political and disciplinary structures that have excluded difference from the canonical histories of media arts and its archives. This track is organized in 2 sessions, and we welcome proposals which address the focus of one of the specified session themes below. However, we also welcome proposals addressing the track’s general theme.

Track Chairs

  • Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda, Simon Fraser University
  • Freya Zinovieff, Simon Fraser University

Session 1:

To date, feminist scholars have developed projects and established archives to recover the contributions of women in sound and technology and untangle the gender assumptions that have excluded their work from the histories of media arts (Džuverović and Neset 2001; Rodgers 2000, 2010; Malloy 2003). These projects have been crucial in recovering the work of electronic music pioneers such as Delia Derbyshire, Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Spiegel, Eliane Radigue and giving more visibility to contemporary artists such as Rekha Malhotra, Pamela Z, and Maria Chavez.  Absent from these endeavors are the contributions of women working outside the U.S.-Canadian-Western European axis, and a broader focus on 18th, 19th and early 20th century innovators in sound including artists that experimented with graphic notations, invented sound technology (software, instruments, etc.), and/or transgressed disciplinary boundaries (installation art, performative practices, music composition, etc.)

This session seeks proposals that expand this feminist framework by:

  • Focusing on the recovery of female artists based in the global south or those who have not yet been adequately represented in the feminist archives of sound art
  • Bringing together female practitioners from the north and the south to develop alternative media art historical narratives and artistic genealogies of sound art that cut across geographic prejudices and disciplinary boundaries and instead build intergenerational connections across places and time periods to make visible how artistic practice and technological curiosity happen simultaneously.

Session 2:

Drawing from insights from sound studies and feminist historians of sound who have theorized sound as a space where difference is constituted (Ehrick 2015; Bronfman 2016; Ochoa 2012; Lacey 1996; Born and Hesmondhalgh 2000), this session seeks proposals that investigate how contemporary media artists explore the construction of gender through sound, and the ways that other axes of difference, such as race or disability, might intersect the soundscapes of media arts.

This session seeks proposals the investigate how contemporary media artists examine soundscapes as a space of difference by:

  • Exploring how human-based difference is being constituted, challenged or reinforced through artificial and non-human sounds
  • Investigating contributions of the undocumented, invisible, forgotten, and excluded from dominant histories of sound art such as indigenous sounds
  • Focusing on how difference might be considered as a non-binary construct that both challenges historical constructs of power and imagines potential futures