LSM Research Seminar – Marie Thompson

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Blog Post by Dr Dean Lockwood:

Staff and students from the Lincoln School of Media (including Audio Production) welcomed Marie Thompson for the LSM Research Seminar series which took place Wednesday, 30th October.

Marie is an artist and researcher based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She is currently a PhD candidate at Newcastle University, based in the International Centre for Music Studies. Her thesis uses a Spinozist notion of affect to critically rethink the correlation between noise, ‘unwantedness’ and ‘badness’, so to more fully allow for the use of noise as a musical resource. She is the co-editor of the collection, Sound, Music, Affect: Theorizing Sonic Experience (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013). Marie is also regularly audible as a noisemaker and improviser. She plays individually as Tragic Cabaret and in the band, Beauty Pageant. Here is Marie’s abstract for her talk for our research seminar:

‘Rethinking noise, rethinking noise music: Affect, relationality and the poetics of transgression':

‘In this paper, I outline a relational, ethico-affective approach to noise that works to disrupt the definitive correlation between noise, ‘unwantedness’ and ‘badness’. Rather than defining noise as a type of sound, or a subjective judgement of sound, noise is posited as a productive, transformative force and a necessary component of material relations. This approach to noise, I argue, is advantageous: firstly, because it allows for the noise that occurs out of (human) earshot, insofar as it no longer relies upon a constitutive listening subject; and secondly, because it allows for noise’s capacity to be good as well as bad, generative as well as destructive. A greater space is thus made for noise’s positively productive capacity, which has been readily explored within the arts.

In the second half of this paper, I discuss how a relational, ethico-affective approach to noise provides a means of (re)conceptualising noise music that moves away from the language of failure, taboo and contradiction. Rather than approaching noise music in terms of transgression, which is underlined by a dualistic conceptualisation of the relationship between (wanted, ‘good’) music and (unwanted, ‘bad’) noise, I suggest that noise music can be understood as an act of exposure, in that it foregrounds the presence of noise that is always already within the technical-musical system.’

About David McSherry

Senior Lecturer in Audio Production