The iPod Orchestra: Music for Universities | Medea Vox

In this Medea Vox episode, Hugo Boothby and Erin Cory discuss the project “Music for Universities.” The project is based around generative music, which is music that is produced by a system in which degrees of randomization are defined by the composer. Central issues that are explored include audio imperfections and the narrative of technological sonic progress.

From the episode’s introduction:

How many portable music devices have you owned in your lifetime? From Walkman to portable CD players, from iPods to smartphones, many of us have grown up in a culture that is constantly selling us the newest in audio technology, promising user friendliness and higher sound fidelity.

By and large, we trust and literally buy into this narrative of technological sonic progress. But how often do we consider the parts that make up the whole? And what would happen if we considered audio imperfections as viable sonic material?

Download the mp3 or subscribe to Medea Vox on iTunes, by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher, or follow the podcast on SoundCloud.

This is a conversation between Hugo Boothby, lecturer in communication for development, and Erin Cory, postdoc in refugee migration, both at Malmö University.

Show Notes

These are authors, works, concepts etc. that are discussed in the podcast. Text within quotations marks is transcribed from the podcast.

  • The history of the iPod on Wikipedia
  • Generative music | “This is a type of music that Brian Eno defined in the late 1970s in which the composer creates a system or a machine – for example, tape loops or digital randomizations – to produce a piece of music which will play indefinitely.”
  • The MP3 format on Wikipedia
  • Verisimilitude | “Verisimilitude is the idea that every new technology should capture reality in a better way than the one that came before it. This is the story told by those who try to sell us new technology. We heard it, for example, when CDs were launched, but also when radio broadcast went from analog to digital.”
  • Brian Eno’s Music for Airports | … of which Hugo Boothby’s Music for Universities is a play-on-words
  • Transversal media practices | “The theoretical framework for Music for Universities is within transversal media practices. One of the tools I use is eventualization, which is to manifest something in a way that it becomes excessive: an excessive number of iPods, the audio quality is excessively degraded. This is a way of eventualizing the materialities of these devices. The second transversal tool I use is a concept called residual media, that is media which is ubiquitous but becoming obsolescent. I place both the iPod and the mp3 in that category. This is drawing on the work of Kristoffer Gansing.
  • Kristoffer Gansing’s dissertation Transversal Media Practices: Media Archaeology, Art and Technological Development

View all Medea Vox episodes