Research Seminar with Elodie A. Roy

We would like to welcome you to this Research Seminar with Elodie A. Roy titled: Infra-phonography: Towards a pre-history of home-recording practices.


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Amateurs and ‘hidden musicians’ have received the sustained attention of music sociologists and cultural anthropologists (Finnegan 1989; Théberge 1997; Hennion, Maisonneuve, Gomart 2000), yet there exist relatively few attempts at recovering the ‘deep time’ of home-recording practices. This talk seeks to resituate amateur recording within a larger techno-cultural moment, with a particular focus on the less known, heterogeneous ventures in home-recording in interwar Europe. Drawing from archival research conducted in Germany and the UK, from the existing corpus on music, technology and everyday life, and from recent publications in media archaeology and the art of record production (Levin 2010, Brock-Nannestad 2012), it aims to recover particular socio-material practices in the hope of shedding some preliminary light on a little-explored yet pivotal moment in the history of recorded sound. On a theoretical and methodological level, the paper asks how the study of scattered agents, peripheral sites and mundane materialities of sonic production may allow for alternative socio-material and critical understandings of phonography to emerge (see Bohlman 2017) – something that we could tentatively define as a radically multivalent ‘phonography from below’ or ‘infra-phonography’. 


Elodie A. Roy is a sound and material culture theorist. Her research engages principally with the socio-material and environmental history of phonography; sound and intermedia studies; media objects in memory and heritage practices. She is the author of Media, Materiality and Memory: Grounding the Groove (Routledge 2015) and the co-editor (with Eva-Moreda Rodriguez) of Phonographic Encounters: Mapping Transnational Cultures of Sound, 1890-1945 (Routledge, forthcoming 2021). She is currently preparing a second monograph entitled Shellac in Visual and Sonic Culture: Unsettled Matter (Amsterdam University Press), with support from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (US). Roy notably held research and teaching position at the Glasgow School of Art, the University of Glasgow, Humboldt University of Berlin and is currently Associate Lecturer at Newcastle University.

Published June 23, 2020 8:44 AM - Last modified Aug. 3, 2021 12:11 PM