This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. This essay examines a growing number of filmmakers who construct personal sound aesthetics that rework the rules of sound and image relations. This trend has emerged over the past decade, and it finds global filmmakers engaged in a revitalization of the affective powers of film sound in a digitally converged world. Under consideration are issues of sound authorship, acoustic markers of cultural identity, how sound tropes circulate transnationally, and whether the rules governing sound and image are culturally determined.
The historiography of recording has done great service in enumerating technical devices. While in the beginning, the phonograph was immediately accepted as a scientific instrument, its commercial use soon dominated. Scientists, however, did not stop using the phonograph but rather integrated its new functions into their own work. This article traces this ambiguity, looking at the emergence of the Phonogram Archive in Berlin. More specifically, it shows that the researchers had to adjust, calibrate, and standardize the new functions again before integrating them into the scientific context. It thus proposes a view of the complex history of sound as it moves through the laboratory. Science and technology studies (STS) offer the framing for a history of media that can accommodate the idea of change and allow for the analysis of the phonograph as a site of intersections between its various uses, which is the crux of this article.
This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. This essay explores ways in which mashup principles are applied in Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds, where multiple references do not just emphasize counterpoint or defamiliarization through ironic parallelism, but, more importantly, seek pluralism, the true goal of mashup culture. The film was heavily critiqued for rewriting the ending of World War II and creating an alternate version of the Holocaust. Tarantino’s use of preexisting music by Ennio Morricone, and especially references from the spaghetti western subgenre, allow historical liberties to become a reflection on the metamorphosis of fact into myth and force the audience to confront its own spectatorial position. Inglourious Basterds ultimately problematizes the nature of historical (mis)representation in war movies.
This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. This essay argues that sound processes, design practices, and technology have shaped the history and trajectory of digital media in significant and all-to-often unacknowledged ways. Specifically, sound design strategies have helped define the “hyperrealistic” approach that has come to define the style of digital media, establishing unprecedented image and sound unity. Sound has also taken the lead in establishing new forms of “spectacle” and “immersion” through the use of multichannel technologies, which have fostered new cinematic reading codes and considerations in regard to subjectivity. Within the digital “revolution,” the soundtrack offers a quiet revolution of its own, if we just listen.
German motorists in the 1920s appeared to possess the necessary listening skills to diagnose malfunctions. They questioned the sonic expertise of their car mechanics. This article explores why drivers of the 1920s and their counterparts of the 1950s listened to their cars differently. It describes the relevant listening practices and explains how and why they differ. It focuses on technology's middle ground, the “ambiguous space between production and consumption” and explores the complex relationship between German auto mechanics and motorists during the interwar period and the first years after World War Two. It begins with exploring the listening techniques of motorists and mechanics in the 1920s. It also describes the repair crisis at the end of that decade and the new legislation concerning the auto mechanics trade in 1934. Following this, it focuses on the automotive technology of that time. Finally, it discusses the differentiation of the two listening practices.