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In contemporary culture, outdated ideas persist about sound media, such as radio, as being for the ears only. Yet sound media cultures have also variously engaged vision, touch, smell, and taste. This event will focus on the cross-sensory and material qualities of sound media with a double book launch of new books by Carolyn Birdsall and Elodie A. Roy.
Event details of Sonic Objects of Desire
21 November 2023

This double book launch addresses the role of the senses and materiality in two areas: AHM academic staff member Carolyn Birdsall will present how her new book Radiophilia investigates the “love for radio” across the globe, and spanning 100 years from early wireless to digital media. How has radio’s appeal been shaped by its “look and feel” as well as its sounds? And how have audience/fan attachments to radio been reflected in everyday practices of loving, knowing, sharing, and saving this medium?

Media and material culture theorist Elodie A. Roy will speak about how Shellac in Sonic and Visual Culture treats the long material history of shellac, revealing some of its global stories and trajectories as a material of vision and sound across centuries. What are the hidden histories and forms of labour contained within gramophone discs? How can considering the overlooked “raw” materials of media help us tell different stories about past and contemporary media environments and reflect on our daily engagement with them?

During this launch, the release of both books will be celebrated, with moderation by Toni Pape (Media Studies, UvA) and a response from Natalie Scholz (History, UvA).

Location: Spui 25, Amsterdam.