A Sound Factory on Amager

From Odesk to ASMR

Reading time: 2 minutes

Experimental Audio Paper

Listen to the audio paper in Sound Cloud

Abstract

The nature of work has developed dramatically over recent decades. Often characterized as a shift from fordism to post-fordism, these changes have dissolved the old certainties of working life, switching jobs for life with precarious positions, and material production with the seeming immateriality of knowledge work. Places like Amager, still a home to some industries, are now left hosting a multiplicity of post-industrial activities. A field trip to Amager reveals a complex picture of former industrial spaces being inhabited by artists creating colourful knitwear, flea markets selling outdoor furniture, judo schools, the gigantic office of Telia, an airport and hotels specializing in corporate functions. Our proposal is to create an audio paper as a temporary fluid factory; a production of production in sound. This audio paper does not simply represent the production process but actually enters into it, using Amager as the infrastructure and node of connection.  We explore the new forms of labour facilitated by new and old infrastructures. This paper explores questions about our changing conceptions of infrastructure, expanding notions of place, the location and nature of a workforce, openings of new domains for exploitation, and what is the nature of work itself.

Extended abstract 

One of the purposes of this audio paper was to explore the relationship between conventional written academic papers and the recorded and produced audio form. Unfolding an argument about the complexities of post-fordist modes of production requires a certain theoretical depth, which could probably be read aloud in 15 minutes. But to communicate this through produced audio requires that these words are engaged with differently; as temporal phenomena comprised of extraordinarily rich data. During the production process, we became aware of a plurality idiosyncrasies, which emerged when we engaged with our text in this way. The distance the recording production process created between us and the text allowed us to explore the roles and presentation of doubt and errors in the communication of knowledge.

In a related point, the use of two lead voices highlights the collective process of knowledge creation in a way that is often left in the background of multi-authored papers. Affect plays a more enhanced role in the conveyance of information, something we explored directly by setting arguments to music. The subtlety is to allow the music the time to affect the listener's experience of the argument, but not simply as a prop for the text. 

We explore the dramaturgy of this mode of expression, allowing the temporal space to alleviate the density of the information presented. What’s more, it allows for some formal experimentation in the production, of the production of sound. Including the relative precision of reading rehearsed and scripted material juxtaposed against informal improvised conversation. Through this, the listener is then exposed to the spatiality of sound, the recording studio vs. the environmental conversation around a breakfast table. The time taken between these sections gives the listener the moments necessary to reflect on the subtleties of the production. Do you hear edits of extra breath? Was a verbal stumble deliberate or simply deliberately left in? This adds a meta level to the discussion of production of sound; namely that the malleability of digital production is so extensive that it raises new complex questions about the production of knowledge in the age of digital work.

 



GO BACK TO FOCUS: Fluid Sounds

Bibliography

Augé, M. (1995) Non-places: introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity. London: Verso.

Berardi, F. (2015) Heroes: mass murder and suicide. London: Verso.

Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005) The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso.

Rezno, T., & Ross, A. (2010) The social network. Berlin: Null Corp.

Weber, M. (1958). The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. New York: Scribner

Media:

Eno, B. (1978) Music for airports. [United States], Editions EG.

Mister Motif (2014)  Ordinary Day (recordings of the sound of the ODesk worker Mister Motif’s work in his home in Greece).

Noel, C. (2014) Happy 1st Anniversary. 5 Binaural ASMR Triggers. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaF5Vt7tNH4. Accessed 13/09/2015.

 

Keywords

Audio PaperPost-fordismdigital workAugéASMRAmager

About the author(s)

Macon Holt received a BMus in Creative Music Technology from the University of Surrey in 2011 and an MRes In Sonic Arts from the University of Hull. He is a musician and PhD researcher at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London. He has taught at the Leeds College of Music and has written for Nyx: a nocturnal and writes a monthly column for Full Stop. He has worked as an editor for the New Cross Review of Books and is the co-founder of LittleWorth Publishing.

Katrine Pram Nielsen is an independent researcher in the field of radio art and digital interaction. She holds a master degree in Musicology and Modern Culture from Copenhagen University and an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has worked as a radio producer at DR and co-hosted the experimental radio art show Byzans at Copenhagen University radio. Her current work explores the notion of work in the digital age through sound.

Seismograf Peer Review

Seismograf/peer is a peer-reviewed online platform devoted to practical and theoretical issues in relation to contemporary music and sound art hosted by the online journal Seismograf/DMT (seismograf.org).

Seismograf/peer covers a broad range of topics including sonic materialities, modes of listening, philosophy of sound and music, aesthetics, technology, audio visuality and performative, curatorial and archival matters related to the sonic arts.

Seismograf/peer encourages a wide spread of methodologies and theoretical discourses from more established academic approaches such as sound studies, musicology, cultural studies and performance studies, to artistic research, practice-based research, artist writing and media archaeology.

Format

Seismograf/peer is hosted by the journal Seismograf/DMT (seismograf.org) - the oldest music journal among the Nordic countries. Seismograf/DMT has a long and strong tradition of publishing Danish articles, interviews, debates and reviews by both academics and composers, and has within various times, been the most inspiring and important platform within this field. Embedding Seismograf/peer is a natural development of this tradition, which acknowledges the demands of publication within higher Art Schools and Universities.

The journal is supported by the Danish Arts Council and The Danish Composers’ Society.