Digital Audio and the Condition of Sound Culture

A 2005-2008 Research Trajectory Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. [This page last updated in 2008.]

Goal: To investigate whether the ongoing of digital sound technology marks an ephochal shift comparable to the invention of analog sound reproduction technologies.

Current Work

1. A book-length manuscript tentatively titled MP3: The Meaning of a Format, which considers the mp3 format in the longer history of digital audio, compression technology, and as the first step in a larger mainstreaming of “perceptual coding” technologies. A (very) early version of some of the book’s arguments appeared in an article in late 2006 in New Media and Society You can find it here. A critique of analog/digital discourse that may or may not appear in the book version appeared in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. I hope to have the book under review at university presses in early 2009.

2. A co-authored study of podcasting as media practice. An early sole-authored version of this work was presented at the Duke University Symposium on Podcasting in Fall 2005. The essay appeared in Fibreculture.

3. A co-authored study of the digitization of sounded time. The work was presented at the Mobile Digital Commons Network Conference in Montreal and the Command Tones conference in spring 2005. The essay appeared in First Monday.

4. As part of my contribution to the Augmented Reality Research Team, a study of artificial spatialization in recorded audio connected to the modeling of 3D spaces and 3D auditory perception. I am especially interested in cultural implications of commercial applications of these technologies.

Some other stuff that interests me right now in this area:

5. Connections between analog and digital technologies in the creative work of musicians. Also the resurgence in analog innovation that has accompanied digital audio. Early statements on this can be found in my postscript to Cybersounds and my contribution to Digital Media: Transformations in Human Communication.

6. The history of psychoacoustics and its relation to digital audio technology.

7. The role of modeling in the shaping of new sound technologies. This is the basis of a new grant application submitted this fall.