2015 – current (submitted)
Matt Parker is a sonospheric investigator; an artist working with and producing archives that amplify the hidden connections between every-day technologies and the environment. His multimedia works are influenced by the practice of listening; to unsound vibratory ecologies, to the economies of noise, and the infrastructures of the Internet. His research engages with sound studies, media ecology, field recording and geohumanities through a critical and spatial art practice. He has published on methodologies for listening to the infrastructures of the Anthropocene and exhibited sound and media artworks on this theme internationally. Publications include Culture Machine Journal, Photomediations, and Caught by the River.
Vibrating the Web: sonospheric studies of media infrastructure ecologies
How can the relationship between media infrastructures and the economies of noise foster the development of a sonospheric art practice? Media infrastructures are the material backbone of the Internet. Such sites underpin the digitally hyper-connected world, but as material assemblages are also imbricated in complex and divisive ecological, environmental, economic and affective practices. This thesis identifies a lack of sonic discourse within the body of growing critical art practice researching the field of media infrastructures, and will contribute to the field of sound studies by arguing, and defining a methodology, for listening sonospherically (Oliveros, 2011). Through six original artistic projects researching the presence of media infrastructures, the thesis will argue for the ‘sonospheric investigation’ as a methodology to engage in the politics of such divisive spaces. Vibrant, multisensory, and multimodal, the sonospheric investigation will be demonstrated as a novel approach for field-based research of spatial and technologically mediated environments. Each original artistic project develops what I call the ‘sonopalette’, a toolkit of field research methods which reveal the being of sounds, vibrations, noises and affective vibratory impulses. These methods include – but are not exhaustive of – field recording, oral history interviews, documentary filmmaking, deep listening, vibration sensors, electromagnetic sensors, data scraping and machine learning. A sonospheric engagement with space and place can generate new connections between human, nonhuman and nonorganic bodies that further our understanding of the conditions of the Anthropocene. Working with the scholarly critique of theorists, research by artists, and my own original practice, the thesis will demonstrate that the mixed registers of a sonospheric investigation are a generative area of research for sound studies scholars, artists, and spatial practitioners concerned with the localised impact of global digital material culture.
Key words: Anthropocene, culture, economy of noise, field recording, Internet, listening, media infrastructure, medianaturecultures, multimodal, sonopalette, sonosphere, sonospheric investigation, technology, vibration.