Tuning Speculation IV: Some Personal Highlights

Tuning Speculation

one of the few places that sound (but not necessarily sound studies) can take the lead

heartfelt thanks to the occulture: ted, marc, david, eldritch

some personal highlights:

katherine behar’s keynote on fake news, Facebook, context collapse, and human + non-human relationships, as told from the perspective of object-oriented philosophy

(i lost my notebook, so I have no specific notes, just deep admiration for the clarity, patience, and incisiveness of this talk, which is inspiring me to think about the possibility of teaching about social media as performance and to dive deeper into object-oriented philosophy, especially her new edited volume, oof. in contrast to o-o-o, i was, however, struck by my own untimely return to the subject via Nancy…)



Also, always: Margret Grebowicz on the sounds and lives of sea mammals, so suspiciously like our own. Specifically, on researcher Margaret Howe Lovatt’s erotic relationship with her dolphin, Peter, which she re-read as a possible instance of interspecies sexuality— one that requires that we rethink sex and intimacy— in contrast to Carl Sagan’s own “love affair” with whale song as part of the Voyager Golden Record sent to space in 1977. In her words, “Spoiler Alert: All of this is true because you can’t make this shit up.”


Eldritch Priest’s performative paper that was an exercise on mimicking the process of thinking, which revolved around (forgive the pun) creatures being stuck in circles, beginning with a cockroach and ending with a gorilla. I don’t intend to do justice to this complicated talk here, especially I just don’t know what to do with images of living beings that are apparently in distress or pain. It seemed to be a metaphor (is that the right word?) for the difficulty of thinking. I really appreciate the attempt to bring the non-linearity of thought into discourse, but what does it mean to use pain as a metaphor (if that’s what it is)?

[An interesting alternative take in Q&A: animals suffering from a pheromone imbalance and must be thought in relationship to toxicity]


A great performance-lecture (not a lecture-performance) by Joe Snape



By Nikki Schotzko (Performance Studies, Toronto): a much-needed take on the possibility of love, of love for the other from the perspective of the mother.What would it mean to look at pictures of the other— that is, of refugees— as connected to us, as coming out of us, forever in relation, despite being apart? Evoking the possibilities of reconfiguring kinship networks that has begun in queer life and thought, she directs her audience towards a really remarkable image of a stitched version of a photo of a refugee boy by Franko B, a performance artist known for its graphic depiction of queer erotic themes and corporeal pain (and for that reason I’ve always struggled to appreciate):


Franko B, Not a Number (2015)


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