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The Rhythmic Event

The Rhythmic Event: Art, Media, and the Sonic

Eleni Ikoniadou
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 136
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  • Book Info
    The Rhythmic Event
    Book Description:

    The sonic has come to occupy center stage in the arts and humanities. In the age of computational media, sound and its subcultures can offer more dynamic ways of accounting for bodies, movements, and events. InThe Rhythmic Event, Eleni Ikoniadou explores traces and potentialities prompted by the sonic but leading to contingent and unknowable forces outside the periphery of sound. She investigates the ways in which recent digital art experiments that mostly engage with the virtual dimensions of sound suggest alternate modes of perception, temporality, and experience. Ikoniadou draws on media theory, digital art, and philosophical and technoscientific ideas to work toward the articulation of a media philosophy that rethinks the media event as abstract and affective.The Rhythmic Eventseeks to define the digital media artwork as an assemblage of sensations that outlive the space, time, and bodies that constitute and experience it. Ikoniadou proposes that the notion of rhythm--detached, however, from the idea of counting and regularity -- can unlock the imperceptible, aesthetic potential enveloping the artwork. She speculates that addressing the event on the level of rhythm affords us a glimpse into the nonhuman modalities of thought proper to the digital and hidden in the gaps between strict definitions (e.g., human/sonic/digital) and false dichotomies (e.g., virtual/real). Operating at the margins of perception, the rhythmic artwork summons an obscure zone of sonic thought, which considers the event according to its power to become.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32094-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Erin Manning and Brian Massumi

    The Technologies of Lived Abstraction book series is dedicated to work of transdisciplinary reach inquiring critically but especially creatively into processes of subjective, social, and ethical-political emergence abroad in the world today. Thought and body, abstract and concrete, local and global, individual and collective: the works presented are not content to rest with the habitual divisions. They explore how these facets come formatively, reverberatively together, if only to form the movement by which they come again to differ.

    Possible paradigms are many: autonomization, relation; emergence, complexity, process; individuation, (auto) poiesis; direct perception, embodied perception, perception-as-action; speculative pragmatism, speculative realism, radical...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction: Abstract Audio
    (pp. 1-26)

    In a small lighthouse in London’s Docklands, overlooking the unimpressive Millennium Dome, sits a one-thousand-year-long digital sound artwork calledLongplayer, by ex-Pogues member Jem Finer. The raw material for the piece consists in twenty minutes of inharmonic Tibetan singing bowls, time-stretched by Supercollider software on an iMac to create an extremely lengthy, barely audible loop that will play without repetition for a thousand years.Longplayerbegan its extensive life on January 1, 2000, marking the beginning of the new millennium, and will continue to play until 2999. It seems that the twenty-first century began with an unusual abstract audio event...

  6. 1 Virtual Digitality
    (pp. 27-44)

    You are standing in a dark room, the first of three interconnected spaces that make up the building ofRhythm-House.

    You are wearing a luminous belt. As you move through the room, you are unaware of hidden cameras installed on the ceiling directly above you, detecting any movement in the space.¹ Your only guide as you wander through this dim space is that of very low-frequency sounds that constantly change their location and intensity. These sounds are recorded from changes in the infrastructure of the building—such as changes in temperature and climatic and tectonic variations—and then mixed with...

  7. 2 Hypersonic Sensation
    (pp. 45-66)

    The zones of the rhythmic event allow us to think of digitality as affective, indeterminate, and autonomous from intentionality and subjectivity. They open up a way for us to perceive the digital as an assemblage of immeasurable and inaudible rhythms that impinge upon a body but are not fully exhausted by that body’s sensory perceptions. Hypersonic sensation is yet another layer in the abstract architecture of the rhythmic event. This chapter suggests that the concept enables a deeper look into a region of potential that adds a felt surplus to actual perception and experience. The chapter offers an analysis of...

  8. 3 Rhythmic Time
    (pp. 67-84)

    Conventional approaches to notions of novelty, change, and potential have led us to believe that time exists as a linear chronological scale, and that we can apply instrumental reason to predict and thus model and manage the future. These notions have a central place in digital capitalist ideology across all areas of contemporary experience. Along with innovation and risk—and subsequently risk management—they are part and parcel of the “promise of the new.” It seems that, even within the most experimental branches of the arts, sciences, and humanities, uncertainty (of events to come) is commonly assumed to belong to...

  9. Conclusions: Rhythm and Event
    (pp. 85-90)

    From the start, my proposition has been this: sonic thought vis-à-vis digital art might afford us an entry to the autonomy, invisibility, and molecularity of the event, as it subsists outside sensory perception and linear time. In order to investigate this abstract proposition more concretely, the book set out to explore digital media art and its tendency to initiate situations of affective interactivity, rhythmicity, and temporality. These pages brought together a relatively recent body of mostly sound installation work that moves from the purely sonic to the abstract composition of asymmetrical, immeasurable, vibrational force fields. The projects emerge from encounters...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 91-106)
  11. References
    (pp. 107-114)
  12. Index
    (pp. 115-117)