Apr 27-28, 2018
Productive Sounds in Everyday Spaces: Sounds at Work in Science, Art, and Industry, 1945 to Present
- 10:00 to 16:00
- Epistemes of Modern Acoustics
One of the many consequences of the proliferation of hearing tests and the psychophysical study of the human ear in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was that managers and employees alike became increasingly concerned with workers’ rhythms, postures, and movements; their internal states; and their capacities for focus, attention, and information processing. The mutual reconfiguration of work, worker, and work environment coincided with the rise of new professional fields of investigation, from interwar Psychotechnik to office automation, and was reflected in new kinds of artistic experiment. Drawing insights from applied psychology, ergonomics and human factors, architecture, and design, their techniques aimed to rearrange modern life in the office, factory, laboratory, and studio, and by extension also the home or the classroom.
This workshop examines the changing phenomenal and collective experience of “work” (not necessarily limited to “labor”) in the twentieth century, focusing on one important modality of such experience—sound. We ask how corporations, scientists, and artists turned acoustic or musical sound and listening into a subject of knowledge-generation and intervention in the workplace, and how their investigations have, in turn, been characterized as work. How was sound used to articulate new theories of behavior, express new technological utopias, aestheticize corporate identities, manage affective and psychological states, or redefine productivity across different economic and industrial regimes?
MPIWG, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Contact and Registration
Attendance is mandatory for Epistemes of Modern Acoustics members. Guests from within and outside the Institute are welcome. For all participants a reservation is needed. For further information please contact the organizer.