Before becoming a historian of sound and technology, Benjamin Lindquist worked as an artist. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA) and Yale University School of Art (MFA). After earning his MFA, he taught studio art and art theory before returning to Yale to study the history of sound at the Institute of Sacred Music. This path eventually led him to pursue a PhD at Princeton under the guidance of Emily Thompson. Benjamin’s dissertation looks at the history of synthetic speech and combines his interests in language, sound, music, and painting.
Thanks to a DAAD research grant, he will continue to develop his project as a member of the Max Planck research group “Epistemes of Modern Acoustics” during the 2019–20 academic year. There, Benjamin will explore how linguists, artists, and communication engineers constructed speech using hand-painted waveforms, vocal tract analogs, and spliced magnetic tape. Slowly and haltingly, these material models were algorithmically mechanized and converted into the voices of digital computers that we know today.
Benjamin’s art and scholarship have been funded by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Creative Time, The Al Held Foundation, and a Fulbright Fellowship in Zürich, Switzerland. His publications have appeared in Western Historical Quarterly, Winterthur Portfolio, and Material Religion.
Lindquist, B. (2019). Slow time and sticky media: Frank Beard’s Political cartoons, chalk talks, and hieroglyphic bibles, 1860-1905. Winterthur Portfolio, 53(1), 41-84. doi:10.1086/703977.Read More
Lindquist, B. (2015). Testimony of the senses: latter-day saints and the civilized soundscape. Western Historical Quarterly, 46(1), 53-74. doi:10.2307/westhistquar.46.1.0053.Read More
Lindquist, B. (2014). Mutable materiality: illustrations in Kenneth Taylor’s Children’s Bibles. Material Religion, 10(3), 30-54.Read More