Porous Instruments: Circulation and Exchange in Electronic Sound


ACLS Fellowship Program




Electronic music has traditionally been understood within a purely musical rationale, as continuing the progress of Western art music. Yet electronic studios are not just musical; they incorporate the insights of science, military engineering, radio broadcasting, avant-garde and vernacular musics, and film. Heterogeneity is the main structure of electronic music production. New instruments enable circulation and exchange at the moment of creation—a porosity of design—as well as at moments of production and consumption—a porosity of use. In unlikely transfers, electronic instruments and scenes mediate concerns that are alternately aesthetic, economic, and political in nature. Tracing circulation across porous boundaries, this project theorizes how electronic sound becomes ubiquitous.