The PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge and the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University are pleased to announce the launch of Provoke!: Digital Sound Studies. Provoke! is a web collection of digital projects bringing more noisy t(h)inkering to sound studies, digital humanities, and the audio arts. The collection is co-edited by three Duke doctoral students, Mary Caton Lingold, Darren Mueller, and Whitney Trettien, whose three-year collaboration, known as “Soundbox,” has been funded by the FHI’s Graduate Digital Scholarship Initiative and the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge. The website preludes a print volume by the same name (forthcoming from Duke University Press) that galvanizes the emergence of digital sound studies, a sensory-rich approach to research and publication.
The Provoke! web collection creates a home for creative-critical projects by makers, documentary artists, and sound scholars whose work presses at the boundaries of scholarship. Envisioned as “provocations” to existing forms of publication, these projects relate to one another through their deep engagement with sonic materials and innovative formal presentation. Rather than drawing from a particular historical period, culture, methodology, or set of aesthetic objects, Provoke! collects a series of processual explorations connected through an ethos of play, experimentation, and social interaction. Because of their sonically inspired, collaborative nature, many of these projects fall outside the purview of traditional academic publishing, yet each one offers a critical contribution to the ongoing dialogue about the future of sound studies and digital humanities.
The digital turn provides an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the forms through which scholars and artists communicate. The editors, known collectively as Soundbox, wish to see audio material featured more abundantly and creatively in scholarly settings. At the heart of our collaboration is an aspiration to hear sound used as a primary means of knowledge production. Accordingly, we have designed this website to privilege the auditory experience. EachProvoke! project is formally unique: some have digital spaces of their own and others are contained entirely within this website. The contributors document the ideas and processes that went into the creation of their pieces, with the goal of empowering others to experiment with audio-based scholarship.
The Provoke! Projects:
Paperphone: Vocal Effects in Scholarly Presentations by Wendy Hsu and Jonathan Zorn
Paperphone, a scholarly voice and audio processor designed to amplify performativity in academic knowledge production.
We are Your Neighbors: Dialogues Across the Wall of Silence by colectivo caliban: danah bella, Salvador Barajas, Liz Canfield, John Priestley, with special collaborator Andrew McGraw
In Richmond city Jail, colectivo caliban installed a recording studio. With incarcerated artists, they explore sound in “sanctuary.”
Finding Ibrida: Speculating and Prototyping Two Historically-Informed Guitar Bodies by Kenneth David Stewart
Take a pawnshop guitar body and embed uniquely designed electronic effects using technologies ranging from vacuum tubes to an Arduino.
Susurrous Scholarship: Making Knowledge Sonic by Kevin Gotkin, Corrina Laughlin, Alex Gomez, and Aaron Shapiro
Susurrous Scholarship translates written academic articles into sound pieces, playing with access and address in knowledge production.
Organs of the Soul: Sonic Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris by Rebecca Geoffroy-Schwinden
Organs of the Soul tunes your ears to how auditioning subjects heard voices, sound and music in #c18 Paris.
A Tale of Two Soundscapes: The Story of My Listening Body by Steph Ceraso
Garbage Trucks/Geese. Ambulances/Cicadas. Two Epic Soundscapes, One Epic Tale.
The Grand Rue: Roads as Thoroughfares of Life by Myron Beasley and Robert August Peterson
The Grand Rue is a city symphony of sounds featuring audio collected two days before the devastating 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
About the co-editors
Mary Caton Lingold’s research and teaching bridges historical and digital approaches to sonic scholarship. She is the founder and co-director of the Sonic Dictionary, an inter-institutional pedagogical experiment housed at the Audiovisualities Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. Through her doctoral research, she argues that it is possible to hear the sounds of the pre-recorded past through an examination of early Afro-Atlantic musical life in Anglophone literature (1650-1850).
Darren Mueller is a doctoral candidate in Musicology at Duke University with interests in jazz, the history of sound reproduction, and performance studies. His current research on the jazz industry’s adoption of the long-playing record examines how technologies of reproduction implicate contestations over musical aesthetics, style, and race in the US during the 1950s. He has published in Jazz Perspectives, Ethnomusicology Review, and Sensate.
Whitney Trettien’s work reimagines what it means to read, write, and think across different media ecologies. Weaving together archival research and creative use of technologies, she has written, published, and designed work both artistic and critical in the fields of book history, Renaissance literature, media archaeology, and digital humanities. Currently, she an Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow, finishing her doctorate in English at Duke University.