Sound has been part of my creative practice for some time. As a teenager, I started a bluegrass and folk band with my sisters. In between touring festivals, county fairs, and other small vengues, we recorded our first CD on a Tascam at home. The process of recording was infuriating and electrifying––despite an enormous learning curve, I was hooked.
"Can You Hear That Whistle?" A song composed by me, and performed by my sisters and I:
Later, when I began to research technology and the body, I found myself turning to back to sound and sound recording. Writing about sonic experiences in "Sound Practices for Digital Humanities," Steph Ceraso observes that, "while not every sonic encounter is as exhilarating as a rollercoaster ride, it is not unusual to experience sound as a sensorially invigorating event."
The extent to which sound radically interacts with and even reshapes embodied experience came clear to me as I wrote journal articles about Thoreau's reaction to the telegraph lines thrumming through "pristine" natural landscapes and the way one woman's silence calls attention to embodiment in the sonically rich setting of the seashore. (For the latter, see "'Her who never spoke': Oral/Aural Disability, the Female Voice, and the Deafened Moment in M.E. Braddon’s ‘Waiting.’” on my CV.) It became even clearer as I embarked on my own soundwriting project: a public humanities and history podcast called Victorian Scribblers. While editing episodes, I learned to recognize the shapes of my breath, my verbal ticks, and my laughter.
A collection of my formal engagements with sound
Some of my early experiments with academic sound recording (quality poor):
The most recent episode of my podcast, Victorian Scribblers:
In Spring 2018, I took my engagements with sound into the classroom, training 35 undergraduates to use sound recording equipment and the open source DAW, Audacity, to create their own podcast, Archetypes & Anarchy. The podcast is available on iTunes and via our course website, where I've also archived course materials. Below, you can listen to the first episode of that podcast and view the syllabus and podcasting packet I provided students:
In the same year, I collaborated with DH@UO to put on a podcasting workshop for faculty and staff. I talked about podcasting in the classroom, provided a handout for creating and distributing a podcast episode for free, and led a demo in which we recorded, added background music, and uploaded our own episode. You can see the workshop website here.
In other workshops, I've worked with participants to record and visualize their voices, compare visualized recordings against one another to see what we can learn, match recordings of birds with their visualizations, and more. You can read more about this work in the section of my portfolio titled Body.