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Acoustic Projection and the Politics of Sound


  • Seth Cluett

    (Princeton University)


This working paper presents material taken from the second chapter of my dissertation, Loudspeaker: Acoustic Display as Aesthetic Material. My dissertation interrogates the complex status of the loudspeaker as a model for thinking about the nature of acoustic amplification in media technologies. In the vast majority of its applications, the loudspeaker is a component within other media the telephone, radio, television, video, computer, and public address systems and although there is a rich critical and historical literature treating each of these host media, the loudspeaker itself is often subsumed without reference under more abstracted treatments of sound generally. Thus, though the loudspeaker is variously discussed in art history, musicology, and media theory, it has never had a proper written history. Drawing on texts from critical theory, art and architectural history, and musical aesthetics, my thesis attempts to (re)situate the technology of the loudspeaker within existing media and aesthetic discourse. I aim to construct a media-critical history of the loudspeaker as a device by observing parallels between its use as a mass-market content delivery apparatus and its deployment by musicians and artists working in a range of media art, architecture, music, performance, and installation since the turn of the century.

Suggested Citation

  • Seth Cluett, 2010. "Acoustic Projection and the Politics of Sound," Working Papers 1253, Princeton University, School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:cpanda:41

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    music; authority; loudspeaker; ammpliication;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature


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