- ‘Antennas Have Long Since Invaded Our Brains’: Listening to the ‘Other Music’ in Friedrich Kittler
- Book title
- Thresholds of Listening: Sound, Technics, Space
- Pages (from-to)
- New York: Fordham University Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
"In several articles, Friedrich Kittler addresses the question of music and sound in the age of media. Operating on the intersection between media, art, philology and philosophy, Kittler writes about an "other" music, which was already described by Nietzsche. This music is not concerned with interpretation or subjectivity; instead it is pure data or (media) noise.
Whereas Europe’s traditional written music had been based on a form and a code to keep the ‘ever-present surrounding noise’ at a distance, recording media are purely physical: medium instead of art, data instead of meaning, sound instead of music. They offer a ‘language’ for music directly expressed in terms of sound.
On the one hand, the traditional listening subject is completely sidetracked in this post-human epoch. He is nothing more than a physical receiver, or ‘nerve switch board,’ of information, or sound. On the other hand, Kittler suggests, from Wagner (staging a ‘total world of hearing’) up to today’s digital music, the "other music" of the media age restores the connection between language, music and bodies that had been lost since Pythagoras, thus creating a ‘single positive feedback between sounds and the ears of listeners.’
The article offers a critical close reading of this important, but overlooked aspect of Kittlers work. It constructs a Kittlerian view of music in the age of media, based on the conceptual importance of noise as the technical backdrop of media. It thereby provides the outset of an alternative theoretical trajectory for understanding contemporary, media driven concepts of sound and noise, their relation to the listening subject and the formation of musical - or rather aural - meaning."
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