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Propagating Silence: Listening for Botanical Musicality

THIS IS AN IN-PERSON EVENT, ZOOM REGISTRATION IS ONLY REQUIRED IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE A LINK TO JOIN REMOTELY.

How do we listen during a time of climate crisis? What lifeforms already in our midst might aid in our future engagements with silent soundings? In this talk, Cana McGhee will respond to these questions by elucidating several plant musicalities that enact interspecies relationships beyond animal-human assemblages. The lecture will primarily focus on domestic(ated) settings wherein plant lives are nudged into spectrums of audibility and will explore the question of electromagnetic amplification through analyses of experimental art music performances with plants and handheld devices that transform plants into musical instruments. The discussion will then highlight Black and queer plant parents blurring the boundaries of plantness and humanness through digital musico-sonic play. By resisting the landscape-style listening strategies favored in sound studies and acoustic ecology, it is shown that the development of modes of listening that embrace seemingly silent lives whose sonic imprints linger with their material and biological traces on environments and ecosystems.

This event is co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the Digital Design Studio at Tisch Library.

This lecture is also part of the Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lecture Series; to explore and register for other lectures in our series, visit our website: https://as.tufts.edu/environmentalstudies/news-events/hoch-cunningham-lecture-series

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