The APRA Foundation Berlin Multi-Disciplinary Fellow 2018

APRA Foundation Berlin Fellow 2018

Project Proposal: Mémoire

Mémoire is a collaged collection of compasses in sound and image for navigating the gendered terrain between aurality and visuality in the process of constructing the self. In this project I talk with individuals who have come to define themselves across multiple cultural contexts. I will document my learning about how they navigate these processes with audio and video recordings. For example, I might ask a migrant what, if anything, feels different about being seen and heard in their new home. I will create collages of these recorded materials, archive my collages as a telematic exhibition, and then further sculpt the materials into a live performance.

Cartesians locate the advent of subjecthood in aurality; Lacanians locate the advent of subjecthood in visuality. Feminists have both reinforced and resisted both the Cartesian and Lacanian models of subjecthood. Jennifer Ruth Hosek and Walter J. Freeman propose a model that defines the self as “forming through embedding itself in its surroundings.” You are, in other words, what you eat (and touch and smell and see and hear). “A self’s ontogenesis is through that self’s actions into its environment,” they write.

Social ontologists understand such environments to be culturally constructed. Your perceptual actions into your environment (a) are shaped by the environment, (b) shape the environment, and (c) shape you. In environments where aurality is feminized and visuality is masculinized, your gender identity inevitably shapes your perceptual actions. If there is merit to either the Cartesian or the Lacanian models, the advent of your subjethood and your subjecthood itself would have a reflexive relationship with aurality, visuality, and your gender identity through your perceptual actions. My project is a creative exploration with sound and image into this hypothesis.

Combined Curriculum Vitae

In Rachel’s art practice-based research/ philosophy research-based practice, she asks questions of and listens to others. She gathers recordings of these experiences and processes them through her editorial ears (primarily) and eyes (secondarily), sculpting primary resources. As a young student in Hartford public schools, she was introduced to music and philosophy by exceptional teachers and had early exposure to the works of Sol LeWitt (a fellow child of Hartford). She pursued musical training as a hornist and composer, receiving a B. Mus. at the Copland School of Music of the City University of New York, an M.A. at Mills College, and a Ph.D. (in progress) at the University of Virginia. Throughout, her interest in the social ontology of art, seeded by her early education, repeatedly led her back to feminist philosophy. To date, her creative work has been heard in more than ten countries on four continents. It has been performed in collaboration with artists such as Fred Frith, JACK quartet, and Laurel Jay Carpenter. Rachel’s compositions have been supported by Elektronmusikstudion (Stockholm), GRM (Paris), and STEIM (Amsterdam). Her writings on the social ontology of art have been published in Emergency Index, Feminist Media Histories, and parallax. She teaches electronic music technology and feminism at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.