Noise &/as Nervousness: Gertrude Stein in the Interface


Session Title:

  • Sonic Art and Sound 1: Noise and Soundscapes

Presentation Title:

  • Noise &/as Nervousness: Gertrude Stein in the Interface




  • Abstract (short paper)

    This small paper focuses on ‘noise as communicating presence’  in performance and digital communication by mapping Gertrude Stein’s 1934 lecture ‘Plays’ onto the interface through contemporary digital theorists Ulises A. Mejias and Alexander Galloway. How do the critical resonances between performance and digital media allow us to develop a theory for a practice that values the accumulation of these disturbances? I argue that Stein’s spectatorial ‘nervousness’ provides a tactic for an expanded understanding of noise that positions presence – our own, the interface and those communicated with – firmly within digital communication technologies. I aim to use the intersection of media theory and performance to develop a theory that enables us to layer the agencies at play in a process, to attend to how ‘interface as an intersection of these agencies’. Ultimately, I argue that understanding this affective presence is vital to how and why we might act as ‘accumulators or curators and of disturbance’.

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