Revolting Sounds: The Body/Machine with Organs


Session Title:

  • Sound Government Always Leads to Revolution

Presentation Title:

  • Revolting Sounds: The Body/Machine with Organs



  • Organs are figured, experienced and heard differently by different cultures and at different moments of history. This paper will explore and listen to organs as they are being reconfigured in computer culture. The paper is based on a sound work for radio and installation that the author is currently working on. In the paper, as in the sound works, Neumark wants to fracture the ‘natural’ body and listen differently. She will do this through two figures: (1) travelling and journeying, and (2) the computer as a revolting machine-organs of digestion, excretion, and transmission.

    (1) Organs on the move. Historically in the West organs have moved around the body (the wandering uterus being the most errant) and shifted in their relations to emotions and consciousness. Moving South and East, organs decentre from Western individuated incarnations, reconfigure the relationship between inside and outside, and re-centre themselves and bodies – differently, untranslatably. How can they be listened to?

    (2) Computers as organs of digestion and excretion, transmission and emission. Much recent theory and discussion about computers places them in the realm of the brain or the mind, as if the body (‘meat’) has been erased or left behind. While this does address an important aspect of the changed kinaesthetics, it doesn’t get to the heart and viscera of the matter from a sound artist’s point of view. As you scan in your images or digitise your sounds, you subject them to a digestion process carried out by you and the computer together. As digestion it can revolt and turn ugly, produce unexpected eruptions, and most excitingly, result in a noisy, undisciplined indigestion.