Lezione aperta: Objects to be listened to. Strange tales from the biographies of music technologies
Faculty of Design and Art
The lecture begins with some theoretical considerations raised in the Author’s recent book on the social uses of music listening technologies, such as Hifi equipment and iPod players (Non solo Oggetti, Il Mulino, 2012), and continues by developing a fast journey into the “biographies” of some music listening objects, from Thomas Edison’s phonograph (1877) to the recent triumph of music digital objects.
More specifically, the lecture will describe several moments in the history of music listening technologies when industries and designers have imagined specific social uses of musical objects that have been systematically rejected by listeners and by the market: the phonograph at the beginning was by no means conceived to be a tool for musical playback; the cassette Walkman in 1979 was not initially designed to play the music in solitary; and the iPod, in the early intention of Steve Jobs, was not expected to be a musical revolution (and indeed during the first years nor was it a commercial success).
The lecture ends by pointing out the structural and systematic misalignment between music technologies as imagined by their producers and the actual appropriations they have experienced in society; and, by discussing, on the basis of these musical examples, the relationship between technologies and the actual social worlds.
Aula F0.03, piazza Università, 1, Bolzano