Static in the System: Noise and the Soundscape of American Cinema Culture

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Univ of California Press, Feb 26, 2019 - Performing Arts - 256 pages
In this rich study of noise in American film-going culture, Meredith C. Ward shows how aurality can reveal important fissures in American motion picture history, enabling certain types of listening cultures to form across time. Connecting this history of noise in the cinema to a greater sonic culture, Static in the System shows how cinema sound was networked into a broader constellation of factors that affected social power, gender, sexuality, class, the built environment, and industry, and how these factors in turn came to fruition in cinema's soundscape. Focusing on theories of power as they manifest in noise, the history of noise in electro-acoustics with the coming of film sound, architectural acoustics as they were manipulated in cinema theaters, and the role of the urban environment in affecting mobile listening and the avoidance of noise, Ward analyzes the powerful relationship between aural cultural history and cinema's sound theory, proving that noise can become a powerful historiographic tool for the film historian.
 

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Contents

Illustrations
1
Early Motion Picture Audiences
15
Noise
53
the camera 1930
76
Cinema Auditoriums
85
Cinema Theaters as Antiquated as Edison and
117
Noises We Will Be Hearing Soon
154
Notes
167
References
211
Index
231
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Meredith C. Ward is Director of the Film and Media Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University. She is also affiliated faculty for the Center for Advanced Media Studies at Johns Hopkins. She is the author of articles on sound and media for Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film; Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; and the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Cinematic Listening and the recipient of the 2016 Dissertation Award for outstanding contribution to the field of media studies from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS).