RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013

"Paradigm Shift" Participants


Bodily Fragments

Session:Paradigm Shift

Panel:Panel B (Paper session)


Venue:Stockholm School of Economics

In this paper I explore two electroacoustic works, Matmos’s A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure (2001) and Christof Migone’s Crackers (2001). Both works sample the sounds of the body, recombining fragments of sounds from cosmetic surgery and cracking joints in order to create musical holism; free-floating body parts are reassembled into sonic bodies through composerly manipulation. These works exist within a wider context in which scientific and technical advances have led to the inner spaces of the body, formerly the domain of specialised medical knowledge, becoming externalized and available for artistic re-use. New Media theorist Bernadette Wegenstein has argued that following the proliferation of such practices, the role of exterior appearance in the representation of the body has receded, leading to a situation in which the body has, in fact, ‘turned into an organ without a body’ (Wegenstein, 2006: 79 – 80). Bodily ‘strata’ have become metaphors for new spaces and structures. Here, I explore how Matmos and Migone use their musical materials as a basis for shaping their works. In particular, I scrutinize how these pieces blur the boundaries between bodily interiors and exteriors, and the consequences for understanding how these pieces represent (and mediate) the body. I suggest that through the process of sampling the sound has not been cut from the matter of the body, but has, as Wegenstein puts it, come to matter differently.

My current research focuses on issues of embodiment in contemporary music and draws on
theoretical and methodological approaches from musicology, new media theory and sensory studies.
More widely, my research interests include: contemporary and experimental musics; socio-cultural
approaches to music and audio technologies; and listening practices.

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