Category Archives: theory

In Service to Nothing: Intellectual Inquiry in the Open


In Service to Nothing: Intellectual Inquiry in the Open
Symposium at The New School
The Center for Transformative Media and punctum books
November 7   11AM-6PM
66 West 12th Street, room A404

“In Service to Nothing: Intellectual Inquiry in the Open” is a symposium, co-hosted by the Center for Transformative Media, Parsons School of Design and punctum books, that takes as its launching pad three new and forthcoming titles by CTM+punctum authors–

• Michael Berger, ed., “Ravish the Republic: The Archives of the Iron Garters Crime/Art Collective” (Dead Letter Office, punctum books, 2015)

• Gavin Keeney, “Knowledge, Spirit, Law, Book I: Radical Scholarship (CTM Documents Initiative, punctum books, 2015)

• Marc Lafia, “Image/Photograph” (CTM Documents Initiative, punctum books, 2015)

— in order to think through what it might mean, currently, to practice radically speculative forms of scholarship that work to evade, escape, and critique neoliberal and institutional-bureaucratic capture, or, as Keeney puts it in his book, that would work “against neoliberalist anomie and the preservation of postmodern différance as means to atomize consciousness and instill … a society of control.” Further, Keeney writes,

“Why is the speculative confined to the arts, or—worse still—to cultural studies (the circularity of endless discourse present there mimicking knowledge production based on citation and interpretation of received wisdom)? How have the arts been isolated and rendered toothless since the inception of modernism, when revolutionary-critical and productive work was one of the key operative elements of the “architecture” of modernism (if not modernity)?”

How, also, for those of us working the veins of so-called “academic” discourses, can we resist what Sarah Schulman has called “the gentrification of the mind,” working instead, in the words of Michael Berger, “to make unprecedented collaborations between art and theory, spirituality and labor, crime and love, writing and noise”? Further, of the work of the Iron Garters Crime/Art collective, Berger writes,

“The unquestioned divisions between genres and modes and forms could no longer be tolerated. The Academy would have to be thrown into the street. Theory would have to be disrupted by economic brutalities. Culture would have to be rewritten by the powerless. Sexuality and desire would have to be undermined by artistic frenzy and mystical devotion. Above all, we would have to be reckless yet cunning like the most devoted outlaws, protectors of a Wild Outside that has no real analogue in human rationality.”

We can look back to Foucault’s Preface to Deleuze and Guattari’s “Anti-Oedipus,” to see the situation framed this way: “How does one introduce desire into thought, into discourse, into action? How can and must desire deploy its forces within the political domain and grow more intense in the process of overturning the established order?”

“In Service to Nothing” will gather together authors and publishers who are working to foster and enact speculative, avant-garde scholarly praxes that resist the business-as-usual of the Public Research Institution, the Digital Humanities, Academic Publishing, Neoliberal Capital, and the like, in order to reinvigorate the question of intellectual creation outside of its intensive “management” as “property” within the contemporary university. Further, speakers have been selected because of the ways in which their work productively emerges at the intersections between the Institution, the University, the so-called Street/Outside, the Studio/Workshop, the Gallery/Museum, etc.



Welcoming/Framing Remarks by Eileen Joy + Chris Piuma (Co-Directors, punctum books)

Alison Kinney (author of HOOD, forthcoming from Bloomsbury in Jan. 2016) + Michael Berger (Iron Garters Crime/Art Collective)


Karen Gregory (Digital Sociology, University of Edinburgh) + Gavin Keeney (Agence ‘X’)


Marina Zurkow (Multimedia Artist + Interactive Telecommunications Program, Tisch School of the Arts) + Marc Lafia (Photographer/Filmmaker + author of IMAGE/PHOTOGRAPH)

Joseph Nechvatal (Multimedia Artist, Paris + author of DESTROYER OF NAIVETES) + Ed Keller (Center for Transformative Media, Parsons School of Design)

Matsuda & Vorreiter: The Future of Guitar Design Workshops 2015


Michi Florian

The Future of Guitar Design Workshops 2015
October 26, 27, 28     2015
A 3 day workshop with luthiers Michihiro Matsuda and Florian Vorreiter
Center for Transformative Media [CTM] at The New School
Sponsors: Parsons School of Design & Mannes School of Music
Free and Open to the Public

The Center For Transformative Media hosts a three day workshop with internationally renowned luthiers Michi Matsuda and Florian Vorreiter. The event includes afternoon round table discussions/panels and playing salons with Matsuda, Vorreiter, and invited NY area luthiers and guitarists; and evening lectures and performances with the instruments.
Organized by Ed Keller, Director, CTM.

Performers to include Michael Newman, Joe Ravo, Liz Hogg, Matt Leece, Thiago Pimental, and more TBA.


Monday Oct 26th
• 12 Noon- 3PM Meet and Greet
Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor
Roundtable, meet and greet, playing ’salon’

• 7PM-10.30PM Matsuda and Vorreiter: Lectures
Performers TBA
Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue, ground floor
Lectures, performances, discussion

Tuesday Oct 27th
• 1PM-5PM Round table, Techniques
Klein Conference room, A510, 5th Floor, 66 West 12th Street
Round table discussion; techniques demonstration, playing ‘salon’

• 8PM-11PM ‘Limits of Guitar’ discussion and performances
Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue, ground floor
Presentations focused on instruments that inspired the luthiers; what might constitute the ‘limit of the guitar’; performances, round table discussion

Wednesday Oct 28th
• 1PM-5PM Wrap up discussion
Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor
Roundtable, discussion, playing ’salon’



vorreiter closeupIn 2013-15, CTM presents a series of lectures, workshops, & performances focusing on the cutting edge present and future of guitar and instrument design. Curated and organized by Ed Keller,  co-sponsored by Parsons School of Design and Mannes College of Music, functioning as a platform to build cross divisional collaboration at The New School, and opening exclusive external collaborations, this series has brought internationally renowned luthiers, designers, builders, materials innovators, composers, performers, theorists, and sound designers together to explore points of connection between the traditions of musical instrument design and sound production, and new forms of design thinking facilitated by materials science, emergent materials, parametric design, the internet of things, physical computing, networked sound, and the politics of ‘noise’.



Guests have included Ezio Blasetti, Marco Capelli, Perry Hall, Fred Hand, Ratzo Harris, Charlie Hunter, Gary Lee, Allan Marcus, Ava Mendoza, Dom Minasi, Michael Newman, Laura Oltman, Ken Parker, Joe Ravo, Gyan Riley, Barry Salmon, Aron Sanchez, Elliott Sharp, Ned Steinberger, Ola Strandberg, and Charles Yang.

The Limits of Guitar



The Limits of Guitar
Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20th
Wollman Hall   65 West 11th Street Room B500, New York, NY 10003
Free and Open to the Public.

The Limits of Guitar at the New School is a two day event, hosted by The New School’s Center for Transformative Media [CTM] and Mannes School of Music. Curated and coordinated by Ed Keller, Director, CTM.

On June 19 and 20, guitarists, Mannes, Parsons and New School faculty, instrument builders and luthiers will meet to discuss the history and future of the guitar in a symposium/panel/demonstration format, along with two evenings of performance.

The event features composer/guitarist/instrument builder Elliott Sharp and bassist/painter Perry Hall [CTM Artist Fellows 2014-15]; guitarist Marco Capelli; guitarist and instrument collector Jeff Doctorow; luthier Gary Lee; guitarist Ava Mendoza; guitarist/faculty Joe Ravo; instrument designer and performer Aron Sanchez; and more TBA.

Friday June 19
performances and discussion 7:00-10 p.m.

Marco Capelli
Ava Mendoza
Elliott Sharp
_ more TBA

Saturday June 20
Saturday afternoon panel discussion 2:00-5.30 p.m.

Marco Capelli
Jeff Doctorow
Perry Hall
Ed Keller [moderating]
Gary Lee
Ava Mendoza
Joe Ravo
Aron Sanchez
Elliott Sharp

Saturday evening performance 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Marco Capelli
Perry Hall
Joe Ravo
Elliott Sharp
_ more TBA

The event continues a two year program on guitar and instrument design organized by CTM and sponsored by CTM and Mannes School of Music, featuring luthiers and musicians including Ken Parker, Charlie Hunter, Ned Steinberger, Charles Yang, Barry Salmon, Ola Strandberg, Allan Marcus, Gary Lee, Fred Hand, Michi Matsuda, Florian Vorreiter, and Gyan Riley.

Hacking Feminism: May 9 & 10, 2015

hacking feminism

Hacking Feminism

A two-day symposium on Saturday May 9, and Sunday May 10, 2015, The New School (NYC)
Hosted by CTM The Center for Transformative Media (Parsons, New School) and co-sponsored by CTM, The Graduate Center (CUNY) and Punctum Books.  Co-organized by Patricia Clough (CUNY), Nandita Biswas Mellamphy (Western), Dan Mellamphy (Western), Svitlana Matviyenko (Western) and Ed Keller (CTM).

Participants List in alphabetical order
Anne Balsamo, School of Media Studies, The New School, USA
Shannon Bell, York University, Canada
Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Western University, Canada
Zach Blas, University of Buffalo, USA
Sarah Choukah, University of Montreal, Canada
Patricia Ticineto Clough, CUNY, USA
Lucca Fraser, Dalhousie University, Canada
Alexander Galloway, New York University, USA
Nancy Gillespie, Independent Scholar (NY-FLAG)
Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, School of Visual Arts, USA
Margret Grebowicz, Goucher College, USA
Karen Gregory, CUNY, USA
Eileen Joy, Punctum Books, USA
Ed Keller, Parsons The New School for Design, USA
Svitlana Matviyenko, Western University, Canada
Dan Mellamphy, Western University, Canada
Luciana Parisi, University of London, UK
Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University, USA
Joshua Scannell, CUNY, USA
Oyku Tekten, CUNY, USA
McKenzie Wark, The New School, USA


To hack:

to cut with heavy blows in an irregular or random fashion;
to embarrass, annoy; to disconcert, confuse;
to cope with, manage, accomplish; to tolerate, accept; to comprehend;
to hesitate in speech; to stammer;
to break into a computer system by hacking;
to make a hack of, to put to indiscriminate or promiscuous use; to make common, vulgar, or stale, by such treatment;
to cut or chop up or into pieces, to chop off;
to make a clever, benign, and ethical prank or practical joke.

‘The body’ has been a central concept and site of power and subjectivity in the histories of feminism, and yet, in the age of ‘big data’ and ubiquitous computing, we are compelled to ask whether ‘corporeality’, ‘materiality’ and ‘embodiment’ have morphed into something beyond the conceptual boundaries of the ‘organic, fleshy, lived body’. Hacking Feminism seeks to gather together scholars and practitioners who are interested in exploring how the virtualization and informationalization of bodies have impacted —  even challenged — central feminist concepts and tropes such as embodiment, materiality, corporeality, affectivity, and experientiality.  How have widespread technical developments in Cybernetics and theoretical developments in Post-Humanism pushed feminist theorizations of the body away from the dialectics of individual phenomenological subjects and objects, towards multi-sensory design interfaces, trans-individual ecologies, and technically mediated embodiments? How is the rise of ambient and affective computing changing how bodies, especially ‘data bodies,’ are being measured?  Is there a ‘messiness’ that escapes the ‘measurability’ of bodies?  Or is this escapism itself a kind of romanticism? Can we still talk about a specifically feminist approach to theorizing both phenomenological (organic) and virtual (data) bodies?


SATURDAY MAY 9ᵗʰ: 66 West 12th street. Room 510, with alternate/spillover space in A404- check with front desk.

10.30  Seating open

—Ed Keller (co-organizer with D_Mellamphy, N_Biswas_Mellamphy, P_Clough and S_Matviyenko).

—Luciana Parisi (11:00–11:30), Nandita Biswas Mellamphy (11:30–11:50),
Q&A (11:50–12:20).

12:20–12:30  COFFEE BREAK

—Patricia Clough (12:30–1:00), S Matviyenko (1:00–1:20),
Q&A (1:20–1:50).

1:50–3:00  LUNCH offsite.

—Zach Blas (3:00–3:30), Eileen Joy (3:30–3:50),
Q&A (3:50–4:20).

4:20–4:30  COFFEE BREAK.

—Karen Gregory (4:30–4:50), Joshua Scannell (4:50–5:10),
Sarah Choukah (5:10–5:30),
Q&A (5:30–6:10).

6:10–6:30  COFFEE BREAK (performers prepare stage).

6:30–7:30  THE CHILDREN OF THE MERCY-FILES (performance).

8:00  DINNER.

SUNDAY MAY 10ᵗʰ: 65 West 11th Street, Wollman Hall, 5th Floor

12:00   Seating open.

—Jasbir Puar (12:30–1:00), Alex Galloway (1:00–1:20),
Q&A (1:20–1:50).

1:50– 3:00  LUNCH offsite.

—Shannon Bell (3:00–3:30),  Nancy Gillespie (3:30–3:50),
Q&A (3:50–4:20).

4:20–4:30  COFFEE BREAK.

—McKenzie Wark (4:30–4:50),  Margret Grebowicz (4:50–5:10),
Thyrza Goodeve (5:10–5:30), Anne Balsamo (5:30–5:50),
Q&A (5:50–6:30).

6:30-6:35  BREAK.


7:30  DINNER.



Cinema of Ethics, Ethics of Cinema: Nadine Boljkovac

Boljkovac, Untimely Affects image
‘A Secret Called Happiness’:
Cinema of Ethics, Ethics of Cinema

Saturday, December 13 at 6:00pm – 8:00pm
T. Lang Hall, 55 West 13th Street, NY NY

‘And then the earth, present to the point of filming it up close, at root level. How many times do the characters confront the earth, the mud, the original clay of which they were made, from which they seem not yet to be free, and chose to bury themselves in it’. (Marker, One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich, 1999)

‘Here we catch a glimpse of a future in which all mysteries are resolved. [. . .] this will come about because these readers, each working on his slice of universal memory, will lay the fragments of a single secret end to end, a secret with a beautiful name, a secret called happiness.’  (Resnais with ‘Chris and Magic Marker’, et al., 1956)

‘Forensic medicine,’ Claire Colebrook observes, ‘has its own functions and styles of inhuman observation.’ Prior to the 2015 paperback re-release of Untimely Affects, this presentation draws upon the text to undertake its own process of excavation and observation. It casts its gaze at relations between cinema and life – ethics, time and future, demarcations between material bodies (chemical, biological, social or political), and the production of affects – to speak of the unspeakable, ineffable, imperceptible and unthinkable.

Via traces that Chris Marker and Alain Resnais have left, ‘traces with which one can work, and contours to help draw up the map’ (Marker), this talk grasps at an interconnectedness among all assemblages of life, human and otherwise, to consider memory fragments in terms of the geography of a nomadic subjectivity. Such is to contemplate ‘the eternity of the lifeforces, not the perennity of death’ (Rosi Braidotti). Through multiple filmic excerpts and close readings, the talk will encounter foldings and doublings that engender subjectivities beyond the human. The excerpts will aid in an analysis of ‘beauty’ and an exploration of ways for seeing and thinking beyond destruction and extermination.

As it thereby attempts to trace what is beautiful and intangible, what is not in fact a ‘what’ but rather this, thisness, sign or ‘trigger’ (Steven Shaviro), the talk will obsess over ‘things that quicken the heart’ (Marker) … while questioning how temporal perceptions and sensations, as glimpsed through the moving image, affect ‘our’ perceptions, environments, and planet.
– Nadine Boljkovac


‘To think is to reach a non-stratified material, somewhere between the layers, in the interstices. Thinking has an essential relation to history, but it is no more historical than it is eternal. It is closer to what Nietzsche calls the Untimely: to think the past against the present—which would be nothing more than a common place, pure nostalgia, some kind of return, if he did not immediately add: “in favor, I hope, of a time to come”.’  (Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and Interviews 1975-1995, Deleuze)


Nadine Boljkovac (PhD, Cambridge) is Postdoctoral Fellow of Visual Culture & the Moving Image, Centre for Modernism Studies, UNSW. She was the Brown University 2012-13 Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow, a University of Edinburgh 2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, and University of Aberdeen 2009-10 Film Teaching Fellow. Untimely Affects: Gilles Deleuze and an Ethics of Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2013) will be released in paperback in 2015. A second monograph in progress, Beyond Self and Screen, explores filmic instances of women’s self-portraiture.

Elliott Sharp: CTM 2014-15 Artist Fellow lectures

E# by Andreas Sterzing

Elliott Sharp: CTM 2014-15 Artist Fellow lectures

• Natural Models As Compositional Inspiration and Strategy September 18th
• Algorithmic and Self-Organizing Systems: Lecture/Demonstration Sept. 29th 7- 10 pm
• New Approaches To Graphic Notation October 9th 7- 10 pm
• Socio-Acoustics – Soundmaking in the Real World by Real People December 8, 7PM

All events are Free and Open to the Public 


Socio-Acoustics – Soundmaking in the Real World by Real People
December 8, 7PM – 10PM
Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue
A complex of equations with many hidden variables make up human interaction when involved in the production and perception of music. Socio-acoustics functions as a feedback loop within a system defined by a dynamically shifting balance of spatiality and time-based actions.  Can the many elements that define this system be identified and quantized? The relationship between sound-producers and their audience is one factor. Another is the relationship of sound-producers with their materials. Finally, there exists the mutual relationship between multiple sound-producers working simultaneously (for example, a group of improvisers or a jazz ensemble) and how it affects the sonic output.  One can imagine any combination and permutation of the above factors – the unpredictable relationship between a musical performance and its perception. This lecture and discussion will present both questions and answers.


New Approaches To Graphic Notation
October 9th  7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Mannes Concert Hall
150 West 85th Street, NY NY

In this lecture, Sharp will describe his 1972 work with graphic notation and how, in his return to this approach in 2003, he found new pathways to the synesthetic. Sharp will present the scores Seize Seas Seeths Seen, Foliage, and Mare Undarum, and describe graphic techniques used to create them, mirroring processes he might have used to process in real-time the sounds produced by musicians. With Sylva Sylvarum from 2014, the score is now an animated movie whose derivation will be discussed. The event will include the presentation of projected scores and recorded examples from selected realizations.


Algorithmic and Self-Organizing Systems: Lecture/Demonstration
Sept 29th  7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Mannes Concert Hall
150 West 85th Street, NY NY

In the first half of this event, Sharp offers definitions and discusses the genesis and development of his composition “SyndaKit”, music as organism. Composed in 1998 for the composer’s ensemble Orchestra Carbon, “SyndaKit” utilizes a collection of biological metaphors to create an ever-shifting rhythmic and timbral matrix. Improvisatory and algorithmic but not improvisation, “SyndaKit”s essence is a transformative organism consisting of 144 composed cores on 12 pages divided among the 12 players with a set of simple rules for their use through processes of imitation, addition, recombination, transposition, and mutation. These actions are based on the activities of flocking birds, African drum choirs, cellular automata, hunting packs, and recombinant amino acids. Every performance of “SyndaKit” is unique though the identity of the piece remains constant with each manifestation. For the second part of this evening, Sharp will workshop “SyndaKit” with an ad hoc ensemble and present a number of iterations of the piece in performance.


Natural Models As Compositional Inspiration and Strategy
Elliott Sharp, lecture
September 18th, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Klein Conference room [510]  66 W 12th St New York, NY 10011
Beginning with his Hudson River Compositions of 1974, composer Elliott Sharp has drawn upon various aspects from natural forms and processes, using them to create conceptual and algorithmic approaches to composition and improvisation. In this lecture, Sharp describes inspirations from fireflies to genetics, and displays the results. Working with Fibonacci numbers in the 1980’s, Sharp built tuning systems as well as rhythms and entire sonic architectures. In his pursuit of ways to mirror seemingly chaotic processes, Sharp found resonance and further inspiration in the fractal geometry of Benoit Mandelbrot which led to a variety of compositions ranging from Tessalation Row for Soldier String Quartet to pieces for his proto-math-rock noise-band Carbon.

Later, composing for his ensemble Orchestra Carbon in the 1990’s, Sharp refined the work with self-organizing systems to include models from flocking birds, RNA replication, Fibonacci numbers, and cellular automata to develop the composition SyndaKit. As much a set of rules or a construction set as a piece of music, SyndaKit creates an every-shifting matrix of rhythms and textures – a composition that is never the same in its manifestation yet always identical in process. This construction set was put to good use to create the orchestral work Calling for the RadioSinfonie Frankfurt and premiered by them at the 2002 Darmstadt festival.
Sharp will present scores and audio examples.


* * *

Elliott Sharp 2014-15 CTM Artist/Fellow
A central figure in the avant-garde music scene in New York City for over thirty years, Elliott Sharp leads the projects Orchestra Carbon, SysOrk, Tectonics and Terraplane, and has pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction. Winner of the 2015 Berlin Prize in Music Composition and a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, Sharp has composed for Hilary Hahn, Ensemble Modern, RadioSinfonie Frankfurt, and JACK Quartet. His work has been featured in the Darmstadt (2002) and Donaueschingen (2007) festivals, at the Hessischer Rundfunk Klangbiennale (2007), and the Venice Biennale (2003, 2007, 2012). His wide range of collaborators have included Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; Kronos Quartet; Debbie Harry; blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples; jazz greats Jack Dejohnette, and Sonny Sharrock; turntable innovator Christian Marclay; and Bachir Attar of the Master Musicians Of Jahjouka, Morocco. His work is the subject of the documentary “Doing The Don’t” and he has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.

* * *

In 2013-15, CTM presents a series of lectures, workshops, & performances focusing on the cutting edge present and future of guitar and instrument design. Co-sponsored by Mannes College of Music, functioning as a platform to build cross divisional collaboration at The New School, and opening exclusive external collaborations, this series has brought internationally renowned luthiers, designers, builders, materials innovators, composers, performers, theorists, and sound designers together to explore points of connection between the traditions of musical instrument design and sound production, and new forms of design thinking facilitated by materials science, emergent materials, parametric design, the internet of things, physical computing, networked sound, and the politics of ‘noise’.

Guests have included Michi Matsuda, Gyan Riley, Florian Vorreiter, Elliott Sharp, Perry Hall, Ken Parker, Charlie Hunter, Ned Steinberger, Charles Yang, Ola Strandberg, Allan Marcus, Perry Hall, Joe Ravo, Gary Lee, Fred Hand, and Ezio Blasetti.

SIGNAL PATH: The Present and Future of SOUND and NOISE [or, Fury]


‘Focusing and defocusing of a signal passed through a random turbulent atmospheric medium.’

SIGNAL PATH: The Present and Future of SOUND and NOISE [or, Fury]
Friday, May 30, 9 AM- 5PM
T. Lang Conference room, 55 West 13th Street, second floor, New York City
Free and open to the public

Elliott Sharp, Perry Hall, Joe Ravo, Eldritch Priest, Marc Couroux, Quinn Dougherty,
Brendan Byrne, Joe Saavedra; Danil Nagy, Lisa Ekle, Yuval Borochov;
Punctum Records Artists: Roger Sellers, Topher Sipes, Andrew Stevens
Organized and introduced by  Ed Keller, Director, CTM.

[speaker bios: ]

Excerpts from the event at UStream:

More symposium footage at UStream event channel:

‘What is the signal path- the ‘information flow’ through ‘instruments’? What models and disciplines might be useful to invoke when asking this question?  Looking to computation, the way that memory is articulated is illustrative of the specific challenges faced when we contrast a more static form of storage, such as a flipped bit [or a printed page]- against a more dynamic form, such as delay line memory, a 1950s technology that used sound waves propagating through tubes of mercury. These examples underscore what might be at stake when we translate theories of noise to the sonic disciplines, and musical and sonic concepts to disciplines as diverse as geology, economics, material science, architectural design, and geo-politics.

This symposium offers an invitation to explore the space of research and practice in sound that is keenly attuned to the value of ‘noise’.  The intention is to reveal approaches both pragmatic as well as platforms theoretic,  across the political/arts/sciences spectrum. We ask: what kinds of exchange exist between these domains, and what evidence can be offered to ‘prove’ the existence of those exchanges? How can we re-imagine our concepts and definitions of ‘noise’ to suit the unique geo-bio-political situation we find ourselves in today?’ – Ed Keller

SUGGESTED THEMES [a partial list]
Pragmatics: evidence from designers, builders, software makers, players, composers working with      noise.
Noise and various forms of cryptomorphology situated against the potentially monotonic nature of various forms of temporality/capital [see Pasquinelli’s work on entropy]
• Models of different kinds of noise/time to re-situate sound practice, performance, composition
• Role of noise in cybernetic models of emergent and complex systems
Theoretical component- study of examples [both inside and outside music] who are thinking this through.
Parallels [apophenias] between concepts found in the discipline of cryptography, and sounds and patterns in the resonant world.
How does sound and noise manifest through geologies and geographies- thinking the post human;  large time scales in relation to sound; deep time recording and industrial landscapes [Andy Weir].




“To give the statement life and colour, let me anticipate what will be explained in much more detail later, namely, that the most essential part of a living cell- the chromosome fibre may suitably be called an aperiodic crystal. ” Schrodinger, ‘What is Life?’, 1944

“The principal internal storage in the Univac I system is the 1000-word acoustic delay-line memory, consisting of 100 10-word mercury registers. Twelve additional 10-word registers function as intermediate storage for input and output; six more are spares. With modified circuitry, seven more channels control the temperature of seven mercury tanks, and one more channel is used for the 10-word Y- register. The total of 126 mercury channels is contained in the seven mercury tanks mounted on the backs of sections MT, MV, MX, NT, NV, NX, and GV. Each tank is divided into 18 channels. Physically, each of the 10-word register circuits is made up of three sections:

_ The acoustic delay, consisting of a channel in a column of mercury, with receiving and transmitting crystals mounted at opposite ends.
_ An intermediate-frequency (i-f) chassis, electrically connected to the receiving crystal, and containing amplifiers, a detector, and a compensating delay. The i-f chassies are mounted on the shell of the mercury tank which they serve.
_ A recirculation chassis, containing a cathode follower, a pulse former and retimer, a modulator, which drives the transmitting crystal, and input, clear, and memory-switch gates. These chassies are mounted in the sections adjacent to the mercury tanks.”

On May 30 2014, CTM presents two events engaging sound in both the performative and theoretical dimensions.

_ ‘SIGNAL PATH- The Present and Future of Sound and Noise [or, Fury]’, a one day symposium
_ ‘The Lost Weekend’, an evening of performances with Punctum Records

The SIGNAL PATH symposium is part of a year long CTM series, ’The Future of Guitar and Instrument Design’, that has brought internationally renowned luthiers, designers, builders, materials innovators, composers, performers, theorists, and sound designers together to explore points of connection between the traditions of musical instrument design and sound production. A full day symposium will include scholarly presentations, research papers, and instrument demonstrations; informed by materials science, emergent materials, parametric design, the internet of things, physical computing, networked sound, and ultimately considering the politics of ‘noise’.

‘The Lost Weekend’, an evening event with Punctum Records. will provide an opportunity for performance by symposium participants, and showcase some of Punctum Records’ artists:
Marmalakes, Taft, Battle Bend, Bridges, Roger Sellers, and David Moss; for the full ‘Lost Weekend’ lineup and program/venues:
CTM and Punctum Books/Punctum Records formed an imprint/event partnership in 2013.
For more information on the books and recordings published and forthcoming, and the CTM
Future of Instrument Design lecture/performance series, please visit:


SIGNAL PATH: The New School T. Lang Center, 13th Street: all day event

LOST WEEKEND: Wollman Auditorium, 11th Street, Punctum Records evening event
Lost Weekend is organized by Punctum Records/Books [Eileen Joy, Dan Rudmann]; with
Ed Keller, CTM.

Evan Calder Williams: The Sabotage of Life

fantomas humanity beautiful puppet show


4 Lectures by Evan Calder Williams

MAY 14th, the ‘GLASS CORNER’, room E206, 25 East 13th Street, 7.00 PM – 10PM

The last in the series, this lecture tackles the last aspect of sabotage responsible for the century’s worth of attacks on it: its negation of the centrality of “life” as an ideal to organize around and in defense of. Contrary to many of its most recent advocates, sabotage does not suggest the surge of an irrepressible human vital urge against “deathly” mechanisms of capital and state. Instead, it produces a crack in the assumed bond of human-life-work, insists on dangerous collaborations with mechanisms both inhuman and “against life,” and reminds us that only those who insist on the primacy of life itself could support one so unlivable.

Topics include: the birth strike, Neo-Malthusian and otherwise; hostile objects; material feminist urban design; slapstick; unwaged time.

Williams will be in conversation by theorist and artist Hannah Black.

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited, please register on Eventbrite.

For more information on Calder Williams’ 2013/14 lectures:



Evan Calder Williams: The Sabotage of Space

gun crazy train smoke lens flare2

4 Lectures by Evan Calder Williams

APRIL 28, the ‘GLASS CORNER’, room E206, 25 East 13th Street, 7.00 PM – 10PM


The qualities that made sabotage one of the twentieth century’s bad words – its cunning, conspiracy with complex apparatuses, invisibility, and “time-release” effect – are not qualities it invented. Rather, they are found in the basic coordinates of that century’s spatial system. If, as the previous talk explored, the history of sabotage is one of drift and diffusion, moving from a specific practice in wage-centered struggles through legal and military codification to a general concept of subterfuge and hostility, it is so only as an index of real changes happening to and through the material networks of capital. This talk considers those networks and changes through the lens of sabotage, focusing in particular on two histories: the Metropolis, both as the large city and as the process of expansion that dissolves the coherence of the city/country divide, and pollution, as an idea giving the West nightmares for a good two millennia and now showing itself inseparable from daily life. Topics include: Kiev’s ice barricades; Doreen Massey’s feminist geography; miasma, blocked signals, and the birds of Antigone; recent digital animation; Deepwater Horizon and the burning ocean; floods of work and water; Piranesi’s serpents; Günther Anders and Massimo Cacciari; the earth’s crust.

The talk will be followed by a response by, and conversation with, Sabu Kohso, a theorist and translator currently researching and writing on the aftermath of Fukushima.

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited, please register on Eventbrite.

For more information on Calder Williams’ 2013/14 lectures:


Post Planetary Capital Symposium

Sunshine, Boyle

Post Planetary Capital Symposium
Monday, March 24, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM (EDT)
Co-organized by Ed Keller and Ben Woodard
Wollman Hall 66 West 12th Street 5th floor   New York, NY
Free and open to the public.


Introduction and opening of symposium

More symposium footage:


As the dull glow of nationalism and cold war politics has faded from governmental space programs it is little surprise that space exploration has undergone widespread privatization.
Yet it is only recently that potentially massive profitability has accelerated off-planet projects, replacing narrower and perhaps unrealistic dreams of space tourism with asteroid mining (purportedly a multi-trillion dollar industry) and long term Mars colonization. Such projects present an odd combination of new technologies (especially advanced robotics) and lower cost older technologies (rocket propulsion) deployed in unfamiliar and lawless territory.

While much has been said regarding the internal limits of capital, much yet remains to be said about how capitalist imperatives can be taken off-world, questioning whether capital[ism] has external limits as it begins to spread across the solar system and out into space. Is the fact that asteroid mining extends an old logic of environmental degradation rendered moot by its non-terrestrial location? Does off-world colonization by non-governmental entities lay troubling ground work for the advent of mega-corporations and unregulatable capitalism?

Furthermore, the complicity between capitalist expansion and space exploration which centers upon large-scale collective action potentially questions stock oppositions between capital and ecological betterment, technological progression and radical politics, as well as space travel and non-national collectivity. This one day symposium aims to address the potential strategies and claims surrounding these issues.

– Ed Keller, Ben Woodard

Julieta Aranda [artist / editor of eflux journal]
Amanda Beech [CalArts]
Kai Bosworth  [UMN]
Benjamin H. Bratton [DGP/UCSD]
Ed Keller [CTM/Parsons]
Deneb Kozikoski [Columbia]
Carla Leitao [RPI/Pratt]
Geoff Manaugh [Gizmodo/BLDGBLOG]
Rory Rowan [Wageningen University, The Netherlands ]
Keith Tilford [New School]
Ken Wark [New School]
Ben Woodard [University of Western Ontario]
Kazys Varnelis [Columbia Univ. GSAPP]

Additional speakers TBA