What a wonderful discovery.
I love sonification, soundscapes, sonic installations and sound performance art. It is not something I know much about, yet when I encounter it, I love the experience, the exploration, the experimentation. I spent much of my youth listening to Ryuichi Sakamoto, Laurie Anderson, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Philip Glass and so on. Their sonic art transcends time and space, makes space and opens other dimensions. That might be why I love Tibetan Chanting, Gregorian Chants and why I thoroughly enjoyed Anathem.
Today, during my ritualistic morning reads, I came across Maryanne Amacher. I was so pleased to hear and read about a female electronic sonic artist, a soundscape techno geek, and finding out about a Thurston Moore project called Her Noise and a Daytrip with Maryanne.
Some weeks ago, I went to a cultural mediation seminar DJ Spooky and the Politics of Afro-postmodernism led by Dr. Jesse Stewart. I went for a couple of reasons: a) because I wanted to spend a bit more time with someone I consider to be an interesting thinker, b) I really like learning about stuff I know nothing about (DJ culture) c) I really like the the work coming out of the school of cultural mediation and humanities, and d) I am a bit envious about the stuff they think about in those schools and how they do their thinking.
I read the paper, and sat through the seminar mostly observing as I know so little of the subject matter. What I saw, is what I so often see, boys talking, thinking out loud, sharing their DJ cred and avatar like names, positioning and posturing, playing and tinkering with little or no recognition that it is only boys doing the talking and participating in the conversation, and only boys making the music and leading the scene, and mostly boys doing the writing. Also, it surprised me that one could write a paper about a friend in an academic journal and be debating reflexivity while not at all acknowledging the lack of a female voice in the discourse let alone at the table where we were all sitting, and how that topic, the topic of DJ’ing makes it into the academy, who got it there and who decides it warrants a space. I remain upset that my background did not exposure me in my youth to this way of thinking, that the working class french canadian schooling I grew up with is so narrow and poor intellectually, and yet, I realize that what I experienced at that seminar, is the same as it always is, just in a different way with fancier words and a more lucid application of philosophy.
This is not the first time or place I see and experience this. If I am in ham radio, open source, wifi, cartography and science circles the feeling is the same. When I read the history of statistics, science, philosophy, art, architercture, cinema or just read the roster of TED Talk celebs, or who is consulted on the weekly religious scholar pages in the Citizens, it is the same, the thinkers, talkers and tinkerers, are men. There are so few female voices. Where are my sisters? Why do we not play the same way? Did we not learn how to play? To be free with our thoughts? How come we do not tinker? Why are we not builders? When I see my friend’s daughters, and observe an aptitude for math and science, I am so excited, and pray they will continue along that route and not be discouraged and redirected into cafe knitting circles or felting useless scarves.
Bref, reading Maryanne Amacher’s obituary, listening to a bit of her works, and finding out that she is a musician[’s musician and an artist’s artists, I felt reassured, yes, there are inspiring sisters and they are leading the way.
But, alas, their numbers are few and I want to know why that is.