Professor Will Straw will be presenting at the international PopPrint conference in Edmonton, AB; the event takes place from August 27th to the 30th. The conference and its associated popular culture festivals “consider what most people read, here and elsewhere, now and in the past. Though popular print shows an almost overwhelming diversity, adaptability, and mobility over the centuries, and around the world, it is still measured—and too often disparaged—in relation to canonical literature and "high" culture.”
Media @ McGill's Dr. Jonathan Sterne is making the rounds of some Australian institutions this summer! See below to learn more about his whereabouts, and his current work on digital audio encoding formats.
31 July, “Sound Reproduction After Noise: MP3 and the Limits of Perception,” at the Technologies of Listening Workshop, University of New South Wales
Today, more recorded music exists in mp3 form than in any other format, analog or digital. MP3s circulate so freely in part because of their small size: physically undetectable by the unaided senses, they take up (on average) 12% of the bandwidth and hard drive space that a standard .wav format (the kind found on a compact disc) takes. This miniaturization results from the application of a psychoacoustic model – a mathematical table of frequencies that listeners are likely “not to miss” – to a CD-quality recording (this approach is called “perceptual coding”). In other words, the primary technological precondition of the mp3's proliferation is an applied theory of what cannot be heard. This paper examines the development of that psychoacoustic model and its path to standardization in the International Standards Organization's MPEG format. The engineers who worked on the format began with frequency models derived from psychoacoustics textbooks but quickly modified them based on the results of listening tests. Thus, every mp3 carries with it an account of the bare life of hearing.
1 August, Open door day at UNSW
7 August, “Format Theory,” University of Melbourne.
Today, more recordings exist in mp3 form than in any other form in the world. What difference does it make? Arguments about sound quality abound in scholarship and the popular press, but much less has been said about the format as itself a cultural phenomenon. This is not entirely accidental, as scholars are more often in the habit of conceiving of technology in terms of hardware. In this paper, I consider the historical significance of format as a defining feature of recent audio media history, and argue that the history of the mp3 reveals otherwise hidden dimensions of 20 th century audio history.
8 August, Open door day at the University of Melbourne
11 August, Open door day at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland
12 August, “The Historical Emergence of Perceptual Coding,” Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland
Quadrangle at the University of Sydney.
Professor Marc Raboy will be interviewed Monday May 26th on CBC Radio One's "Radio Noon" program. Professor Raboy will be discussing the recently-released World Bank study entitled Broadcasting, Voice and Accountability: A Public Interest Approach to Policy, Law, and Regulation. It outlines how broadcast media can fulfill a vital role in development by making governments accountable, and giving voice to the world’s poor.
You can listen online live from the Radio Noon website; the interview will be broadcast some time between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm EST. An archive of the interview will be made available here at the Media@McGill site, at a later date.
The World Bank marked World Press Freedom Day by launching a study outlining conditions under which radio, television and online broadcasting can fulfil a vital role in development by making governments accountable, and giving voice to the world’s poor.
The 400-page study, Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability, subtitled A Public Interest Approach to Policy, Law and Regulation, is the result of five years of research by six media experts, including Kreszentia Duer, of the World Bank; Steve Buckley, president of the World Association of Community Broadcasters; Toby Mendel, ARTICLE 19, Global Campaign for Free Expression; Seán Ó Siochrú, founder of the Campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society; Monroe E. Price, of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania; and Media@McGill's Marc Raboy, Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications.
Next Friday Darin Barney will deliver a keynote address on new media and public institutions at a Trudeau Foundation Symposium in Vancouver. The conference is titled "The Future of Public Institutions: New Media, The Press and Museums." The talk is called “The Revenge of Publicity”.