Messy Audio Machines

Friday Apr 7, 7:30-9:30pm
Led by Tania Doles & Kora Colasuonno


Messy Audio Machines is an exploration of gender, race, and sexuality of historical and contemporary electronic music as seen in disco, techno, house, hip hop, and experimental music. We will use various audio machines like the synthesizer, drum machine, and sampler as locations of such inquiry. Starting from modern mechanical and engineering advances in sound, we will peel back the layers upon layers of social and cultural meaning. This exercise seeks to reveal some of the the contested meaning-making processes and rituals electronic musicians (and their listeners) engage in.

First we will acknowledge that contemporary American electronic music is largely dominated by white cis men, appropriating Black electronic music modalities (the origins of disco, house, and techno come to mind). From this observation we will ask the following questions: (1) Where might we locate women within this field? Is or has their presence been obscured? If so, how? (2) Which women are challenging or at least investigating this appropriation? (3) How might more abstract concepts such as co-struggle, techno, Afro-futurism, and Cyborgism (as described by Donna Harroway’s The Cyborg Manifesto) help us explain the popular phenomena of electronic music?

Overall, the goal of Messy Audio Machines is to demystify electronic music processes and inspire folks who may not have previously been exposed to or interested in them. These messy machines are powerful creative tools for both personal expression and political work.

Tania Doles is the managing director and co-founder of ​Audio For All, a small Los Angeles-based musical instrument and audio equipment rental ​house. She oversees ​Audio For All’s mission to increase accessibility to high-quality but often unaffordable music equipment to the LA area, keeping a keen eye towards increasing and encouraging accessibility to audio technology for women, queer, and non-binary folks. She has formerly studied Sociology and Science and Technology Studies (STS). She often evokes and explores places of in-betweenness and multiplicities since she has shown up as a multi-racial half-first generation American.

Kora Colasuonno is a vaguely sentient collection of atoms and newbie web dev who enjoys making music, petting cats, and eating vegan food.