End of an ear : listening to Austin, Texas

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2023-12

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End of an Ear: Listening to Austin, Texas ethnographically investigates the urban transformation of Austin, Texas through the experience of sound artists, experimental musicians, and their affiliated networks. Traversing these intimate and fragile associations of performers, bookers, venues, and festivals, this work asks how residents of Austin listen to and perform the experience of vast demographic and material changes that form the crux of a familiar genre of urban discontent. Dialoging with the history of Austin’s “weird” experimental musical culture, the development of DIY artistic scenes, and production of SXSW, this work investigates the aesthetics of contingency through which sonic communities address the city that is shifting under their feet. In so doing, End of an Ear proposes novel approaches for coming to grips with the impact of Austin’s change on sonic communities, such as the “non-phonographic” rupture of field recordings and installations made by local Austin sound artists, and through the production of atmospheric industry by which South by Southwest represents Austin from the view of its industrial present.

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