Agnès Gayraud

Agnès Gayraud is a French musician and philosopher born in 1979. She teaches theory at the Villa Arson (National Art School) in Nice. She has gained critical acclaim for her musical practice (as La Féline) and is a regular writer for the daily paper Libération.

  • Dialectic of Pop

    Dialectic of Pop

    Agnès Gayraud

    A philosophical exploration of pop music that reveals a rich, self-reflexive art form with unsuspected depths.

    In the first major philosophical treatise on the subject, Agnès Gayraud explores all the paradoxes of pop—its inauthentic authenticity, its mass production of emotion and personal resonance, its repetitive novelty, its precision engineering of seduction—and calls for pop (in its broadest sense, encompassing all genres of popular recorded music) to be recognized as a modern, technologically mediated art form to rank alongside cinema and photography.

    In a thoroughgoing engagement with Adorno's fierce critique of "standardized light popular music," Dialectic of Pop tracks the transformations of the pop form and its audience over the course of the twentieth century, from Hillbilly to Beyoncé, from Lead Belly to Drake.

    Inseparable from the materiality of its technical media, indifferent and intractable to the perspectives of high culture, pop subverts notions of authenticity and inauthenticity, original and copy, aura and commodity, medium and message. Gayraud demonstrates that, far from being the artless and trivial mass-produced pabulum denigrated by Adorno, pop is a rich, self-reflexive artform that recognises its own contradictions, incorporates its own productive negativity, and often flourishes by thinking "against itself."

    Dialectic of Pop sings the praises of pop as a constitutively impure form resulting from the encounter between industrial production and the human predilection for song, and diagnoses the prospects for twenty-first century pop as it continues to adapt to ever-changing technological mediations.

    • Paperback $29.95 £25.00

Contributor

  • AUDINT—Unsound:Undead

    AUDINT—Unsound:Undead

    Steve Goodman, Toby Heys, and Eleni Ikoniadou

    Tracing the the potential of sound, infrasound, and ultrasound to access anomalous zones of transmission between the realms of the living and the dead.

    For as long as recording and communications technologies have existed, operators have evoked the potential of sound, infrasound, and ultrasound to access anomalous zones of transmission between the realms of the living and the dead. In Unsound:Undead, contributors from a variety of disciplines chart these undead zones, mapping out a nonlinear timeline populated by sonic events stretching from the 8th century BC (the song of the Sirens), to 2013 (acoustic levitation), with a speculative extension into 2057 (the emergence of holographic and holosonic phenomena).

    For the past seven years the AUDINT group has been researching peripheral sonic perception (unsound) and the ways in which frequencies are utilized to modulate our understanding of presence/non-presence, entertainment/torture, and ultimately life/death. Concurrently, themes of hauntology have inflected the musical zeitgeist, resonating with the notion of a general cultural malaise and a reinvestment in traces of lost futures inhabiting the present.

    This undead culture has already spawned a Lazarus economy in which Tupac, ODB, and Eazy-E are digitally revivified as laser-lit holograms. The obscure otherworldly dimensions of sound have also been explored in the sonic fictions produced by the likes of Drexciya, Sun Ra, and Underground Resistance, where hauntology is virtually extended: the future appears in the cracks of the present.

    The contributions to this volume reveal how the sonic nurtures new dimensions in which the real and the imagined (fictional, hyperstitional, speculative) bleed into one another, where actual sonic events collide with spatiotemporal anomalies and time-travelling entities, and where the unsound serves to summon the undead.

    Contributors Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lendl Barcelos, Charlie Blake, Lisa Blanning, Brooker Buckingham, Al Cameron, Erik Davis, Kodwo Eshun, Matthew Fuller, Kristen Gallerneaux, Lee Gamble, Agnès Gayraud, Steve Goodman, Anna Greenspan, Olga Gurionova, S. Ayesha Hameed, Tim Hecker, Julian Henriques, Toby Heys, Eleni Ikoniadou, Amy Ireland, Nicola Masciandaro, Ramona Naddaff, Anthony Nine, The Occulture, Luciana Parisi, Alina Popa, Paul Purgas, Georgina Rochefort, Steven Shaviro, Jonathan Sterne, Jenna Sutela, Eugene Thacker, Dave Tompkins, Shelley Trower, and Souzana Zamfe.

    • Paperback $24.95 £20.00