This article develops a linguistic media theory that brings together Peircean materialist indexicality from Barthes, Bazin, Doane, Krauss, and others with linguistic anthropologist Michael Silverstein’s nonreferential (social) indexicality. Following Argentine sound artist Eduardo Costa’s practice with tape recording, the article challenges critical theory to account for the sonic meaning at play in pragmatic (nonsemantic) communication related to gender, race, and diasporic community. More than a mere supplement or limit, material sonic media expand aesthetic representation, and media archaeology opens new possibilities to intervene in language politics.
Real-to-Reel: Social Indexicality, Sonic Materiality, and Literary Media Theory in Eduardo Costa’s Tape Works
Tom McEnaney is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. He is the author of several articles and the forthcoming book Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas (Flashpoints Series, Northwestern University Press, 2017).
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Tom McEnaney; Real-to-Reel: Social Indexicality, Sonic Materiality, and Literary Media Theory in Eduardo Costa’s Tape Works. Representations 1 February 2017; 137 (1): 143–166. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2017.137.1.143
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