Book Launch - Shellac in Sonic and Visual Culture

dinsdag 21 november 2023 - 15:30

We warmly welcome you to attend a double book launch for:

Shellac in Visual and Sonic Culture by Eloide A. Roy and Radiophilia by Carolyn Birdsall

This double book launch addresses the role of the senses and materiality in two areas: Carolyn Birdsall will present how her new book Radiophilia investigates the “love for radio” across the globe, and spanning 100 years from early wireless to digital media. How has radio’s appeal been shaped by its “look and feel” as well as its sounds? And how have audience/fan attachments to radio been reflected in everyday practices of loving, knowing, sharing, and saving this medium?

Elodie A. Roy will speak about how Shellac in Sonic and Visual Culture treats the long material history of shellac, revealing some of its global stories and trajectories as a material of vision and sound across centuries. What are the hidden histories and forms of labour contained within gramophone discs? How can considering the overlooked “raw” materials of media help us tell different stories about past and contemporary media environments and reflect on our daily engagement with them? During this launch, we will celebrate the release of both books, with moderation by Toni Pape and a response from Natalie Scholz.

Date and Time

Tuesday 21st November 17:30 onwards Spui25 1012 WX Amsterdam


You can book your ticket via Spui's website here.

Attendees can take advantage of a discount on the book, details will be circulated during the event.

About the book

This book charts the unsettled media cultures and deep time of shellac, retracing its journey from the visual to the sonic, and back again. Each chapter unveils a situated moment in the long history of shellac – travelling from its early visual culture to Emile Berliner’s discovery of its auditory properties through to its recycling in contemporary art and design practices. Unforeseen correspondences between artefacts as diverse as mirrors, seals, gramophone discs and bombs are revealed. With its combinatory approach and commitment to material thinking, Shellac in Visual and Sonic Culture insists on moments of contact, encounter, and transformation. The book notably addresses the colonial unconscious underpinning the early transnational recording industry, highlighting the multiple gestures and forms of labour entombed within the production of the 78rpm disc. Roy explores shellac as a concrete substance, as well as the malleable stuff of which stories, histories and modern imaginings were made – and unmade.

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