Welcome to the glitch and make some noise: Understanding media through audio hacking

Journal of Music, Technology & EducationVolume 15, Issue Exploring Audio and Music Technology in Education: Pedagogical, Research and Sociocultural Perspectives, Apr 2023, p. 7 – 26

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/jmte_00043_1

This paper describes the experimental examination of various audio devices and their storage media, such as the radio, the tape recorder and the CD player, in the context of interdisciplinary university courses in arts and humanities, particularly cultural studies, with a focus on music production, sound studies and audio culture. Glitches and intrinsic noises become perceptible as aesthetic material by means of hacking and modifying audio technology failures. Following Marshall McLuhan’s concept of media, it is clear that the audio technology itself, not just the transmitted content of a piece of music or radio programme, is the message. Examples of diverse aesthetic strategies that account for various artists‘ positions are presented in detail. These strategies have been the subject of a seminar that has been held several times at two different universities in Germany, addressing interdisciplinary groups of students. Unconventional, hands-on approaches to the different media devices have been evaluated positively by the participants.