Virginia Konchan

Digital Music Revolution: Cacophony, Sound, and (the Bestowal and Withholding of) Pleasure

by Virginia Konchan

One must soberly ask, in light of the enthusiastic rhetoric that surrounds new forms of postmodern audience participation: are these forms of “agency” designed to empower the listener, creatively or critically, or merely offer the simulated (“technical”) illusion thereof? The mimetic replication of urban and post-industrial noises reinscribes the very determinisms that all art forms both inherit and strive to overcome, and while on a neurological level the ear enjoys assimilating unfamiliar sounds, and harsh noises generated from dissonance, punk, heavy metal or electronic music, can induce an “unpleasing” cerebral pleasure, the sustained withholding of aural pleasure from the listener may be the last insidiously lingering form of 21st century authoritarian “control” of all.

Urban Poetics: A Call from (and to) the Wild

by Virginia Konchan

“Urban poetics” takes place at the ripped seam of these intersecting discourses of inside/outside, self/other, “objective”/”subjective” realities, which adhere on the level of individual cognition, spatial orientation, sensation, and judgment, and therefore can’t be codified or defined. It can, however, be reintroduced into poetic discourse, as a bridge to begin the work of looking “outward,” in terms of praxis or politics, rather than just “inward,” in terms of theory and aesthetics, again.

Annus Mirabilis

by Virginia Konchan

Emily Dickinson, autodidact par excellence, wrote a whopping 360 poems in 1862, in a small bedroom in Amherst, MA, in a home owned and inhabited by her father: it’s good to remember, in other words, that both organisms and people can thrive under inhospitable conditions.

Synthetic Happiness

by Virgina Konchan

What is the most perfect metaphor for synthetic happiness, which Gilbert argues is virtually indistinguishable from natural happiness, both as it is felt (internalized) and shared? Fake bacon? 3-D movies? Any form of cultural simulacra, in the Baudrillardian sense of the term?