Amy Cimini

TITLE: Maryanne Amacher’s Living Sound

ABSTRACT: This talk is about Maryanne Amacher’s (1939-2009) sound installation “Living Sound: Patent Pending” (1980). This talk develops a thick account of Amacher’s thunderous playback and intermedial mise en scène to suggest a complex auditory rendering of the juridical protocols whereby laboratory-created life forms were determined to be patentable in the landmark case Diamond v Chakrabarty (1980) after which the installation was named. Using a number of audio, visual and spatial strategies, Amacher’s work conjures major episodes in the governance of life in the 1970s and 1980s U.S. to explore how sound might be made to seem as though it were alive. “Living Sound” finds Amacher concerned with how this “life” might be materialized in the juridical, intensified in the laboratory, and supervivified on the market as commercial value.

BIO: Amy Cimini is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of California San Diego. She is happy to be finishing her first book Wild Sound: Maryanne Amacher and the Tenses of Audible Life (forthcoming with Oxford University Press). As a violist, she plays with improvising duo Architeuthis Walks on Land with bassoonist and composer Katherine Young as well as Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra. She’s working on a solo album for San Diego-based label Bedclub Records.

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