This event has ended. Visit the official site or create your own event on Sched.

Ashon Crawley

Ashon Crawley is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside. His research and teaching experiences are in the areas of Black Studies, Performance Theory and Sound Studies, Philosophy and Theology, and Black Feminist and Queer theories. His first book project, Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility, which investigates aesthetics and performance as modes of collective, social imaginings otherwise, will be published with Fordham University Press in 2016.​

Neutrinos pass through matter. Such passing is made without seeming to be detected. Roughly one hundred trillion neutrinos pass through the flesh, through earth, each second of each moment. Passing through us yet not typically the stuff, the material, of thought. What does it mean for information to pass in and through us? Perhaps we need otherwise sensual registers, those that have yet to be discovered. And perhaps there are otherwise worlds that are open and available, that make use of such supposedly undetected matter, undetected sound. This paper is an attempt to think quantum physics with relation to sound, to think the resonance. Listening in on the Blackpentecostal sonic tradition—particularly to the use of the Hammond B-3 organ—will provide a case study for thinking together the concepts of seeming undetected matter.

Blackpentecostal believers often talk about “feeling something,” where something cannot necessarily be described with precision. What if what is being felt, what is being registered on and in the flesh, is the resonance of matter, dark matter, neutrinos, vibrations that digital technologies consider unnecessary for world making? The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota makes use of technology—the Large Underground Xenon detector—deep underground to gather information about dark matter. The LUX detector is considered by some to be the “quietest place in the universe,” and such quiet allows for detection of dark matter like neutrinos. Quiet is a disposition of intensity and waiting not unlike that of Blackpentecostal worship practices of intense stillness, intense tarrying, waiting the move of the Spirit. And after such registering of something is a bursting forth from the flesh moments of praise, sometimes loud. So the sound, the vibrations, the voice of the Hammond B-3 organ begins and ends and moves through the Blackpentecostal church service. Our task is to think with it, to listen to it, to think how the instrument’s usage is a way to think our relation to the mysterious beyond of the universe, its movement, its vibration, its sound.

“Throwing Voices” 
Throwing the voice is a ventriloquist’s trick. Cast it off and it comes back strange, remade, another’s. This panel will collectively propose that this is in fact the condition of all voices.  Voices are not singular, essential, and unitary but are shot through with the voice of the other, from the ones that schooled it to the ones that surround, mediate, and remake it.  Voices are blood and guts made machine, instrumentalized matter suffused with other voices and other states and structures of being.  We investigate some of these, from cross-racial ventriloquism to Black Pentacostal resonances to healing erotic raptures to ventriloquial reverberations of fictional voice. Hilarie Ashton reads the liminal sonic grammar of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” particularly in its recent iteration as an acoustic tribute to victims of the Paris terror attacks, as a rapturous playing with power and authority in several registers, affirming camp and sexual innuendo as part of its healing power.  Ashon Crawley attends to the Black Pentacostal intensities of the Hammond B-3 organ as it resonates otherwise, activating vibrations of spirit, breath, and voice that verge on the mysterious beyond of undetected worlds. Joon Oluchi Lee contrapuntally explores the novelistic voice of Mary Gaitskill and the pop musical voice as she deploys it in order to think about her ventriloquizing of pop as a sort of fictional reverb.  Eric Lott takes up the racialized ventriloquism of the Black backup singer, who enables the white male lead singer’s voice by throwing it off, breaking and entering it, thereby producing its truth. In one way or another these presentations see the pop voice as supplement of the other—other states, cultural others, other machines.

Twitter Feed