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Daniel Gilfillan: Of Parrots, Behaviors, and Moods - Listening Before, Beyond, and Alongside the Human
WhenThursday, May 3, 2018, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room120
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsCenter for Digital Arts & Experimental Media (DXARTS) and the Simpson Center for the Humanities

Sound tinges human awareness of the world, at once pitching us into the intensity of a moment, while at the same time attuning us to our surroundings across a more sustained period of time. Yet the modality of sound also discloses a range of sonic productions that exist before, beyond, and alongside human experience. This talk examines sound-based examples that imagine acoustic realms where human voice and human noise reside solely as players within a larger phenomenology or ecosystem of communication. In particular, it focuses on a series of sound installations known as metamusic by the Austrian artist collective alien productions and their development of musical instruments for a group of rescued African grey parrots. In the long durational encounter between humans and parrots, the installation series makes inquiries about what it means to be human, and what it means to be animal.

Daniel Gilfillan is Associate Professor of German Studies at Arizona State University, Senior Sustainability Scholar in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and Faculty Affiliate in Film and Media Studies, Jewish Studies, and English. His primary area of research engages the relationships between sound, media, and the perception of experience. Gilfillan has published widely on German and Austrian radio and sound art, and on the history of the radio in Germany as an experimental art medium (Pieces of Sound: German Experimental Radio, Minnesota, 2009). He is currently working on a book Sound in the Anthropocene: Sustainability and the Art of Sound. This new book explores the role and centrality of sound for understanding the complex interconnections within sustainability practice and the equally complex interactions between humans and other ecosystem populations (animals, landscapes, geologies, and atmospheres)

Reception to follow.

Organized by the Anthropocene crossdisciplinary research cluster of the Simpson Center for the Humanities. Gilfillan will also lead a brown-bag seminar on Friday, May 24, at 12 pm in Communications 202. To participate, contact organizers Jason Groves ( or Jesse Oak Taylor (

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