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Static in the System : Noise and the Soundscape of American Cinema Culture, Hardback Book

Static in the System : Noise and the Soundscape of American Cinema Culture Hardback

Part of the California Studies in Music, Sound, and Media series


In this rich study of noise in American film-going culture, Meredith C.

Ward shows how aurality can reveal important fissures in American motion picture history, enabling certain types of listening cultures to form across time.

Connecting this history of noise in the cinema to a greater sonic culture, Static in the System shows how cinema sound was networked into a broader constellation of factors that affected social power, gender, sexuality, class, the built environment, and industry, and how these factors in turn came to fruition in cinema's soundscape.

Focusing on theories of power as they manifest in noise, the history of noise in electro-acoustics with the coming of film sound, architectural acoustics as they were manipulated in cinema theaters, and the role of the urban environment in affecting mobile listening and the avoidance of noise, Ward analyzes the powerful relationship between aural cultural history and cinema's sound theory, proving that noise can become a powerful historiographic tool for the film historian.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 256 pages, 17 b-w illus.
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Film theory & criticism
  • ISBN: 9780520299474

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