about

Tara Rodgers at Stamp Gallery, 2012

Some interests…

  • Lines and shapes and movement and dimension in and with sound
  • Making generative compositions with the programming environment SuperCollider
  • Combining or translating between audio and visual mediums to reveal something about one or the other or both
  • How sounds can signify the dynamism and ephemerality of forms of life
  • Arranging and producing music with analog synthesizers, drum machines, and effects
  • The variable “character” and sound quality of specific instruments and studio tools
  • Recording improvisations on piano, keyboard instruments, electric guitar and bass, and composing with those recorded sounds
  • Finding where improvised and algorithmic structures connect — or do they?
  • Critiquing gendered discourses and performances in audio-technical cultures
  • Education using sound and music technologies for social change

Statement

My work investigates what sound reveals about personal and cultural histories. I am interested in how people use audio technologies creatively to express identities and form communities. Over many years, I have advocated for women and girls to have access to resources for producing music and to be recognized fully as sound and audio-technical creators.

Lately, I am researching how scientific knowledge in the West since the nineteenth century has come to inhabit the forms of synthesizers and the language used to describe electronic sounds. I am curious how the aesthetic qualities of electronic sounds carry cultural meanings and ideas about social difference. Often, my research questions emerge from fundamental questions I encounter while making music: Whose lives and priorities are foregrounded in electronic music cultures, whose are backgrounded or marginalized, and why? What are the histories behind those familiar waveform icons on a synthesizer interface and the common terms in acoustics textbooks?

I think of my compositions, performances, writings, teaching, and public lectures as complementary pieces of an ongoing art and research project that explores sound and sonic meanings from many angles. My publications take various forms, including ethnography, history, music criticism, curation, artist statements, and interviews. Likewise, as a musician and composer, I rove among multiple instruments, music production tools, and genres. Because I learned to play music by ear, and tinkered with audio technologies and computers from a young age, I have long been interested in the knowledge that emerges from working with sound creatively.

So, if you listen to some of my music and read some of my writings alongside it, you may find resonant themes: explorations of the characters of various analog instruments, of individual sounds in relation to complex technical or musical systems, and of synthesized sounds as signifiers of the ephemerality of environments and forms of life. I remain captivated by what about sound and audio cultures is to be critiqued, and what in all of it can inspire better worlds.

Bio

Tara Rodgers (Analog Tara) is a composer, historian and critic of electronic music, originally from upstate New York and now based in the Washington, DC area. She earned an MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media at Mills College and a PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University. Her work has been presented at the Tate Modern (London), the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto), Eyebeam (NYC), on the Le Tigre Remix album, and in many other forums. She is the author of numerous essays on music, technology, and culture, and of Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound (Duke University Press, 2010), a collection of interviews that received the 2011 Pauline Alderman Book Award from the International Alliance for Women in Music; her work has been translated into three languages and reviewed around the world. She has taught at Dartmouth College, the University of Maryland, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and has served on the editorial boards of Leonardo Music Journal and Women & Music.

CV

[PDF] – last updated 12/2015

Contact: analogtara {at} gmail {dot} com.

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