The Sound of Skinny Jeans

Tomorrow I’ll be joining the fine folks from the Music and Sound Studies Colloquium Series at the University of Minnesota to talk about the synaesthetic publics addressing each other via skinny jeans, electronic dance beats, and wonky shuffle steps. I’m pasting the title and abstract below. As you can see, I’m flogging some familiar, but hardly dead, horses: social media practices and aesthetics, public spheres in a networked age, and platform politricks (and, yes, I still have a mega-blogpost in the pipeline that examines the latter in some detail), especially as illuminated by youthful YouTubey dance exchanges. The event is open to the public, so if you’re in the Twin Cities and want to join us, click here for deets —

The Sound of Skinny Jeans: New Media, Networked Publics, and Affective Labor

In recent years, the rise of so-called social media has been propelled rather remarkably by the music-centered affective labor of young people. Using corporate hosted social-networking platforms like MySpace, YouTube, imeem, and Fotolog, teenagers in such far-flung cities as Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Paris, and Melbourne have shared photos, music, text, and video (especially of dance) with their local and networked peers and, inevitably, with the wider world. In the process, these everyday acts of publication and recirculation, enabled by the radical reconfigurability of digital artifacts, have facilitated the emergence of vibrant, youthful counterpublics. The conspicuous presence of day-glo colors and skinny jeans across these disparate if loosely connected scenes offers a synaesthetic way to hear how sound and image intermingle in the brave new worlds of network culture.