Jonathan Sterne: The MP3 as Standard Object
"The MP3 as Standard Object: Infrastructure, Software and the Politics of Media Culture"
Monday, October 12
12:30pm Coordinated Science Laboratory, Room B02 (Auditorium)
To be followed by a small group discussion at 1:45pm in CSL 301
Today, more recordings exist in mp3 form than in any other form in the world. What difference does it make? Arguments about sound quality abound in scholarship and the popular press, but much less has been said about the format as itself a cultural phenomenon. This is not entirely accidental, as scholars are more often in the habit of conceiving of technology in terms of hardware “media.” In this lecture, I consider the historical significance of format as a defining feature of recent media history, and argue that the history of the mp3 reveals highlights understudied dimensions of the history of communication technology, such as standards and infrastructures.
Jonathan Sterne teaches in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and the History and Philosophy of Science Program at McGill University. Visit his website at http://sterneworks.org.
- Graduate College
- Coordinated Science Laboratory
- Department of Communication
- Human-Computer Interaction Colloquium Series
- Institute of Communications Research
- Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
- Information in Society Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science