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Taylor H Black

Assistant Professor of English
English
Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708
401 Allen Building, Durham, NC 27708

Selected Presentations & Appearances


Karaoke and Ventriloquism Across Media and Performance · October 17, 2018 - October 20, 2018 Instructional Course, Workshop, or Symposium Assocaiton for the Study of the Arts of the Present, New Orleans, LA

Our proposed public seminar explores the conflations and contestations of the terms “karaoke” and “ventriloquism” in contemporary art and media practices. Both terms conjure negative associations with derivation and manipulation. Though voice presents itself as the most basic and fundamental connection between these two concepts and practices, we are also invested in exploring karaoke and ventriloquism as sound technologies and cultural metaphors, as well as technologies of power, racialization, and sexualization. Ventriloquism, for all its associations with archaism and mysticism in certain historical contexts, is also depicted as a technology and technique of deception, statecraft, and power. Meanwhile, karaoke, for all its associations with the expressive and participatory potential of amateur vocalization, is also, crucially, a technological apparatus, whose media archaeology bears the traces of intercolonial conflicts, negotiations, and aftermaths. Our seminar will also explore the ways these sound technologies and techniques have been harnessed as broader cultural metaphors for judgments at once moral and aesthetic, and thus become fruitful entry points for exploring critical, intellectual, and affective methodologies that might challenge the presuppositions that come with ventriloquism and karaoke.

We will pay particular attention to how these terms specifically map onto racialized, queer, and trans bodies. As an anachronistic, yet surprisingly pervasive, performance practice, ventriloquism is often metaphorized to describe a scenario of artful deception in which a white puppetmaster manipulates the unruly bodies and voices of so-called “asynchronous” subjects. Karaoke, meanwhile, carries the mark of “foreignness” and exoticism, bearing the (post)colonial burden of naming a form of failed, “slavish” mimicry that cannot attain the status of “the original.”

The Butch Throat - Popular Music Conference · April 2018 International Meeting or Conference Museum of Popular Culture, Seattle, WA
The Last Radio is Playing: Dylan, Style and the End of Time - Americanist Speaker Series · February 2018 Lecture Duke/UNC,
Time Out of Mind: Style and the Art of Becoming - Feminist Conversations Series · November 2014 Lecture Center for Feminist Research, University of Southern California
Time Out of Mind: Flannery O'Connor and the Sacred Practices of Style - Flannery O'Connor and the Mystery of Place · July 2014 Invited Talk All Hall College, Dublin, Ireland
Karaoke and Ventriloquism Across Media and Performance · October 17, 2018 - October 20, 2018 Instructional Course, Workshop, or Symposium Assocaiton for the Study of the Arts of the Present, New Orleans, LA

Our proposed public seminar explores the conflations and contestations of the terms “karaoke” and “ventriloquism” in contemporary art and media practices. Both terms conjure negative associations with derivation and manipulation. Though voice presents itself as the most basic and fundamental connection between these two concepts and practices, we are also invested in exploring karaoke and ventriloquism as sound technologies and cultural metaphors, as well as technologies of power, racialization, and sexualization. Ventriloquism, for all its associations with archaism and mysticism in certain historical contexts, is also depicted as a technology and technique of deception, statecraft, and power. Meanwhile, karaoke, for all its associations with the expressive and participatory potential of amateur vocalization, is also, crucially, a technological apparatus, whose media archaeology bears the traces of intercolonial conflicts, negotiations, and aftermaths. Our seminar will also explore the ways these sound technologies and techniques have been harnessed as broader cultural metaphors for judgments at once moral and aesthetic, and thus become fruitful entry points for exploring critical, intellectual, and affective methodologies that might challenge the presuppositions that come with ventriloquism and karaoke.

We will pay particular attention to how these terms specifically map onto racialized, queer, and trans bodies. As an anachronistic, yet surprisingly pervasive, performance practice, ventriloquism is often metaphorized to describe a scenario of artful deception in which a white puppetmaster manipulates the unruly bodies and voices of so-called “asynchronous” subjects. Karaoke, meanwhile, carries the mark of “foreignness” and exoticism, bearing the (post)colonial burden of naming a form of failed, “slavish” mimicry that cannot attain the status of “the original.”

The Butch Throat - Popular Music Conference · April 2018 International Meeting or Conference Museum of Popular Culture, Seattle, WA
The Last Radio is Playing: Dylan, Style and the End of Time - Americanist Speaker Series · February 2018 Lecture Duke/UNC,
Time Out of Mind: Style and the Art of Becoming - Feminist Conversations Series · November 2014 Lecture Center for Feminist Research, University of Southern California
Time Out of Mind: Flannery O'Connor and the Sacred Practices of Style - Flannery O'Connor and the Mystery of Place · July 2014 Invited Talk All Hall College, Dublin, Ireland
Busy Being Born: Bob Dylan and he Art of Becoming - EMP: 2014 Pop Conference · April 2014 Invited Talk Seattle, WA
Remembering Quentin Crisp · June 2013 Lecture Museum of Art and Design, New York
Songs of Transfiguration by Lucinda Williams and Bob Dylan · September 2012 Lecture Listening Party, the Popular Music Project, University of Southern California
Babelogue: A Queer Benediction - Forms of Life Conference · March 2012 Invited Talk Binghamton University,
A Hopeless Case: Quentin Crisp and the Art of Professional Failure · March 2012 Invited Talk Cultural Studies Association Conference, UC San Diego
The Peacock Manifesto - Masculine Identifications Conference · July 2010 Invited Talk University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Panel of Queer Theory and the Questioon of Public Scholarships - Special Women and Gender Studies Symposium · October 2009 Other Rutgers-Newark
Dead Zones: A West Village Obituary - American Studies Institute · 2009 Invited Talk Dartmounth University,
Perverted Justice: The War on Sex Predators - Queer CUNY Conference · 2007 Invited Talk CUNY,