Universität Wien FIND

160062 VO Screen Culture (2020W)


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: English

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

UPDATE: Due to the large number of students registered to take this class, the first lecture on 7 October will take place ONLINE.

Wednesday 07.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 14.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 21.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 28.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 1 Musikwissenschaft UniCampus Hof 9, 3G-EG-09
Wednesday 04.11. 09:15 - 10:45 Digital
Wednesday 11.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 18.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 25.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 02.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 09.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 16.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 13.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 20.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Contemporary networked digital technology has given rise to host of new relationships between sound and image, new audio and audiovisual genres that exploit them, and new ways of producing, circulating and consuming this content. The dizzying audio and audiovisual archive, accessible via a host of dynamic, proliferating, networked platforms and technologies, has meant that ever more people are participating in content creation and distribution in the form of remixes, mash ups, fan vids, and file sharing. This course aims to introduce students to some of the exciting and innovative interdisciplinary approaches and modes of analysis that scholars and practitioners have been directing towards these emerging musical and audiovisual practices.
The course will cover a selection of aesthetic, technological, socioeconomic, ethnographic, and empirical approaches to music in contemporary digital and multimedia contexts. We will strike a balance between a discussion of concrete issues illustrated with particular examples, on the one hand, and broader theoretical and practical contexts for the cases, on the other.

We will pose a number of critical questions about new media and social problems. To what extent does participation in media ecologies hold people back from participating in the actual world or encourage them to continue destructive and dangerous consumptive practices? To what extent does digital connection mean less meaningful real-world connection? We will see that it is lazy to blame the technology itself, much less the supposedly degenerate, apathetic youth that consumes it. Instead we will follow the scholars who have made the effort to investigate the roles of public policy, politics, transnational corporations in disseminating the values that leave our youth feeling disempowered and alienated. And the stakes are high: it is only by understanding how social, economic and commercial pressures shape digital music practices that its potential for genuine unruliness, access and participation can be fully harnessed.

Assessment and permitted materials

By the end of the course, students will:
• understand the multiple ways in which sound and music are used across a range of digital media,
• understand the relationship between new media and technological, psychological, social, political and economic realities,
• have at their disposal a number of theoretical tools that allow for more precise description and discussion of digital sound and its relationship to its cultural context,
• appreciate the contours of the academic and wider debates surrounding new media, particularlyas they relate to music and sound, and be able to reflect critically on these issues.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

There are no special requirements to take this course.

The course will be assessed via a 1.5 hour exam consisting of short questions to test understanding of the lectures (50%) and a medium sized essay on a topic of the student's own choosing that tests the critical skills taught in the course (50%).

UPDATE: Due to the pandemic measures, the course will be assessed by essay alone, which should be submitted online via Moodle a few days after the examination date.

Examination topics

Topics will include:
1. Interactions between popular music and multimedia in live performance,
2. Sound and music on websites,
3. Electronic music, electroacoustic/acousmatic music, sound art,
4. Evolution of old media like serial television, immersive video games, and postclassical cinema,
5. Digital animation,
6. Music videos,
7. Technologies of production and reproduction,
8. Haptic, interactive, and immersive modalities,
9. The role of music and digital technologies in shaping the lives of young people, and
10. How consumers appropriate the technology for their own purposes.

Each lecture will focus on a theoretical approach to the topic taken from the following:
1. Audiovisual interrelations (relationship between sound and vision, acousmatics, diegesis),
2. Beyond audiovisuality (involvement of other senses – touch, taste, smell, movement),
3. Narrativity, semiotics and stylistic conventions,
4. Sound design,
5. Intertextuality,
6. Intermediality,
7. Technology (technological convergence vs unruliness),
8. Space and place,
9. Temporality and Synchronization,
10. Aestheticism or affect as resistance,
11. Embodiment,
12. War,
13. Economic factors,
14. Interactivity and immersion,
15. The voice,
16. Soundtrack elements,
17. Audiovisual ecology,
18. Cultural identity, affiliation, and spectatorship,
19. Daily life,
20. Performance.

Reading list

Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog & John Richardson (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media (Oxford: OUP, 2013).
John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman, Carol Vernallis (eds), The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics (Oxford: OUP, 2013).
Jamie Sexton, (ed.), Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007).

Association in the course directory

MA: M01, M02, M03, M04, M05, M10, M11, M16

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:19