John Mowitt is Professor in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and holds the Leadership Chair in the Critical Humanities at the University of Leeds. His two most recent books have both appeared from the University of California Press: Radio: Essays in Bad Reception (2011) and Sounds: the Ambient Humanities (2015). He is also a senior editor of the academic journal Cultural Critique.
Authors | John Mowitt
Articles on Amodern by John Mowitt
André Hodeir and the Music Essay
Illegibility would appear to restrict its practical and theoretical challenges to objects typically approached through the work of reading, for example, texts. But with the expansion of textuality since the 1960s the challenge of illegibility has likewise intensified. This study of the “music essay” of André Hodeir responds by attempting to think carefully about what is legible in the essay: a life, an encounter between a person and a public, the technical mediation of this encounter? Drawing on Gilbert Simondon’s concept of the “technical object,” especially as it bears on the passage of the essay from image (print) to sound (phonography), this study brings the concept of improvisation into intimate contact with a generically illegible account of the essay form.