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Earth Sound Earth SignalEnergies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts$
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Douglas Kahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257801

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257801.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022



(p.1) Introduction
Earth Sound Earth Signal

Douglas Kahn

University of California Press

The historical scope, topical focuses, theoretical positions, and structure of the book are introduced. Natural radio and its early reception on telephone lines serve as means to discuss the relationship between nature and communications. The motivation of the book is described as an attempt to understand specific instances of experimental music and art that incorporate natural radio, require reconceiving several basic historical presumptions, and, in turn, redress larger questions about energy and earth magnitude in the arts and media. The sound and signal in the book’s title are related to the physical classes of mechanical (acoustics/sound) and electromagnetic energy, with emphasis given to the concept of lived electromagnetism played out over locations on the electromagnetic spectrum from telegraphy to nuclear weaponry. Finally, positions are delineated with respect to the term nature, the Aelectrosonic as the electromagnetic equivalent of the Aeolian, ecological analyses of green media, inscriptive versus transmissional media technologies, the concept of variable technology, and the historical media theory of Friedrich Kittler.

Keywords:   natural radio, telephone history, electromagnetic spectrum, experimental music, Aeolian, Aelectrosonic, media theory, media history, media ecology, green media, Friedrich Kittler

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