This article addresses Music for Universities, a bespoke musical instrument assembled from 12 iPods and the MP3 audio format. I seek to interrogate the allure of these obsolescent audio technologies and explore what their reappropriation within a media archaeology might reveal about the listening subject positions coded into the MP3, and the drive towards private and individual listening experience that the iPod enacts. Applying Jacques Derrida's concept of hauntology, I explore the potential of Music for Universities as a transformative critical art. Hauntology's aestheticization of imperfection and redundancy is generative here because it works to productively resist the allure of obsolescence.
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Hugo Boothby is a PhD Candidate within Media and Communication Studies at Malmö University, Sweden. His work is in the field of sound studies and addresses the significance of audio technologies within the politics of listening.
Citation: Hugo Boothby, "Music for Universities: Composing with MP3 and iPod," Artifact & Apparatus: Journal of Media Archaeology 1 (Fall 2021): 1–21.