IIPC Debate #88
Fri Nov 18, 2-4 pm, Janus Hall (Kaivokatu 12, Turku)
Professor Robynn Stilwell (Georgetown University): Ernie Kovacs: Defining Television in Negative Space
Ernie Kovacs was a pioneering figure in early television in the United States. His work across different networks and formats is united by its witty and often surreal use of displaced sound and image, and by its musical organization. Kovacs himself declared the purpose of his work “to bring sight to sound.” By transgressing sound borders familiar from the theatre or cinema, and by disorienting cause and effect, Kovacs fostered the development of a new mode of audiovisual presentation (television) essentially by charting out negative space.
As much of Kovacs’s work is antithetical to analysis seeking wholeness, this talk will explore variants of Peircean semiotics alongside musical analysis and perhaps a dash of quantum mechanics in an attempt to capture aspects of motion and probability that suggest coherence, if not closure.
Robynn Stilwell (Georgetown University) is a musicologist whose research interests center on the meaning of music as cultural work. Publications include essays on Beethoven and cinematic violence, musical form in Jane Austen, rockabilly and “white trash”, figure skating, French film musicals, psychoanalytic film theory and its implications for music and for female subjects, and the boundaries between sound and music in the cinematic soundscape. Her current project is a historical study of audiovisual modality in television.