Feminist Frequencies is a site that, with each additional page and post, addresses the question of how socio-political differences and lived experiences of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity may be perceived to manifest in the making of sound arts and experimental musics with a specific focus upon works made by women. Drawing upon compositions, installations and artist-archives including works by Lina Džuverovic, Anne Hilde Neset, Cathy Lane, Emma Hedditch, Sonia Boyce, Kim Gordon and Jutta Koether, Feminist Frequencies considers the different ways in which the category of “woman” has been historically silenced, erased, ignored and disqualified from and misrepresented within dominant historical sound and music histories. What representations of “woman” might have materialised within this relational paradigm that “privileges the perspective of an archetypal Western, white, and male subject” as the universal subject of sound (Rodgers 2010b, v)? In particular noise and silence will be addressed as the assumed polar limits of sound arts and experimental musics combined with a reconsideration of the fundamental parameters of pitch, timbre and amplitude as sound’s dominant laws, norms and conventions. This growing analysis, based upon the ways in which these artists have in turn used and critiqued historically dominant representations through their aesthetic practices, aims to demonstrate the ways in which these artists have challenged, resisted or transformed sound art and experimental music practices in the historical present.
In this way, Feminist Frequencies aims to contribute new insights within the emerging field of feminist sound studies by connecting social and aesthetic processes in contemporary sound arts and experimental music practices within a discourse of feminist composition. Such a discourse seeks to contribute to the materialisation of alternative sound and music economies through the subtle calibration of compositional strategies that seek to displace dominant compositional processes intent upon regulating the noise of the social as a field of normalisation for the reproduction of the individual, self-sovereign and universally masculine subject of sound. Ultimately, what Feminist Frequencies intends to explore are ways in which to experience feminist composition as a social event.
In this complicated scene of academic/activist feminist politics we are faced with an impossible and crucial task of constructing a comparative notation of women’s, and of feminism’s, “minority.” The scale such a project demands will inevitably involve struggles to redefine the terms and frames of knowledge, expertise, and praxis. In the process, we must be committed to producing risky theories/fantasies-and failing.