Medium Rotation

Medium Rotation presents conversations and sonic experiences that probe the conditions (and counter the received ideas) of our time, among other times. Each season of the podcast is animated by the concerns of an issue of the magazine, which are addressed by artists, writers, and scholars. The first season, Omniaudience, asks how we understand ourselves and others through listening—and what the obstacles to listening reveal about our society. Omniaudience also testifies to the power we exercise as listeners to act in concert with each other, and to amplify voices that might not otherwise be heard.

The first season of Medium Rotation is hosted by Alexander Provan, Triple Canopy’s editor, and Nikita Gale, an artist and longtime collaborator. They speak with—and present compositions, monologues, and oral histories by—Harmony Holiday, Derica Shields, Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, and Tashi Wada. The six episodes ask: How do musical genres reinforce segregation? How is freedom conflated with speech? How are performers silenced or raised from the dead (and turned into intellectual property)? How does the demand to be heard manifest in song and protest, supercharged subwoofers and property violence?

Series Titles

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    PublisherTriple Canopy2021
    Nikita Gale and Alexander Provan ask who we are—and what we can do—as listeners, members of an audience, and bodies in concert (or in conflict). They introduce the podcast by speaking about the revelation of arena concerts, the performance of listening by CEOs and self-help gurus, and how the demand to be heard manifests in protest and property violence. And they listen to MC Hammer, Van Halen, Pauline Oliveros, Kimberly Jones, and the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.
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    PublisherTriple Canopy2021
    Nikita Gale and Alexander Provan are joined by Harmony Holiday, a writer, archivist, and dancer who lives in Los Angeles. Holiday, whose essay “The Black Catatonic Scream” was published by Triple Canopy last year, speaks about Black performers whose songs and struggles reflect the ongoing trauma of the “African holocaust.” She links the history of Black music—and instances of performers becoming silent or speechless—to the legacy of enslavement and segregation, when Black people “were smiling and dancing to not get killed.” With Gale and Provan, she discusses the pressure to pander to white audiences as well as the impulse to ...
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    PublisherTriple Canopy2021
    Nikita Gale and Alexander Provan are joined by Derica Shields, a writer, researcher, and cultural worker living in London. She speaks about her book-length oral history of Black experiences of the welfare state, “A Heavy Nonpresence,” and the value of listening to Black peoples’ accounts and analyses of their own lives. Shields reflects on her effort to share the stories of Black people who are mistreated and monitored by the state, while also being made to feel that they should be grateful for receiving the assistance to which they’re entitled. Her work shows how, in Britain, liberal nostalgia for the ...
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    PublisherTriple Canopy2021
    Nikita Gale and Alexander Provan are joined by Tashi Wada, a Los Angeles-based composer and performer. Wada presents Table of Visions, a composition for a “high-resolution player piano” commissioned by Triple Canopy, and asks how we discern between human expression and technical perfection, how we listen to virtuosos and machines. With Gale and Provan, Wada discusses the pandemic-era vogue for liveness at home, technologies that claim to capture the souls of performers, and music that prompts listeners to discern between the sounds of machines and humans. They listen to Conlon Nancarrow, Glenn Gould, Perry Como, advertisements for hi-fi systems, the ...
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    PublisherTriple Canopy2021
    Nikita Gale and Alexander Provan are joined by Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, an artist, composer, and performer living in New York City. He speaks about bass as a way to repulse people or bring them together, cause aggravation or collective pleasure. He recounts moments in his life when bass, emanating from a parked car or carnival, has shaken his walls, tested his nerves, and made him feel connected to other people, whether or not he appreciates the music blasting from their subwoofers. Ranging from the soundtrack of his childhood in Baton Rouge to the sonic maelstrom of J’ouvert in Brooklyn, Toussaint-Baptiste describes ...

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