An acoustemology of streaming media and information and communication technologies
This article will discuss how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are reshaping our soundscapes and, in the process, also ourselves. Streaming, as a self-directed experience of music listening, can be an important part of the construction of identity, and ICTs have been recognised as the most powerful ‘technologies of the self’. This article will argue that the ubiquitous presence of ICTs in the acoustic environment to which someone is exposed over the course of their lives is an important element in the construction of the self. In this process, ICTs operate by managing notifications, memories, and soundscaping. As hearing is a cultural construction, changes to the soundscape promoted by ICTs are discussed in terms of their role in the development of a ‘sonic self’. Muzak (background music), largely present in urban soundscapes as streaming music, plays an important role in this construction and is described from the point of view of its different uses and connotations. Finally, the sonic apprehension of the world and of our self is approached in light of the space-time shift promoted by the new digital environment created by ICTs.
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