The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture

Scalar Publication wins ATHE-ASTR Award for Excellence in Digital Theatre and Performance Scholarship


Established to support, recognize and encourage digital scholarship, the Joint ATHE-ASTR Award for Excellence in Digital Theatre and Performance Scholarship is awarded each year to an individual or team that demonstrates innovation and rigor in the use of electronic and/or digital media for the purpose of producing or disseminating knowledge about theatre and performance.

The inaugural award has gone to Erin Mee for her “Hearing the ‘Music of the Hemispheres,’” authored in Scalar and published in The Drama Review (57; 3). “Hearing the ‘Music of the Hemispheres’” uses Scalar as a tool to embody as well as analyze the multimodal and multi-linear ways that performance unfolds. In other words, it offers a performance-driven mode of scholarship aimed at better understanding spectatorship.

The subject of Mee’s article is a concert –Symphony for 100,000,000,000 Neurons- in which music was composed by sonifying fMRI scans made of subjects as they watched a stimulus film instructing them to imagine the sound of rain, listen to a recording of rain, and listen to a musical composition incorporating recordings of rain. This concert consists of multiple tracks of music, each corresponding to activity in the subject’s frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes and thus allows one to hear a sonification of one’s brain as they engage in an act of spectatorship. The concert is, as Mee sees it, “an aural rendering of spectatorship” and using Scalar Mee is able to herself render and analyze for the reader the myriad multimedia components which constitute and are associated with the concert—for example, fMRI scans and audio from the stimulus film but also lectures and interviews with neuroscientists and videos portraying the sonification of abnormal brain activity.

It is this innovative and expansive use of digital content in the service of scholarship, and of Scalar in particular, that no doubt has won her the award.

Congratulations to Erin.

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The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture was created with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.