Date(s) - 11/30/2012
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Rm. 3491 (Large Seminar Rm.), Graduate Center
Description: Dr. Phil Ford, Indiana University – “Lounging”
Studies of cold war mood music have considered how postwar domestic architecture opened up new private spaces for leisure—spaces that allowed exotic spaces and subjectivities to be cultivated in the heart of American suburbia. This paper discusses Playboy magazine’s notion of the bachelor pad, an ideal of a private realm that tames and masters the modern world outside. The ideal inhabitant of the bachelor pad was the connoisseur preserved (perhaps incongruously) in an age of electronic media. He was a record collector whose stockpiled experience turns the world into a diorama or wunderkammer like those that fascinated Walter Benjamin. I want to argue that this way of encountering the world has a particular mode of listening associated with it—a temporal ideal, complementary to the spatial ideal of the lounge, in which our ears inhabit the music in the same way that the music inhabits our homes. Music becomes a series of interior textures that our ears grope their way through from moment to moment within a perceptual pocket that lasts about as long as it takes to explain its special features to our date. Whether or not we are engaged in some conspicuous act of leisure at the time we listen, the ideal listening state is one of commanding repose. We are to imagine that we are like Nero at a banquet, delicacies piling up at our feet. This state, and the peculiar kind of music reception that inhabits it, is what we might call lounging.