For more detailed information, please change to the German version of this website.

Kassiani Goulakou

The Post - Digital Archive as Compositional Material; A Study on Medical Archives and Internal Body Sounds

The thesis Post - Digital Archive as Compositional Material; A Study on Medical Archive and Internal Body Sounds is a project of mixed form that explores theoretically and artistically the use of audio medical archives as compositional material in a post - digital context. 

The written part is divided in two chapters. The first chapter (The Post - Digital Archive) begins with a discussion of contemporary artistic archival practices and the most prevalent theories (Post-Production Art, Remix Culture, Post-Digital, Hauntology) around them. In that context, it highlights the importance of sampling as a technique and explores its roots and development in African American Music. Next, the creative use of media fingerprints and their relation to archives, time and postmodern culture is examined. The first chapter concludes with a comparison of the composer’s archival research methodology with the historian’s. The second chapter of the thesis (Medical Archives & Internal Body Sounds) explores illness as a form of narrative, its reception and application in the field of medical humanities and the function of music and sound in that field. Then, the study focuses on the use of internal body sounds as compositional material through the works of Brent Michael David and Milford Graves. 

The practical part reflects that research and expands further into a musical study of the medical archives and internal body sounds. More precisely, Murmurs is a fixed media composition exploring the artistic possibilities of the auscultation process and medical archives through the techniques of appropriation, recontextualization and mixed media. In that context, internal body sounds are sampled from digital and analog archives and transcribed as rhythmic patterns and melodic lines for percussion and wind instruments. Samples and transcriptions engage in an interplay between reality and abstraction, construction and fragmentation, recording technology and musical interpretation. The medical and mechanical ear transforms into a musical and personal ear that experiments with the human body as a recorded and transcribed revenant, explores the aesthetics of failure and constructs its own illness narrative.