Research seminar: Dr Holly Rogers 'Holes in the Cinematic Fabric: Listening to Audiovisual Dissonance'

Wednesday 30 May 2018, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Holly Rogers (Goldsmiths, University of London)


Audiovisual dissonance is multifaceted: sound can work rhythmically with the image, but be inappropriate emotionally; it can be historically anachronistic and affectively discordant; it can contradict the image ironically and stylistically, or offer fragmented intertextuality that questions what we are seeing.  This not only leads to a semantic overabundance, but also to a cognitive, aesthetic, affective, rhythmic or timbral gap between sound and image.  Such gaps require audience members to hold two potentially contradictory ideas in their minds at once in order to knit them together into some form of coherence.

Dr Holly Rogers will explore the ways in which perception changes when faced with harmonious audiovisual gestures and aggressive forms of distanciation. She will also interrogate the very possibility of a mismatch and suggest instead that, like the relationship between noise and music, audiovisual relations are highly subjective, culturally variable and historically contingent.  In fact, as audiences, we have become adept at adjusting our engagement with distanciation depending on the genre and style of a work.  With reference to mental space theory and the field of psychology that deals with cognitive dissonance, an attempt will be made to differentiate between ‘consonant’, ‘irrelevant’ and ‘dissonant’ audiovisual relationships. Using examples from various film traditions—popular narrative, experimental and documentary Dr Holly Rogers will explore alternative ways of thinking about audiovisual dissonance in the twentieth-century, including concepts such as layering, sonic elongation and aporia.  

Location: Music Research Centre, Rymer Auditorium