This year, Trent’s Public Texts grad students will be celebrating the end of the semester “Three-Minute-Thesis Style” with a colloquium designed to showcase the term’s best work. The event and reception (both open to the public) takes place on Monday April 7th at 3:00 pm in Bagnani Hall where ten presenters will share their strongest grad papers with a catch – they only have three minutes to express their argument. This newest craze is being heralded as the speed dating of academia with instant sparks flying between lecturers and audience members. It’s a taste festival with timely refreshers and no lingering flavours; a complete reset is always three Minute Maid’s away.
For me as a presenter, the constraints imposed by a three-minute strait-jacket seem troubling. That said, it’s not bomb detonation; if my presentation explodes, then we’ll all have a good laugh over tea and miniature sandwiches.
On the big day, I plan to abridge an essay I wrote for Kelly McGuire titled ‘Dialed Back: the audience learns to listen up!’ Components of this work will also form the basis for an upcoming lecture that I am delivering for first year undergraduate students in Love and Hate. The paper explores the producer/consumer divide in popular music and contends that pre-record and radio, performers and audience members were collaborators who actualized music together. This changed when technology separated artists from audiences, made listeners passive, and gave performers sole authorial control.
True to my essay’s ethos of breaking down barriers, I offer you a trailer to my three minute talk. Though this paragraph may be infinitely readjusted and rewritten before April 7th (thanks Michael Morse), this is how it looks today. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the opening seconds of ‘Dialed Back:’ the three-minute-thesis version.
Recently, I watched the documentary Rip: A Remix Manifesto, directed by Brett Gaylor. The doc defends mash-up artist Girltalk’s right to freely remix copyrighted materials without legal or financial penalty. Gaylor attacks distinct divides between producer and consumer stating: “This is not a world made up of consumers anymore… this world is made up of collaborators.” I contend that live audiences were ALWAYS collaborators; pre-record and radio, folk performers and audiences actualized music together. The commercialization and commodification of music locked out the listener’s role. This new domain gave producer’s sole authority.
Editor’s Note – Today’s blog was written within the parameters of an angry one-year old baby’s nap time. After this afternoon, three minutes out on the town is going to feel like pure ecstasy!