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2- Cyborg Music: Gender, Technology, and Film Music - Joel Sutherland, University of Toronto

4:00 PM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
Suzanne Ciani’s score for the 1981 film The Incredible Shrinking Woman(Joel Schumacher, USA) marks a critical, and undiscussed, piece of film music history. As the performing-arts trade publicationBackstage observes Ciani’s score for the film marks the first time a woman would receive sole credit for scoring for a “major motion picture,” However, this accomplishment is only one element of Ciani’s notable career. In addition to her film score work, Ciani was also a prominent composer for television commercials, and a pioneering figure in electronic music. While Ciani’s legacy as a pioneer of electronic music has received some attention from popular sources like The GuardianandPitchfork, and academic sources such as Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner's Women Composers and Music Technology in the United States, her work composing for both television and film has received little focus. This paper will work to establish that Ciani’s career as not only valuable to the history of electronic music but also critical to historical accounts of film and television. Using theoretical discussions of the relationship between gender and technology, such as Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto,” alongside archival interviews with Ciani, the paper will discuss how Ciani’s career allows for a larger feminist re-evaluation the overwhelmingly male-dominated field of film music composition.
University of Chicago
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