Joel Rust

PhD Candidate, Department of Music, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (March 4 - May 17):

In the first decades of the twentieth century, accelerating urbanization and technological developments transformed the sound of the city. Rust’s dissertation explores the effects of this new and changing soundscape on composers and other artists working in sound during the period, including Edgard Varese, Dziga Vertov, Isaac Avraamov, and Charlie Chaplin. Using an acoustemological approach drawn from Steven Feld's work, Rust shows a close interplay between these artists' work and four sonic markers of urbanity: efficiency, movement, multilingualism, and social unrest. Varse is the central focus of this project, and Rust examines his unfinished multimedia project Espace, showing that many of its features grow out of the city, as do the problems that led to it remaining unfinished. For part of the composition element of his thesis, Rust will be creating an interactive installation that creates the imaginary soundscape of a fantastic, magical realist city using electronically transformed instrumental sounds. Having examined urban soundscapes for his written project, Rust intends to reconstruct them in this unfamiliar way to bring the audience's attention anew to the urban soundscapes they are accustomed to, re-aestheticizing what is normally regarded as inconvenient and unpleasant. For this artwork, Rust is keen to experience and reflect a broad range of urban experiences; he would invest time in Shanghai to developing this.

Last Name
PhD Candidate, Department of Music, GSAS
Fellows Type
GRI Fellowship
GRI Fellows semester
Spring 2019