Transitioning into Noise: 1930s Film Technology Debates in India
12. Juli 2024    
10:00 - 12:00
IG-Farben-Gebäude, Raum 7.312
Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, Frankfurt am Main, 60323


Neepa Majumdar (University of Pittsburgh)

Using film excerpts, ads for sound recording and projection equipment, sound technicians’ columns, as well as reports by and about salesmen-technicians, such as the Americans Wilford Deming Jr. and C. Willman, this talk will present debates about audio technologies and sonic cultures circulating in India during the period of cinema’s conversion to sound (1931 to 1935). Since many audio discussions at the time centered on the problem of noise in sound recording and projection, the talk will approach the transition to sound through the lens of a spectrum of noise and meaning through which the audiovisual was understood. Analyzing ads for competing film sound technologies that made claims about swadeshi (or indigenously developed) recording equipment, I will use the lens of „imaginary media,“ as theorized by media archaeologists, to focus on „impossible“ machines such as the locally developed tropically sensitive sound machines advertised in film magazines of the period.