Jessica Feldman

Assistant Professor

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Professor Feldman joined the Global Communications faculty at AUP in 2018. Before that, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University, after earning a Ph.D. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University in 2017. Her dissertation considered how advances in the surveillance of cell phone data, decentralized mobile networks, and vocal affective monitoring software are changing the ways in which listening exerts power and frames social and political possibilities. This research was funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation to support interdisciplinary research on privacy and democracy across the social sciences and engineering. She is also an artist whose work has been exhibited and performed internationally. She received an MFA from Bard in 2007 and taught media and sound art at Temple University and The New School from 2009-2012. She often collaborates with designers, and combines theory and practice in her teaching and her research. 

Feldman’s current book project, Radical Protocols: Designing Democratic Digital Tools in Social Movements, is a study of the ways in which democratic values are (or are not) inscribed in the design of emerging networked communication technologies. The book is the result ethnographic fieldwork with democratic social movements, especially the “movements of the squares,” during which she studied these movements’ communications practices and the alternative digital tools that they designed to serve their political values. This is combined with a “values-in-design” analysis of new decentralized communication, consensus, and trust models, such as mesh networks, blockchain, and algorithmic governance applications, which claim to have democratic values. The book asserts the promise that peer-to-peer tools have for democratic practice in a moment when representative democracy is in decay, while pointing out concerns about the ways in which illegitimate power and control could be inscribed into these communication tools at lower layers. 



Education/Degrees

PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU, 2017
MFA in Intermedia Art, Bard, 2007
MA in Experimental Music, Wesleyan, 2005
BA in Music, Columbia, 2001

Publications

“Strange Speech: Structures of Listening in Nuit Debout, Occupy, and 15M,” International Journal of Communication Volume 11: The Nuit Debout Movement: Communication and the Production of Everynight Life, May 2018.

“Trusts and Testaments: Questions of Privacy and Ethical Listening in the Era of Ex-Ante Mass Surveillance,“ in Trust in The Digital Era // La confiance à l’ére numérique ed. Milad Doueihi and Jacopo Domenicucci (Paris: Editions Berger-Levrault & Editions rue d’Ulm, January 2018.)

“The Problem of the Adjective: Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” Transposition: Music et sciences sociales Issue Six: Listening Lines, Online Listening, 2016.

"Schedules," Proceedings of Lines and Nodes: Media, Infrastructure, and Aesthetics Conference, New York University, 2014.

“The Trouble with Sounding: Sympathetic Vibrations and Ethical Relations in ‘Soundings: A Contemporary Score’ at the Museum of Modern Art,” Ear/Wave/Event: A Journal of Sensuous Intelligibility Issue One, April 2014.

Conferences & Lectures

(recent, selected)

“Channel: Technology and Infrastructure,” Regenerative Feedback: On Listening and Its Emancipatory Potential, Rotterdam, 2019

invited talk, Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Dublin, 2019

“Strange Speech and Collective Noise: Structures of Listening in Nuit Debout, Occupy, and 15M,” Politics of Listening Symposium, University of NSW, Sydney, 2018

“Making Noise Matter: Audibility, Authority, and the Techno-Politics of Listening,” International Communication Association Annual Conference, Prague, 2018

“Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice and The Labor of Listening,” presentation at “Productive Sounds in Everyday Spaces: Sounds at work in science, art, and industry, 1920-present,” Max Plank Institute for the History of Science (Epsitemes of Modern Acoustics Research Group), Berlin, 2018

“Listening In: Surveillance, Complaint, Audibility, and the Techno-Politics of Reception,” Society for Cinema & Media Studies (SCMS) Annual Conference, Toronto, 2018

“The Techno-Cultural History of MIDI,” workshop with Stephan-Elöise Gras and Martin Scherzinger, Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford University, 2017

“Internet Health: A Checkup for Civil Society,” Digital Impact virtual roundtable, 2017.

“The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” International Communication Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, 2017

“Testaments, Truth, Trust, and Totalitarianism: Old questions for new technologies,” invited talk, «Le numérique : une crise de la culture ?» Journée d’Étude de la Chaire Humanum Labex Obvil– Sorbonne Universités [“The Digital: A Crisis of Culture?” Study Day at the Digital Humanities & Literature Lab, Sorbonne Universities], Spring 2017

“The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” MVR Series on Human-Computer Interaction, Eyebeam @ Babycastles, NYC, Spring 2016

“The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” Society for the Social Studies of Science, Denver, CO, 2015

“The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” American Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, 2015
“MIDI: The cultural history and social life of a protocol,” Media Ecology Association Annual Convention, Metropolitan State University, Denver, CO, 2015

“SenCell: A Prototype for Democratic and Secure Mobile Communications,” Wind-Farm 0: People-Powered Nearby Networks, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA 2015

“The MIDI Effect,” Inertia: A Conference on Sound, Media, and the Digital Humanities, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 2015

“The MIDI Effect,” Bone Flute to Auto-Tune: A Conference on Music & Technology in History, Theory and Practice, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 2014

“Sound Feeling: Sound, Affect, Emotion, and the Making of the Post-Modern Political Self,” Sound Signatures Winter School, Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2014

“speaking skin: finished/in-progress/future projects using electricity,” Artist Talk, dorkbotnyc, ThoughtWorks, New York, NY, 2013

“Thinking Through Collapse,” Graduate Student Conference, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University, New York, NY, 2012

“The Occupation of Listening,” Intersections: Occupations, York & Ryerson Universities, Toronto, 2012
Lead from Somewhere: Art, Artists, and Contemporary Civic Action, moderator and presenter, ICA (Institute for Contemporary Arts), Philadelphia, PA, 2012