Maren Haffke, Dr. des.

Universitätsstr. 105
44780 Bochum
Room: UNI 105, 3/29

Phone: +49 (0) 234/32-27046

Title of the Postdoc-Project

The Reality of Field Recordings: Excess and Reserve of Acoustic Realisms in Media Studies and Sound Studies

Project Description

Recently, there seems to be a growing interest in field recording in contemporary music. Several labels have been releasing recordings of environmental sound in the context of musical publication structures. These activities are linked to a history of sampling techniques and instrumental utilization of recording media that, by way of the avant-garde movements and popular music of the 20th century, can be traced all the way back to musique concrète. The new love for recording in the field – which is to say, outside of studios – is, in part, directly related to the historically unprecedented availability of affordable mobile recording technologies. Smartphones are not only equipped with cameras and mp3-players, they also come with microphones and support digital audio-recording-software. This creates possibilities for recording in the open that have been embraced both by laymen and professional musicians. The musical strategies that are applied by these musicians reveal complex approaches to the production and processing of found audio. Both the praxis of audio-recording and the archival storage of environmental sounds possess connections not only to musical contexts, but also to ethnographic studies, film sound design, bioacoustics, and the avant-gardes of the visual and performing arts. At the same time, we can observe a slight movement in the theory of sounds. Several recent publications in sound studies have introduced theories that attribute to the mediality of sound recordings a specific potential for registering material realities that go beyond anthropocentric subjectivation. These new materialisms and realisms often operate with a notion of acoustic environmentality. Starting from a media-archeological perspective, my project approaches field recordings and the history of acoustic ecologies by focusing on epistemological and material negotiations that organize the exchanges of musicology and media studies in the light of new realisms.

Scholarly Career

  • Since 01/2017 | Postdoc at the DFG-graduate school “Documentary Practices. Excess and Privation”, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 08/2016 | Submission of the dissertation „Die Frage der Tasteninstrumente. Musikalische Medien und der Mangel des Symbolischen bei Friedrich Kittler und Wolfgang Scherer – Versuch einer Archäologie der Medienarchäologie“
  • Since 04/2016 | Research associate at the Instutute of Media Studies, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 02/2012 to 03/2016 | Ph. D. student and scholarship holder at the Mercator Research Group „Spaces of Anthropological Knowledge“, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • 10/2004 to 07/2010 | Study of Musicology, Media Studies and Psychology at the Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn: Academic degree Magistra Artium


  • „Was weiß Musik über Medien? Medienarchäologie, Akustik und musikalisches  Wissen im Anschluss an Friedrich Kittler“. In: Schlüter, Bettina/Volmar, Axel (Eds.). Von akustischen Medien zur auditiven Kultur. Navigationen 2 (2015). Siegen  2015.
  • „Spielt Charlie Parker in den Wind oder mit ihm? Bemerkungen zu Friedrich Kittlers Verständnis von Jazz und Literatur“. In: Balke, Friedrich/Siegert, Bernhard/Vogl, Joseph (Eds.).  Mediengeschichte nach Kittler (Archiv für Mediengeschichte). München 2013.


  • 10/2015 | Von Rauschen und Silbensalat. Musikalische Medialität in Kittlers Aufschreibesysteme 1800-1900. Talk at the conference „Aufschreibesysteme 1985-2015“, 11.12.2015, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn
  • 02/2015 | Das Reelle und Medien akustischer Täuschung bei Friedrich Kittler. Talk at the conference „Treueschwüre und Realitätsverlust“, 2. Jahrestagung AG Auditive Kultur und Sound Studies der Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft, 19.-20. Februar 2015, Leuphana University of Lüneburg
  • 09/2014 | Between Rausch and Rauschen: Sound and Music in German Materialist Media Archeology. Given on the 38th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, September 18.-21. 2014, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  • 01/2014  | The Sound of Order / The Order of Sound – Transformationen musikaischer Ordnung am Beginn der Moderne. Given on the conference „Von akustischen Medien zur Auditiven Kultur“, 1. Jahrestagung der AG Auditive Kultur und Sound Studies der Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft, 30.01.-01.02.2014, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn

University Courses

  • Winter term 2016/2017 | Archeology of Sound Studies
  • Summer term 2016 | Kittlersound – Music and Media archeology