Episode 1: Twenty Thousand Bodies Can’t Be Wrong

Medium Rotation presents conversations and sonic experiences that probe the conditions (and counter the received ideas) of our time, among other times. Each season of the podcast is animated by the concerns of an issue of the magazine, which are addressed by artists, writers, and scholars. The first season, Omniaudience, asks how we understand ourselves and others through listening—and what the obstacles to listening reveal about our society.

Medium Rotation is hosted by Alexander Provan, Triple Canopy’s editor, and Nikita Gale, an artist and longtime collaborator. In the first episode, they ask who we are—and what we can do—as listeners, members of an audience, and bodies in concert (or in conflict). They introduce the podcast by speaking about the revelation of arena concerts, the performance of listening by CEOs and self-help gurus, and how the demand to be heard manifests in protest and property violence. And they listen to MC Hammer, Van Halen, Pauline Oliveros, Kimberly Jones, and the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

Gale and Provan have been collaborating for several years on work related to the politics of listening, which has involved a residency at the Hammer Museum as well as a series of publications, performances, and conversations as part of Triple Canopy’s twenty-sixth issue, Two Ears and One Mouth. In his essay for the issue “The Great Equalizer,” Provan writes about the relationship between speaking and listening, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In this episode, Gale and Provan speak about the composer Pauline Oliveros, whose writing and teaching are available via the Center for Deep Listening. In order of appearance, the music and other recordings played on this episode are: a concert by MC Hammer, 1991; a concert by Van Halen, 1995; a master classs by Pauline Oliveros, 2012; a hearing by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, 2020; and a video of the author Kimberly Jones by the filmmaker David Jones, 2020.

Medium Rotation is produced by Alexander Provan with Andrew Leland, and edited by Provan with Matt Frassica. Tashi Wada composed the theme music. Matt Mehlan acted as the audio engineer and contributed additional music.

Medium Rotation is made possible through generous contributions from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Nicholas Harteau. This season of Medium Rotation is part of Triple Canopy’s twenty-sixth issue, Two Ears and One Mouth, which receives support from the Stolbun Collection, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Agnes Gund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.