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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 7, 2007

Conference To Highlight Strength Of Sound Feb. 22-24

An upcoming conference at the University of Iowa will feature a unique event: a pictureless picture show.

Composers and sound designers created a collection of films with sound -- but no images -- to highlight the key role sound plays in the cinematic experience.

"The Audible Picture Show: Audio Works for a Dark Cinema," curated by British artist Matt Hulse, will be presented at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Bijou Theater in the Iowa Memorial Union. The exercise will show audience members how they listen to films differently when they don't have images on which to rely.

The event is part of "Studies in Sound: Listening in the Age of Visual Culture," a conference running Thursday, Feb. 22 through Saturday, Feb. 24. The conference includes lectures, films and more than 50 research papers. All events are free and open to the public.

The purpose of the conference is to "overthrow the notion that sound is secondary to visual sources," and to examine how sound and images work differently to create an experience for audiences, said Jennifer Fleeger, a UI graduate student studying film, and a co-organizer of the conference.

The conference also includes:

- A screening of "The All-Around Reduced Personality: REDUPERS" (Helke Sander, 1978) at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building. The German film is about a female photographer exploring what it means to live in a divided Berlin. The film is being featured because of its interesting soundtrack, which includes voice-overs by the photographer and soundscapes of the city. After the screening, a reception will be held at The Mill Restaurant, 120 E. Burlington St., Iowa City.

- A keynote address by UI alumna Caryl Flinn, a women's studies professor at the University of Arizona, at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building. Her lecture, "The Racial Vicissitudes of a Song: Irving Berlin's 'Heat Wave' on Film and Stage," traces how the song changes meaning based on how and where it is played or performed. Flinn's books include "The New German Cinema: Music, History and the Matter of Style" (University of California Press, 2004), "Strains of Utopia: Gender, Nostalgia, and Hollywood Film Music" (Princeton University Press, 1992) and "Brass Diva: the Life and Legends of Ethel Merman" (forthcoming).

- More than 50 academic papers and creative presentations on a wide range of sound issues, which will be given between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Feb. 23 and 24 on the second floor of Adler Journalism Building. 

The conference is hosted by the UI's Cinema and Comparative Literature Department, which is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Co-sponsors include the Institute for Cinema and Culture, International Programs, the English, German, Anthropology, Communication Studies and Women's Studies departments, the Graduate College, the Bijou Theater and the Iowa House Hotel.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0071,; Program: Email Jennifer Fleeger and Claudia Pummer at

OTHER INFORMATION: The full program is available at