The Charms of the Radio Body
In Current of Music, his long-unpublished volume on radio broadcasting, Theodor Adorno describes the uncanny, animist power of the radio voice that terrifyingly infiltrates the listener's private space. Writing sometime between 1938 and 1941, while serving as musical director for the Princeton Radio Research Project (PRRP), Adorno attributes to the radio broadcast the power not only to take over the body of the listener but also to give life to the material objects of the bourgeois home. This chapter also examines Charles Sheeler's “Self-Portrait” in the background when considering some of Adorno's responses to radio broadcasting. Adorno recognized the potentials and pitfalls of the broadcast medium in much the same way that Sheeler imagined the telephone.
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