This seminar is devoted to an insistently lo-fi recording medium: the scrappy cardboard or plastic 45 known as the flexidisc. Dr. Bohlman’s primary orientation point is a context in which these cheap records were a flourishing alternative music economy: Communist Poland. Connecting the materiality of the Polish case to other flexidisc circuits--gaming magazine inserts, language instruction books, nature magazine supplements, home appliance advertising gimmicks, and punk zines—Dr. Bohlman reflects on the bounty of these historical sound scraps made to be discarded. She treats them as a depository of lessons for writing sound history through late capitalism. We will listen together to ask: Why do we save sounds? What information do flexidiscs encode?
Andrea Bohlman is a musicologist who has, among other things, written about the history of magnetic tape and tape recording, the media spectacle of the Eurovision Song Contest, and the centrality of sound media for social movements in the late twentieth-century, particularly in Poland.