Resisting Hegemony through Noise



This essay examines the cultural phenomena of noise in its perceived social constructions and demonstrates its emergence as a form of resistance against prevailing dominant hegemonic codes of culture. In particular, the paper explores the ability of noise to be enacted as a tool to escape the shackles of heteronormative constructions of sexuality and gender in the cultural landscape of the United States. Examined to support this argument are the contrasting works of two American artists: John Cage and Emilie Autumn. Through Cage and his avant-garde articulations of sound, covert acts of resistance against the dominant heteronormative constructions of masculinity are explored, and through Autumn’s classical crossover work, a more overt and explicit form of resistance to subvert gender stereotypes and structures of normality and patriarchy are illuminated. Additionally, the paper explores possibilities for artists to engage with other movements, such as disability activism to create new possibilities for change.


John CageEmilie Autumnqueer theorymodernismmusicologysound studiesnoiseUnited States historycultural studies
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 50-73
  • DOI: 10.18573/ipics.88
  • Published on 30 Apr 2019
  • Peer Reviewed