“New audiovisual aesthetics,” a term growing in circulation within new media studies, has been characterized in a number of ways. Common to many of these is a tendency to consider sound and music as ancillary to an image or narrative situation. This state of affairs has arisen as mainstream practices with origins in stage performance, cinema, and television have migrated across media to new audiovisual technologies from youtube to hand-held video players to televisions in elevators. This movement from one medium to another has offered practitioners and audiences alike an opportunity to rewrite the rules linking image to sound. Whether viewed from the vantage point of the televised cultural mainstream, the cinematic avant-garde, the Hollywood film industry, or the participatory discourses of “cyberspace,” the landscape of audiovisual expression has changed dramatically in the past ten years.
The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics charts these changes through a compelling and comprehensive overview of the current state in audiovisual research. The volume is defined by an interest in emerging approaches to the audiovisual as it pertains to the rapidly changing mediascapes of the early 21st century. The handbook looks at audiovisual forms across all of their 21st century iterations, from those of giant media conglomerates jockeying for primacy in mainstream media forms to those of individuals who, given that digital tools and the internet put media as never before into the hands of private citizens, are producing a startling range of phenomena spanning from movie blockbuster to YouTube aesthetics. Chapters will examine how the boundaries blur between what is considered sound and musical scoring and will also give deserved attention to the space of sound in relation to images.