My research focuses on the global network of electronic dance music scenes (e.g., house, disco, techno, and so on), with Berlin as my primary site of fieldwork.
My first research project, Together, Somehow: Music, Intimacy, and Affect on the Dance Floor, is in its final stages, focusing on embodied stranger-intimacy at dance music events and the role that music and affect play in sustaining a sense of vague-but-meaningful belonging among dancers. This project was a multi-local study, based on fieldwork conducted in Chicago, Paris, and Berlin over the period of several years (2006-2010).
‘Techno Tourism’ is the focus of my second research project. This project studies the patterns of regular travel that bring fans and professionals to Berlin’s local electronic music scenes. Increasingly, this project is also examining music-driven migration to Berlin and electronic music’s role in the expanding ‘creative industries’ of the city.
In addition to these projects, I conduct research and write about music festivals, fieldwork methodology, sonic grain/texture, sound studies, and queer theory.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT & IMPACT: Through writing and public speaking, I strive to reach audiences beyond academia; as an ethnographer, I feel an ethical responsibility to ensure that the musical communities I study have the opportunity to access, respond to, and make use of my research. These efforts include several articles for Resident Advisor, the foremost online magazine for electronic music, as well as UK-based lifestyle periodical CRACK Magazine. I have been invited to speak at international music-industry events such as Club Transmediale (Berlin) and Amsterdam Dance Event, and my research has been the subject of in-depth interviews by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and Resident Advisor’s ‘Exchange’ podcast series.
PRACTICE AS RESEARCH: I am also committed to practice-intensive research, blending fieldwork, artistic practice, community engagement, and collaborative knowledge production. This commitment has driven my involvement in “La Mission” (an alternative, queer, Latinx, D.I.Y. art collective based in Berlin) and in “Room 4 Resistance” (an inclusive, political, women-led electronic music collective). Room 4 Resistance organizes dance music events that showcase femme-identified, trans, non-binary, queer, Black, Brown, and post-migrant artists while cultivating a safer space for marginalized dancers.