The World of Sound
Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies
and Film Studies Coordinator
Jennifer Fleeger has always been interested in what sound can tell us about our culture and our values. From her days as a doctoral student to her experience as a violinist, she says, “I’ve spent my life thinking about sound and how to make it.” Fleeger challenges film viewers to think about their auditory experience as much as the visual. “Our perception of a realistic soundscape in film might have nothing to do with how we really hear the world. I certainly don’t hear background romantic string music wherever I go. Yet I don’t question it when it appears in an American film.” Fleeger’s current work on media ventriloquism deals with contemporary issues such as deep fakes—the result of using technological tools to take fragments of voices and reconfigure them into statements, and then stitch them together with images of a person talking.
“Technologies allow us to take people’s voices and put them back in their bodies to lie to us. This is what we are up against,” she says.
Another current project examines Marni Nixon, a Hollywood playback artist who did the singing voice for Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr and Natalie Wood.