Negotiating nature and music through technology ecological reflections in the works of maggi payne and laurie spiegel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Conventional wisdom has long viewed women as physiologically and psychologically closer to nature than men, and men as more strongly connected with culture and technology than women. Since the 1960s, ecofeminism has underscored this perspective and encouraged women to embrace female difference and female forms of environmental activism. However, these years also saw the emergence of such emancipated women artists as Annea Lockwood, Pauline Oliveros, Maggi Payne, and Laurie Spiegel, all of whom have shown great ecological awareness, successfully established themselves in the male-oriented cultural domain of composition, and pioneered new music technologies. Focusing on Payne and Spiegel – highly respected artists who were both born in 1945, but are still lesser known than their colleagues of the same age – this essay shows how these composers express ecological concerns and probes how they display and challenge ideas of ecofeminism in their technology-based ecologically conscious music. I examine two works: Payne’s Apparent Horizon (1996), an audio-visual piece inspired by desert landscapes; and Spiegel’s Anon a Mouse (2003), a musique concrète mini opera about mice and a dog, drawing on processed animal sounds. The study is based on published and unpublished materials including interviews I conducted with both composers and on environmental and ecofeminist studies by such writers as Irene Diamond, Greta Gaard, Donna Haraway, Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Gloria Orenstein, Sherry Ortner, and Tara Rodgers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCurrent Directions in Ecomusicology
Subtitle of host publicationMusic, Culture, Nature
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781317619536
ISBN (Print)9781315752938
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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