David Friedrich

Mr, MA, Doctor of Philosophy Student

  • The University of Western Australia (M092), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

Personal profile

Biography

David Friedrich started his career as a musician, followed by numerous concerts though-out Europe. After more than a decade that oscillated between live concerts and recordings, he fell in love with the abstract world of sound and technology theories. In 2018, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Musicology at the Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany), followed by a master’s degree in Media Studies at the same institution in 2021. Since May 2022, David has been a PhD student at the Conservatorium of Music (University of Western Australia) investigating the sense of hearing based on the media technology cochlear implant. 

Research interests

David primarily investigates (auditory) media technologies and is driven by an interdisciplinary approach between art, science, and philosophy. During his undergraduate studies (2018) in musicology and media studies at the Humboldt University Berlin, he developed the Theremin for the Deaf, probably the first musical instrument that generates sound without acoustics. In his master’s thesis (2021), The Duality of Sound, at the department for media theory at the Humboldt University Berlin, he challenged our understanding of sound. Whereas the Duality of Sound investigated the influence of external media technology on the human being and vice versa, his PhD thesis, Phenomenology of Bionic Sensation, will go a step further by exploring the relationship between the sensation of sound via the implanted media technology cochlear implant and the human perception techno-philosophically.

Research

Phenomenology of Bionic Sensation. 
Rethinking the relationship between sound and hearing based on the cochlear implant. (PhD Thesis 2022–2025)

The human sensory apparatus has changed with implanted media technologies. One of these technologies is the hearing device cochlear implant (CI). It enables users to perceive an environment of signals beyond acoustics; an audible perception of electromagnetic fields that have only occurred in non-human organisms and machines. Nonetheless, most discourses about the CI focus either on implantation, and post-operative treatment, or criticise the media-political power of the wearable speech processor (WSP) on the outside of the head, i.e., asking who determines the quality of hearing. Whereas culture defines the quality of hearing, it is overlooked that sound waves determine the sense of hearing. However, this stands in contrast to the actual sensation via the implanted part of the CI: The implanted neurotechnology bypasses the mechanical parts of the ear via an ensemble of radio and computer technology to stimulate the nerve fibres in the cochlea directly. Through a transcutaneous radio link without a physical connection, the implanted part receives energy for powering the implant and spatio-temporal information for orchestrating the stimulation in the cochlea via electrodes from an external wearable speech processor. Based on a techno-philosophical investigation, the relationship between techno-biological sensation and sound perception will be explored by opening the black-box of the implanted receiver and stimulator, which are actually responsible for hearing. The exploration of this human-machine symbiosis is used as a case study to rethink the sense of hearing, which is no longer determined by mechanical sound waves because the implanted receiver only receives electromagnetic signals—no matter whether the signal comes from the WSP, an MRI, or from a mobile phone.

Current projects

The Cultural and Intellectual History of Automated Labour

ARC Discovery Project, 2021-2024, with CIs Sarah Collins (UWA), Ionat Zurr (UWA), Oron Catts (UWA), and Elizabeth Stephens (UQ).

Role: Affiliated Postgraduate Student.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Media Studies, Master of Arts, Humboldt University of Berlin

Award Date: 29 Jun 2021

Musicology (Major) & Media Studies (Minor), Bachelor of Arts, Humboldt University of Berlin

Award Date: 4 Sept 2018

Research expertise keywords

  • Sound Studies
  • Media studies
  • Cochlear Implant
  • Hearing

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