Episode 09: John Kannenberg on The Museum of Portable Sound

Every museum has its own unique soundtrack. This week on Public Work, Ruby Thiagarajan, a first-year Master’s Student in Public Humanities at Brown University, talks to John Kannenberg, a multimedia artist and the Director and Chief Curator of The Museum of Portable Sound. Ruby and John discuss why John decide to create a museum that’s the size of a cell phone, what it’s like to curate sound, and what we might learn from the sounds of museums.

Ruby Thiagarajaran

Ruby Thiagarajan is a first year MA student in Public Humanities at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. She is interested in contemporary museology practices and in thinking about how cultural institutions can do better by their audiences.
John Kannenberg


John Kannenberg is a multimedia artist, experimental curator, writer, and researcher whose work investigates sounds as cultural objects, the frontiers and borders of digital heritage, the multisensory geography of museums, the psychology of collection, and the human experience of time. His art practice emphasises process, creating and breaking rules for the work’s realisation in ways that blur the boundaries between intention and accident. In his current role as Director and Chief Curator of The Museum of Portable Sound, John has founded an institution that exists on a solitary mobile phone to research the collection, curation, and display of sound as a museological object while critiquing conventional museum practices and music industry-imposed limitations on the digital distribution of sound.

Download our latest episode on iTunes, or listen via the SoundCloud embed below (or over on our SoundCloud page).

The music on this episode is excerpted from the song “New Day” by Lee Rosevere (licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International).

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