Professor Mladen Milicevic
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA

Mladen Milicevic received a B.A. (1982) and an M.A. (1986) in music composition and multimedia arts studying at The Music Academy of Sarajevo, in his native Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1986 Mr. Milicevic came to the United States to study with Alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, from which he received his masters in experimental music composition (1988). From the University of Miami in Florida, Mr. Milicevic received his doctorate in music composition in 1991, studying with Dennis Kam. For several summers, he also studied with Michael Czajkowski at the Aspen Music School. He was awarded numerous music prizes for his compositions in the former Yugoslavia as well as in Europe. Working in his homeland as a freelance composer for ten years, he composed for theater, films, radio and television, also receiving several prizes for this body of work. Since he moved to the United States in 1986, Mr. Milicevic has performed his live electronic music, composed for modern dances, made several experimental animated films and videos, set up installations and video sculptures, had exhibitions of his paintings, and scored for films. His academic interests are interdisciplinary, and he has made many presentations at various international conferences on a wide range of topics such as music, film, aesthetics, semiology, sociology, education, artificial intelligence, religion, and cultural studies. Bizarrely enough, in 2003 he has scored film The Room which has now become an international phenomenon as the “worst” film ever made. Mr. Milicevic is Professor in the Recording Arts Department at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. He has been the Chair of the Recording Arts Department for 11 years, and in 2019 he stepped down from that position to become the first faculty member at Loyola Marymount University who teaches 100% online classes. Now Dr. Milicevic’s primary educational interest is focused on online teaching modalities.

Globalization and Democratization of Music Technology

Abstract: This presentation will concentrate on the explosion of computer technologies that have allowed for the democratization of many aspects of human activities, which were in the past only available through the institutionalized channels of production and distribution. Using the music recording industries just as an example will illustrate this process, but the analogies to other activities and aspects of human life can easily be extrapolated from it. Initially, there will be a brief discussion of two notions that are important for the support of the main argument: 1. De-aestheticization of art and loss of its ‘aura’ by Walter Benjamin and 2. Paradigm shift by Thomas Kuhn. Then, the effects on the culture of what was musically impossible to produce in the past, now becoming easily achievable to virtually anyone, will be thoroughly explored. The expansion of more affordable digital music recording equipment made music production process available to just about anyone with a PC. What was once accessible only through the facilities and skills provided by a professional music-recording studio now has been widely open to the public. With minimum financial investment people can now record high quality music in their bedrooms. This situation has created vertical disintegration of production in music industry conglomerates with significant impacts on the organization of the music-related economy. As a result, in the last decade the music industry has experienced a severe crisis and has undergone significant and rather painful changes. There have been many recording studio closures, the traditional records stores virtually do no exist any more, and the production and distribution of physical recording media has moved to the virtual world of the Internet. One of the consequences of this condition has been wearing away of the key music production centers such as New York and Los Angeles. The entire economic model of the music industry has been radically altered to accommodate the newly established realities. However, under the old music industry models, when the record was produced it enjoyed a long life in the market due to the lack of competition and the nature of highly structured music promotion, distribution and consumption environment. This business model contained many “hurdles” for the musicians, one of them being the prohibitive cost of time in the recording studio, which has been now, with the introduction of “home project studios” virtually brought down to zero. Today, literally millions of people make music in their homes. Think about the old-fashioned typewriter 100 years ago. Not everyone had access to one, and not everyone was writing. The ubiquity of word processing software provides everyone with a “writing tool” – but has the writing in general gotten better? Has the music being produced gotten better? Under the old music industry model, the record labels had enormous resources to produce records and distribute them, but that applied only to a couple of hundred “chosen” artists and bands who were strategically “pushed” and therefore gained access to an audience of millions. But, today, music artists and bands must promote and distribute their music, and that was done primarily through the Internet related technologies. The biggest irony for the musicians is that as democratized both production and distribution have become, the more difficult it is to get their music heard. Take just the YouTube, which is the new MTV with a potential Internet viewing audience of hundreds of millions, plus all the social networking sites that have inexhaustible exchange ability to allow users to participate in music consumption. The number of people participating in the “music business” is incomprehensible. This is a triumph for music democratization but what has been gained and lost?

Professor Sergey Avrutin
Department of Modern Languages, Utrecht University, Netherland

Dr. Sergey Avrutin is a Professor of Comparative Pycholinguistics at the Department of Modern Languages. From 2000 to 2005 he was the program leader of the NWO-sponsored PIONEER research program Comparative Psycholinguistics. His research focuses on normal child language development and language impairment (aphasia) with special emphasis on the syntax-discourse interface and the application of information theory to the analyses of errors in child and aphasic speech as well as special registers (e.g. newspaper headlines, TV commentators, etc.) Among other things, he is a member of the editorial board of Language Acquisition, Journal of Neurolinguistics and has edited a special issue of Brain and Language.

The Flow of Speech

Abstract: The goal of this presentation is to outline how several influential ideas in psycholinguistics, physics and information theory can be combined in order to get a new insight on the process of speech production. The most influential model of speech production developed by Willem Levelt (Levelt 1999, A Blueprint for the Speaker) identifies several steps (modules and processes) responsible for translating a thought into a linguistic sequence. Starting with the background knowledge, these steps include the conceptualizer (a preparation of a partially structured message), the formulator (a module that together with the lexicon is responsible for building a linguistic structure), and the articulator responsible for transforming the mental representation of an utterance into a physical sequence. The speech process therefore can be viewed as a flow of thought moving through different stages. This view thus allows us to investigate the process of speech production from the point of view of the Constructal Law as formulated by Adrian Bejan (2012). According to his theory, all flow systems (animate and inanimate) eventually attaint configurations that offer progressively greater flow access over time. More recently, Radulescu (2021) proposed to extend the application of the construction law to the flow of information in accordance with Shannon’s information theory (Shannon 1948). In my presentation I discuss how to combine the above mentioned theories and models to incorporate Levelt’s Blueprint for the Speaker into a bigger physical theory of information flow.

Professor Tatiana Ivushkina
English Department No. 3 at MGIMO, Moscow, Russia

Tatiana Ivushkina is a Professor at Moscow State Institute of Foreign Affairs (MGIMO-University), Russia. She got her Candidate degree (PhD) in Philology from Moscow State University for the thesis "Stylization in Modern English Literature Speech Portrayals"and Doctoral degree (advanced PhD) from Moscow State University for the thesis «Socio-linguistic Aspects of English Speech Development (in speech portrayals of the upper classes of Great Britain in the 19-20th c. English Literature)». Her research interests are social linguistics, stylistics, stylization in speech portrayals, upper-class speech, English & American literature and culture, innovative methods of teaching and intercultural communication. She is an executive secretary and editor of the journal "Philology at MGIMO" and author of articles in refereed journals and international conference proceedings.

Borrowings and Their Functions in Modern Fiction

Abstract: In the focus of the presentation are borrowings used in speech portrayals in modern British and American novels. This category of words of Latin, Greek or French origins, historically assimilated in the English language, performs different functions that implicitly indicate a social status of a speaker/ character. The analysis of modern British and American novels singles out some similarities and cultural differences in the way words of foreign origin are used in speech representation which gives some ground to consider this category of words as socially and culturally loaded, functioning as markers, or indices, of a social and educational status of a speaker/ character. Being an artistic representation of speech, literature is at the same time a mirror of the real processes language and culture is undergoing and, therefore, it reflects not only an imaginary world of a writer but a real upper class speech shibboleth.