Creative, critical thinker and curious explorer of sonic worlds
Melissa Van Drie is a historian-researcher, project maker, and performer currently living in Copenhagen. She works on how sound, hearing and listening are important aspects of worldmaking: how different humans and nonhumans use sound to sense and make sense of their respective environments. Through her interest in sensory epistemologies, material culture and performance practices, her diverse projects move across the arts and sciences. She makes connections between theatre and performance studies, the history of science and technology, the history of music and art, and more recently, studies of ecologies and food. She has researched extensively on auditory cultures in the 19th Century (with a focus on France). Her historical writings and lectures explore the kinds of devices (phonograph, theatrophone, stethoscope), experiments, spectacular stagings, and ideas that contributed to a change in how sound and listening were used to create knowledge and beliefs in fin de siècle occidental cultures, the political remnants of which continue today. She creates performance-lectures, reenactments with artefacts, cooking workshops, and sensory exhibitions.
Melissa did a BA in classical music performance (clarinet, piano, voice) and literature at Emory University (USA). She holds a MA in Musicology from NYU and a PhD in Theatre Studies from the Sorbonne-Paris 3. She has done Postdocs at the EHESS and the CNRS (in Paris, FR), the STS department at the University of Maastricht (NL), the University of Copenhagen (DK), and Cambridge (UK). She is currently guest-lecturer at the Royal Academy of Arts Copenhagen.
Most recently, Melissa created the Sounds Delicious Project to study sonic practices in everyday cooking (19th-21st Centuries), with initial study-cases in the Nordic countries and France. The project examines how thinking through sound can help craft new sensibilities to and alternative narratives of food production and environmental relations. Sound is part of what gives food its vitality. This project explores what turning an ear to food preparation reveals about the kinds of orientations, agencies, and knowledges that make up food, and the dynamic relationships between humans, nonhumans, and materials. Between 2018-2020 Sound Delicious was hosted at the Arts and Cultural Studies Department at the University of Copenhagen and received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 753565.