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  • A sonic theory unsuitable for human consumption

Ikoniadou, Eleni, 2017, Journal Article, A sonic theory unsuitable for human consumption Parallax, 23 (3). pp. 252-265. ISSN 1353-4645

Abstract or Description:

The past decade has seen the proliferation of scholarly work on audio culture by philosophers, sociologists, ethnographers, musicologists, anthropologists, and others. There is now a range of histories and ethnographies on listening and on the soundscape, and a proliferation of epistemological, methodological, and cultural investigations of the sonic. At the same time, as John Kieffer notes, sound art is fast becoming “the new kid on the cultural block” (2010).

Different writers have engineered different conceptual approaches for studying the sonic. These voices are symptomatic of a body of work that has developed as a way of reacting against the primacy of Cartesian reason, looking for ways of escaping the Western tendency to measure, calculate and represent everything. They offer strategies for defending and resurrecting the nullified senses, like hearing, which must no longer surrender to the tyranny of ocularcentrism. However, the belated recognition of sound as a valid academic object of study and art discipline, often risks fetishizing the sonic and repeating the same ideological separations between sound and image, body and mind. Moreover, refreshing as they may be, they are too often confined within a human-centred position and interested in predominantly addressing the phenomenal experience of sound.

This article wishes to discuss alternative schemas daring to go beyond the audiophile anthropocentric angle. It mainly draws on Kodwo Eshun’s unconventional method of ‘sonic fiction’ (1998), in order to argue for the value of developing a sound theory that brings together speculative philosophy, science fiction, and experimental audio art. Ultimately, it attempts to explore how such ‘a sonic intervention into thought’ (Goodman, 2010) can drag us away from the sociopolitical and historical organisation of sound and toward the vicinity of a more ‘unreal state’, where the boundaries between fiction and theory are provisional and utterly permeable.

Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/135346...
Subjects: Other > Technologies > J900 Others in Technology
Other > Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W190 Fine Art not elsewhere classified
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Communication
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13534645.2017.1339966
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2018 15:58
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 14:32
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3663

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