Call: Sound, Art, Auditory Cultures-Deadline tomorrow

The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies, Literature, and the Arts organises a Conference on Sound, Art, Auditory Cultures” November 28-30 2007. The deadline to submit abstract is September 1st – tomorrow! For me, the most relevant aspect of interest for the conference is “The interplay between sound and spatial experience”. The keynotes sound very promising:

Sound, Art, Auditory Cultures

Organised by Søren Møller Sørensen, Torben Sangild, Erik Granly and Brandon LaBelle.

Venue: University og Copenhagen / Amager

Time: November 28-30

Registration: Please submit proposals/abstracts of 200 words for possible presentations by September 1st to Kirsten Zeuthen. The proposals will be reviewed by the conference organizers, and the applicant can expect an answer by September 15th.

The conference language is English. There is no fee for participating. Please note that we cannot offer financial or practical support for travel and accommodation. We will, however, be happy to provide letters of support for those applying for travel funds from their own institutions.

For further information, please contact Søren Møller Sørensen
or Brandon LaBelle.


The aim of the conference Sound, Art, Auditory Cultures is to further interdisciplinary research in aural experience. Experience of our environments through sound, and development of methods for culturally and historically informed research in this experience, are the central topics to be discussed.

Interdisciplinary sound studies can profit from a broad array of methodological approaches and from close interaction with contemporary music and sound art. Since the 1970s the soundscape movement has been engaged in the registration of quotidian auditory environments and in the same period the fertile practice of sound art has developed into a highly valuable laboratory for the investigation of sound’s multiple forms of presence and effect. In conjunction, sound continues to find a significant place within performance practice, with an emphasis on voice and its medial delivery (radio, cinema, etc), which forces continual consideration on acts of communication, social relations, and notions of identity. The current academic discourses on sound have developed through close dialogue with such sonic practices and media, which have been marked by a high degree of implicit theory.

This proximity of artistic and scholarly activity, combined with the shared focus on the instability of all attempted distinctions between sound as material for artistic construction and sound as conveyer of environmental information, also has shed new light on older layers of theory on sound and listening. This goes for the investigation of listening in the acousmatic situation (Pierre Schaeffer), for theory that accompanied the early stages of German electro-acoustic music (Werner Meyer-Eppler), not to mention the great 19th century tradition of acoustics and tone-perception (Hermann Helmholtz), and the extensive discussion of the significance of instrumental timbre in 19th century music theory and aesthetics.

We invite papers on all aspects of sound studies. But issues of particular interest are:

– The mediation of bodily presence and the role of the body in aural experience
– The voice and its mediations
– The interplay between sound and spatial experience
– The significance of instrumental timbre

Among many open questions to be dealt with are:

– How are the increasingly sophisticated techniques of sound recording, manipulation and transmission conditioning aural awareness of closeness and intimacy, while lending to the disruption and diffusion of such categories?
– Where might the aesthetical and thematic attributes of sound art aid in recognizing the features of what has been termed ‘the auditory turn’?
– How might sound and its inherent diversity inform extended interdisciplinary research?
– In what ways might dialogue onto the nature and behaviour of sound support understanding of the cultural and historical as mediated through listening?

Keynote Lecturers:

Christoph Cox, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Hampshire College:

Sound Art and the Ontology of the Audible

In this talk, I offer an ontology of sound (that is, an account of its being or nature) and argue that sound art plays a crucial role in revealing this ontology. Drawing from the philosophical work of John Cage, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Serres, and from sound artists such as Max Neuhaus, Christina Kubisch, and Stephen Vitiello, I argue for a conception of sound as a continuous, anonymous flux to which human expressions contribute but which precedes and exceeds these expressions. This sonic flux has two separate but related dimensions, a virtual dimension that I term “noise” and an actual dimension that consists of slices of this virtual continuum: linguistic utterances, musical performances, sound installations, etc. The richest works of sound art, I suggest, are unique among audible phenomena in that they help to disclose the virtual dimension of sound and its process of actualization. As such, they not only explore particular sonic forms and spaces but offer openings onto the domain of sound as such.


Allen S. Weiss, Associate Adjunct Professor, Performance Studies and Cinema Studies, NYU:

Impossible Audio Worlds

An investigation of the micro-structures of audiophonic representation will reveal not only new possibilities for describing real soundscapes and constructing possible fictive scenarios, but also for conceiving improbable and impossible worlds. As a case in point, this presentation will evoke several voyages through hell, and propose a new iconography of the Danse Macabre for the 21st century. The “choreography” of such an audiophonic dance of death shall be inspired by imaginary languages, montaged voices, and macabre mimesis.

Sabine Breitsameter, Professor at the Faculty of Media of Hochschule Darmstadt – University of Applied Sciences:

Sound Experience, Sound Culture, Sound Studies

According to the inherited concepts of culture and art, many of them rooted in the Enlightenment, sonic phenomena are to be perceived, categorized and analyzed – if ever – by paradigms closely related to music. As many acoustic figures and appearances (for example, spoken word or the sonic environment of everyday life) do not fit readily into musical categories, most sonic phenomena have been marginalized or even left out of cultural, artistic and academic discourses. To experience, understand and treat sonic phenomena as “sound” has been a recent process which is still taking shape. But why has it started and how has it progressed? This lecture aims to point out the role of media in the process of identifying “sound” as a category in its own right, which is able to integrate and reflect everything audible. It will also develop a perspective on how to build and establish an academic discipline of Sound Studies.


One response to “Call: Sound, Art, Auditory Cultures-Deadline tomorrow

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