Curated by Sofia Lemos and assisted by Ryan Kearney, Sonic Continuum is a programme and research project at Nottingham Contemporary, dedicated to investigate “practices of world-making through sound, both as a force that constitutes the world and a medium for producing knowledge about it. Thinking through sound, silence and speech, whose voices are heard, who listens, and by what means, Sonic Continuum, explores the sonic as the articulation of tempos and cycles of time.”
This long-term research strand includes listening sessions, performance, new sound commissions, a symposia series, a writer in residence, study sessions, podcasts, yoga and more, investigating how listening might exceed existing frameworks of representation. It brings together cross-disciplinary contributions that use sound to narrate historical and contemporary global processes as means to rethink regressive populism and towards a poetics of the future beyond neoliberal regimes of extraction and dispossession.
The sonic offers a multidirectional form of social experience against the law-like authority of clock-time, set alongside the evolutionary tempos and rhythms of extinction as well as everyday metabolic processes and broader socio-political chronologies. By assembling multiple, overlapping timeframes, it proposes rhythm as a relational language, and conjoins our senses with the unsound, the not-yet audible, and the silenced for imagining new solidarities, aural alliances and forms of attunement. Playing with notions of voice and address, it attends to the grammars that shape our differential experiences of the world, and asks: can sound restitute failures to listen? How might we listen to time affectively? What auditory imaginaries and possible futures can listening unfold?
Sonic Continuum expands on the event series The Violence of Abstraction between March and July 2019, and questions how conjoining our hearing senses with the unsound, the not-yet audible, and the silent, projects imaginative modes of resistance, aural alliances and forms of attunement.
Histories of Listening – 28-29 March 2020 ─ Listens to the compositions of time at play in the interconnected biosocial rhythms of human, vegetal and mineral lives. Departing from global histories of labour, it investigates how the complex of time emerged out of colonial encounters and how the pulsing rhythms of colonial modernity are central to capitalist modes of production.
Acousmatic Paranoia – 25 April 2020 ─ An afternoon of talks and performances on the occasion of Sung Tieu’s exhibition In Cold Print. It explores the materiality of sound through historical and contemporary manifestations of sonic warfare, focusing on the psychoacoustic dimensions of fear. Expanding on the artist’s practice through the lens of geopolitics, sonic infrastructure and their factual ambiguity, the event seeks to reflect on the way resonant frequencies can redefine spaces of conflict by introducing political possibilities and auditory imaginaries.
Listening as Critique – 27-28 June 2020 ─ Explores sonic modes of knowing and being that evade or refuse representation, transparency and legibility. Departing from the afterlives of slavery and enduring legacies of colonialism, to anticolonial liberation struggles and international solidarity networks, it listens to how musical forms, languages and sensibilities are transformed by transnational movements.
Expanded Listening – 23-24 October 2020 ─ Explores sonic modes of knowing and being that evade or refuse representation, transparency and legibility. Departing from the afterlives of slavery and enduring legacies of colonialism, to anticolonial liberation struggles and international solidarity networks, it listens to how musical forms, languages and sensibilities are transformed by transnational movements.
Let’s hope they record/stream them!
More info at Nottingham Contemporary