The Order of Sounds: A Sonorous Archipelago

Francois J. Bonnet

The subtlety, complexity, and variety of modes of hearing has meant that it has rarely received the same philosophical attention as the visual. Francois J. Bonnet makes a compelling case for the irreducible heterogeneity of ‘sound’, navigating between physical models of sound and the synthetic production of ‘what is heard’. From primitive vigilance and sonic mythologies to digital sampling and sound installations, he examines the ways in which we make sound speak to us, in an analysis drawing on Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Barthes, Nancy, and Adorno. Listening is always a selective fetishism, a ‘hallucination of sound’ filtered by desire and convention, territorialized by discourse and its authorities. Bonnet proposes neither a disciplined listening that targets sound ‘itself’, nor an ‘ocean of sound’ in which we might lose ourselves, instead mapping out a ‘sonorous archipelago’-a heterogeneous set of shifting sonic territories shaped by the vicissitudes of desire and discourse.