The amount of books around sound and listening keeps growing. Here are three new titles recently added to our sonic bookshelf:
The Listening Reader
Edited by Sam Belinfante and Joseph Kohlmaier
Available at Cours de Poétique for £15.00.
“Studies in sound continue to emerge as a dynamic field spanning multiple disciplines, from sociology to literature, technology to aesthetics, musicology to gender, and crossing over between theory and practice, academic scholarship and artistic projects. The intensity of such a range of disciplines and discourses gives compelling suggestion for paradoxically understanding sound as more than an object of study, and it is this more than which interests me.”
– Brandon LaBelle, ‘Lecture on shared space’
The Listening Reader brings together a number of essays that explore the role of sound and listening in the context of contemporary art. They engage with the specific timbre that the act of listening, and the paradigm of sound bring to the practice of artists; how this paradigm is present within a broader discourse, including the creative arts, sciences, philosophy and politics; and how art that begins with, or requires listening circulates in the world of the art gallery.
The texts in this anthology emerged from conversations, talks, and performances by a number of artists, curators, and writers whose work was presented at, or contributed to the making and public programme of Listening, a Hayward Curatorial Open exhibition that toured the UK from September 2014 to March 2016. It includes previously unpublished essays and contributions from Ed Atkins, Sam Belinfante, Mikhail Karikis, Joseph Kohlmaier, Brandon LaBelle, Ed McKeon, Imogen Stidworthy and Laure Prouvost.
The Order of Sounds
Written by François J. Bonnet and translated by Robin Mackay
Available at Urbanomic for £14.99.
Profoundly intimate yet immediately giving onto distant spaces, both an ‘organ of fear’ and an echo chamber of anticipated pleasures, an uncontrollable flow subject to unconscious selection and augmentation, the subtlety, complexity, and variety of modes of hearing has meant that sound has rarely received the same philosophical attention as the visual.
In The Order of Sounds, François J. Bonnet makes a compelling case for the irreducible heterogeneity of ‘sound’, navigating between the physical models constructed by psychophysics and refined through recording technologies, 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 of listening as a plurivocal phenomenon drawing on Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Barthes, Nancy, Adorno, and de Certeau, and experimental pioneers such as Tesla, Bell, and Raudive. Stringent critiques of the ‘soundscape’ and ‘reduced listening’ demonstrate that univocal ontologies of sound are always partial and politicized; for listening is always a selective fetishism, ahallucination 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, but instead maps out a sonorous archipelago—a heterogeneous set of shifting sonic territories shaped and aggregated by the vicissitudes of desire and discourse.
Sonic Rupture: A Practice-led Approach to Urban Soundscape Design
Written by Jordan Lacey
Available at Bloomsbury and other stores (including digital) for $110 (hardcover).
Sonic Rupture applies a practitioner-led approach to urban soundscape design, which foregrounds the importance of creative encounters in global cities. This presents an alternative to those urban soundscape design approaches concerned with managing the negative health impacts of noise. Instead, urban noise is considered to be a creative material and cultural expression that can be reshaped with citywide networks of sonic installations.
By applying affect theory the urban is imagined as an unfolding of the Affective Earth, and noise as its homogenous (and homogenizing) voice. It is argued that noise is an expressive material with which sonic practitioners can interface, to increase the creative possibilities of urban life. At the heart of this argument is the question of relationships: how do we augment and diversify those interconnections that weave together the imaginative life and the expressions of the land?
The book details seven sound installations completed by the author as part of a creative practice research process, in which the sonic rupture model was discovered. The sonic rupture model, which aims to diversify human experiences and urban environments, encapsulates five soundscape design approaches and ten practitioner intentions. Multiple works of international practitioners are explored in relation to the discussed approaches.
Sonic Rupture provides the domains of sound art, music, creative practice, urban design, architecture and environmental philosophy with a unique perspective for understanding those affective forces, which shape urban life. The book also provides a range of practical and conceptual tools for urban soundscape design that can be applied by the sonic practitioner.