Voices and Noises: Encountering the Materiality of Sound; CFP

Voices and Noises: Encountering the Materiality of Sound

Two Day Interdisciplinary Conference, November 14-15, 2008


Organized by the Institute for Art Research, University of Helsinki, Doctoral Study Programme for Performing  Arts in Finland, and the Finnish Academy research group Encounters in Art and Philosophy.

The last few decades of experimental music, sound design and audio art have encouraged listeners to become  attentive to the materiality of sound. At the same time, new forms of poetry, theatre, performance,  installation, video, etc. have explored various dimensions of voice – human and non-human.

However, philosophy of art remains, in general, situated within the paradigms of the textual and the visual.  Likewise, in theories of music and language there is a tendency to approach them primarily as systems  composed of signs, whether formal or cultural. Is there a way to approach sound as sound and conceptualise  the materiality of sound through theoretical apparatus? Further, what are the philosophical implications of  approaching the world as acoustic rather than visual or semantic environment? On what ground do thought and  sound collide?

The conference Voices and Noises: Encountering the Materiality of Sound wishes to address the question of  sound’s material dimension and its relation to the symbolic and the communicative. Similarly, philosophical  explorations of the acoustic perspective lead us to the issues of processuality, change and flux.

How has the materiality of sound been explored in philosophy and literature? How have various recording  technologies affected sound production and listening? What is the aural dimension of language? Why are some  sounds considered as noise whereas some are voices (of reason)? Does sound denote immersion, inclusion and  indistinctness? How is the acoustic soundscape related to the visual landscape? Is there a need for acoustic  ecology?

The organisers of this interdisciplinary conference encourage presentations of 30 minutes, academic as well  as artistic, upon the subjects laid out above and related to them. The proposed presentations can take the  form of traditional academic papers, artists’ talks or performances.

Please send a brief abstract (max. 300 words) outlining your presentation, and including your institutional  affiliation and contact information, by June 30, 2008 to voicesandnoises (at) gmail.com