Interference Journal Issue 6

We are delighted to present a guest-edited issue of the Interference Journal. The editors Fernando Iazzetta, Lílian Campesato and Rui Chaves present Out of Phase, a selection of papers from the Sonologia 2016: Out of Phase conference. I would like to thank the team of editors at the Interference Journal, Tony Doyle, Rob McKay, Kate Carr, Brian Bridges and Stephen Roddy for finalising this latest issue.

Editor in Chief, Linda O Keeffe

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This special edition (6th issue) of Interference: A Journal of Audio Cultures, edited by Fernando Iazzetta, Lílian Campesato and Rui Chaves, comprises of a peer-reviewed [1] selection of papers that were previously presented at the Sonologia 2016: Out of Phase conference. [2] This sound studies focused event took place in São Paulo, between the 22nd to the 25th of November (2016). The conference garnered a positive interest from a diverse set of researchers. In total, we had over 160 submissions in which we ended up selecting 40 presentations from 14 different countries that covered a wide array of areas and disciplines.

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A feedback-loop between electroacoustic devices and my own perception resulted in the ‘discovery’ of something that had been in front of me all the time. By using the concept of technographic traces, I attempt to describe processes in which technologies reveal some sort of subjectivity. Drawing analogies with the rocking of trains, and altered states of consciousness, as in Paul Valéry’s prose and in Cartesian rationalism, the main objective is to testify, again, on technology’s role in shaping perception and understanding.

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This paper tracks the development of loudspeaker broadcasting system for African listeners in South Africa, in the 1940s. The paper argues that although such development seemed to take place under the constraints of Second World War recruitments, however in the realm of listening, it was extending on previous listening techniques (related to the inkomo, cow, a key object in Bantu-speaking cultures of Africa); it drew on commemorative forms; etc. and the fact that it had to draw on such commemorative forms for its viability demonstrates it reliance on historical antecedents (albeit caricatured in form), that demonstrated at once the resilience of the past, as well as its incomprehensibility in relation to colonial/segregationist conditions of governance. In this way the paper is a contribution to sound theory, in terms of the elaboration of listening as a category by which we come to know the world we live in, from African perspectives.

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The extended meaning of solfège in Pierre Schaeffer’s theoretical and artistic work is briefly introduced. Then, Gilbert Simondon’s philosophical ideas are summarised, and their potential contribution to the field of sound studies is discussed. Simondon’s concepts of ‘individuation’, ‘transduction’, ‘information’, ‘modulation’ and others are presented, as well as his main critical analysis of the hylomorphic perspective. Simondon’s attempt to seek a more congruous and well-balanced coupling between human and technical beings is corroborated, and this corroboration supports the contention that this approach to sonic practices demands a ‘solfège of technical objects’ that may have political and ethical consequences, as well as theoretical and artistic reverberations relative to how we deal with sounds.

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This paper addresses the possibility of an epistemological shift in the praxis of sonic philosophy through the transposition of the concept of sound from the speculative regime of panaurality to that of aural specificity. The discussion gravitates around a critique of theoretical assumptions automatically imported by sonic philosophies when gravitating around the notion of ‘sound itself’, either to affirm and to deny it. The discussion explores this hypothesis through the description of a conceptual and problematic framework operating in contemporary philosophies centred on issues of particularity, becoming, processes and individuation. The main point here is that the binary theoretical distribution around the notion of ‘sound itself’ is detrimental to sonic philosophy, in the extent that it submits speculation to generalist terms, which in turn prevents the analytical agency on sound to engage more deeply and accurately with issues of locality and specificity.

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Composition for Temple Speakers is part of a series of site specific sound works and associative writings that explore multiple valences of contemporary devotional practices. It was made for a Shiva/Sai Baba temple in Bangalore, India. This essay reflects on the ways in which this composition responds to a contested social and spatial context from a position of being with/in. It also reflects on the ways in which this composition relates to tacit notions about noise and listening in acoustic ecology and noise music.

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In this paper, I would like to provide initial thoughts on the unattended dimension of sound within the visual culture of the early and current HIV/AIDS activism, investigating the queer-affective potential of sound as well as its unintended impediments for past and present protest-mobilization strategies.

Sound constitutes an escapade — a wilful departure from mainstream debates about the western video-art and activism of ACT UP! I would like to relate the transgressive politics of ACT UP! to both the movement’s wilful tones, screams and noises (i.e. Sound Escapade), as well as to the queer political nature of its silences (Sound-Escape). Through a selection of activist and artistic works this paper seeks to analyse the possible role the soundscape of ACT UP! might have played during the early AIDS Crisis, and the subsequent implications for the current imagination and diverging cultures of remembrance.

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In this article, I discuss the notion of sonority from the perspective of musical composition. I place the notion of sonority, not as a concept circumscribed in analysis and composition theories that take sound as a thing and handle it from its parameterisation, but rather as an idea of a more dynamic and holistic nature. Thus, sonority is repositioned from listening: not a reduced one, but instead an enlarged listening; not purely cochlear, nor tympanic, but sensitive, affective, and imaginative. Sonority is understood, thus, from the notion of experience. To build this reflection, I especially dialogue with three Brazilian researchers/composers: Denise Garcia, Rodolfo Caesar and Silvio Ferraz. Throughout the article, the notion of sonority is reflected upon through comments on my piece for orchestra, A menina que virou chuva [The girl who became rain] (2013).

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This paper proposes to reflect on the production of experimental electronic music mediated by mobile devices. The definition of Mobile Music is somewhat vague; among different classifications – which could be considered more open or closed characterizations of the genre – we can find something in common: the significance of movement, or the willingness of displacement. The release of corporate mobile devices at the end of the last decade, such as smartphones and tablets, caused a drastic change in the perspectives within the genre: artists and researchers started to give much more attention to objects of consumption, rather than situations in which mobile sound could be experienced. Having this turning point in mind we could consider that Mobile Music started working much closer to the market logic and became more dependent on it, due to the adoption of commercial devices as well as researchers interested in developing new products. Thus, in this text we speculate about other alternatives to practices of Mobile Music, which could be somehow considered more critical.

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Over the last fifty years, Sound Art has found a growing prominence among artists, interest among curators and importance in the contemporary art world. Despite this situation, the category continues to sit uncomfortably within the space of Western art galleries and museums. Ongoing attempts to remediate official art histories, the visual logic of exhibition spaces and institutional practices toward Sound Art on the whole have been lacking. Therefore, the need for a productive method of Sound Art curation remains. This paper makes a first attempt toward describing such a method. It approaches the topic through a critical examination of selected Sound Art survey exhibitions and group shows staged within Western arts institutions over the last twenty years. The resulting analysis gives definition to the territory within which curatorial strategies can claim potentially productive practices, thereby arriving at a set of notes to the curator toward a gallerisation of Sound Art.

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This paper explores how literature has been incorporated into sound studies in recent decades. Although the mobilisation of literary texts for the purpose of investigating sound and listening predates the establishment of a field of inquiry named sound studies, as Pierre Schaeffer’s Traité des objets musicaux exemplifies, the rise of this field of research brought about completely new forms of dealing with literary accounts of sound and listening. If, for a long time, literary narratives fell short of engendering a theory of sound and listening of their own, serving mostly to exemplify theories and meditations exogenous to them, several studies on sound use literature for theoretical purposes other than exemplification. Focusing on four different uses of literature by sound studies scholars, this paper aims to indicate how varied can be the uses of literature for thinking sound and listening.

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