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The Sonic Corpus

A materialist anthropology of sound

Holger Schulze

on 19 June 2016

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Transcript of The Sonic Corpus

The Sonic Corpus
A materialist
anthropology of sound

The Sonic Persona:

a materialist
anthropology of sound
Prof. Dr. Holger Schulze
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Sound Studies Lab

»Mechanical disturbance
from a state of equilibrium

that propagates
through an elastic
material medium.«

Encyclopaedia Britannica

»das Gespür« »felt sense«:

sonic persona
sonic fiction
»das auditive Dispositiv«
(Großmann 2008)
»un corps, c'est un tonus«
(Nancy 1991)

»claims about the
transhistorical and transcultural character
of the senses

often derive their support
from culturally and historically specific evidence

- limited evidence at that.«

Jonathan Sterne
The Audible Past
aural auditory sonic acoustic

corporeal conceptual

l’emporte sur l’écoute,

nous savons
comment lancer un son

et comment il se propage,
nous pouvons le relayer,

nous savons mal recevoir.«

Michel Serres
Les Cinq Sens

Jean-Louis Baudry

Cinéma: effets idéologiques
produits par l'appareil de base

in: Cinéthique 7-8, S. 1-8,
Paris 1970.
Steve Goodman:
Ontology of the vibrational force (2010)

»Un corps, c'est donc une tension.

Et l'origine grecque du mot
est »tonus«, le ton.
Un corps et un ton.

Et je ne dis rien là
qu'un anatomiste ne puisse approuver:

un corps, c'est un tonus.«

Jean-Luc Nancy

»If we subtract human perception, everything moves. [...]

All that is required is that an entity be felt
as an object by another entity.

All entities are potential media that can feel
or whose vibrations can be felt by other entities.« (83)

»Vibrations always exceed the actual entities that emit them. [...]

A vibratory nexus exceeds and precedes
the distinctionbetween subject and object,

constituting a mesh of relation
in which discreet entities
prehend each other’s vibrations.« (82)

»Pas de secret du corps
à nous communiquer,

et pas de corps secret
à nous révéler.

Ce qui est »révélé«,
c'est que les corps

sont plus visibles
que toute révélation.«

Jean-Luc Nancy

»An ontology of vibrational force
delves below a philosophy of sound
and the physics of acoustics

toward the basic processes
of entities affecting other entities.« (81)

»This ontology is concerned primarily
with the texturhythms of matter,
the patterned physicality of a musical beat or pulse,

sometimes imperceptible, sometimes [...] in some sensitive media,
such as water or sand,visible.« (83)

»Ces petites perceptions sont donc
de plus grande efficace
par leurs suites qu'on pense.

Ce sont elles qui forment ce je ne sais quoi,
ces goûts, ces images des qualités des sens,

claires dans l'assemblage,
mais confuses dans les parties,

ces impressions
que des corps environnants font sur nous,
qui enveloppent l'infini, cette liaison
que chaque être a avec tout le rest de l'univers.«

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain

»Ces perceptions insensibles
marquent encore et
constituent le même individue.«

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain

political critique

anthropological concepts

science history

The Flesh:

an experiential reality
of motions

The Apparatus:

a materialized imaginary
of listening
Helmholtz Fletcher Beranek
dispositif persona corpus
sensologies resistance generativity
»la sensologia«
(Perniola 1991)
beyond an anthropocentric notion of
practice of performance
so-called ready-felts
which format our individual sensibility
and our individual sensory experiences
»le percept«
(Deleuze/Guattari 1991)

tiny fissures:
loops, breaks, jumps

criticizing sensory practices

momentary lapses:
détours, violent corporeal ecstasy, amnesia

self-reflexive interventions

induced implosion:
by forced resonance,
by insisting on uncertainty,
by revising your own position

in this very moment

idiosyncratic sensory experiences

erratic proprioceptive effects

urgent desires, obsessions, disgust

source and affect
as cause and effect

»Start by listening to
the sounds of your body
while moving.

They are closest to you
and establish the first dialogue
between you and the environment.

If you can hear even the quietest of these sounds you are moving through an environment
which is scaled on human proportions.

In other words,
with your voice or your footsteps for instance,
you are »talking« to your environment

which then in turn responds
by giving your sounds
a specific acoustic quality.«

Hildegard Westerkamp
the individual sensorium as
being in motion, in tension,
erratic, performative, non-semiotic
the percept as
the a monist-materialist nexus
between motion and the sensorium
field research
critical analysis

source and affect
as cause and effect

imaginaria of the uncanny, of vertigo

collective dynamics of fears & desire

social cohesion & interpersonal tensions
Full transcript