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Arts and culture | art_research_convergence

ARC Session Sounding Sonic Materialism

Monday 6 December 2021
Please find the link to the scheduled live stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyErYoh4fYc

Gabriel Paiuk

Due to Covid restrictions, this is an online event! Please find the link to the scheduled live stream, live from Studio LOOS, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyErYoh4fYc 


Although New Materialism – an interdisciplinary, theoretical field of research, emerging roughly around 2000, and spearheaded by thinkers such as Karen Barad, Rosi Braidotti, Jane Bennett, Manuel DeLanda, and Graham Harman – often uses terms like vibration and resonance – terms often used in the fields of music and sound studies – the connection with these fields is mostly absent or implicit at best. Christoph Cox and Salomé Voegelin have tried to fill this gap by coining the term Sonic Materialism. This ARC session will start with a brief theoretical introduction to Sonic Materialism before the focus will shift to the artistic contribution to this concept: how can/does it sound? What can sound/music “itself” contribute to the discourse and materialization of Sonic Materialism? How can Artistic Research make this Sonic Materialism audible and thinkable through sound?  

After an introduction by Marcel Cobussen, Professor of Auditory Culture at ACPA, the floor will be given to Gabriel Paiuk (sound artist and PhD candidate at ACPA), Richard Barrett, composer, performer and Professor of Creative Music Research at ACPA, and our main guest, musician, instrument builder, and theoretician Kevin Fairbairn, who graduated cum laude at Leiden University in 2020.

Marcel Cobussen

My presentation will consist of a very brief introduction to the world of Sonic Materialism. Sonic Materialism will not be categorized as a specific part of New Materialism. Instead, my claim will be that New Materialism actually builds upon concepts and experiences that belong to the realm of the sonic.

Marcel is Full Professor of Auditory Culture and Music Philosophy at Leiden University and the Orpheus Institute in Ghent. He studied jazz piano at the Conservatory of Rotterdam and Art and Cultural Studies at Erasmus University, Rotterdam (the Netherlands). Cobussen is author/editor of several books, among them Engaging With Everyday Sounds (forthcoming), and The Field of Musical Improvisation (LUP 2017), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sonic Methodologies (Bloomsbury 2020, co-editor Michael Bull) and editor-in-chief of the open access online Journal of Sonic Studies.

Gabriel Paiuk

In this presentation, the sound installation “Oscilación” (currently in progress) will be center stage. “Oscilación” – building upon previous works such as “Focus” and “Distance/Fiction” – deals with the ambiguous rendering of the spatial/material dimension of the sonorous, especially as it unfolds in the listener’s engagement with the material characteristics of the sound reproduction apparatus. 

Although the work of French philosopher Gilbert Simondon is not often labeled as New Materialism, his understanding of the sensorial as emerging out of processes of material co-individuation takes part in this same quest – in what could perhaps be considered as a non-substantialist materialism.

Along the path opened up by Simondon’s work, I conceive of acts of sound and music making as exploring how listening is formed inherently to the contingent process of synchronization and engagement. Rather than anchored in the privacy or willful disposition of the personal mind, I tackle the realm of listening as produced amidst collective, material, and technical configurations.

Gabriel is a composer and sound artist whose work focuses on the way notions, practices, and material aspects of sound mediation inform how listening occurs. His work takes the form of sound installations, compositions for instruments and electronics, and collaborations with other disciplines. He teaches at the Institute of Sonology (Den Haag) and is a PhD candidate in ACPA (LU). More information at www.gabrielpaiuk.com

Richard Barrett / photo credit: Manja Holodkov

Richard Barrett

My presentation will be called "The mind of the sound: thoughts on the computer as instrument” and will include a performance of my solo electronic piece hylozoon which takes its name from hylozoism, the idea that the basic substance of matter is in some sense alive - a “hylozoon” therefore denotes a living being composed of this basic substance, in this case a living being made of sound-substance. To an important degree the sound-forms assembled for a composition involving my own computer instrument constitute “material” in the sense of being the instrument rather than only coming into being at the nexus between player and physical interface. This instrument and its music thus bring the concept of sonic materialism into a particular kind of focus, which I’ll explore in my presentation.

Richard is a composer and performer whose work ranges from electronic music to symphony orchestra, often unifying intricately notated scores and free improvisation. He studied composition principally with Peter Wiegold and received his PhD from Leeds University in 2018 for his book Music of Possibility. He teaches at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and at ACPA where he is Professor of Creative Music Research.

Kevin Fairbairn

Kevin Fairbairn

Sound leaves marks on bodies, even as bodies mark the world with sound. My lecture-performance will explore the intimate connection between the vibrating media that embody a sonic impulse and the network of agencies that coalesce in its excitation. I will discuss recent work and present a performance demonstrating some possible avenues through which sound becomes juncture, suturing a disparate collection of pre-sounding moments to the vibrating media that subsequently resound.

Kevin is a sound artist and musician working around the edges of installation, improvisation, composition, and craftsmanship. He publishes about sound studies, artistic research, and musicology. He is an accomplished instrument builder and performs on a variety of instruments of his own design and construction. Kevin graduated cum laude from his PhD research at ACPA – Leiden University, on 11 June 2020.

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