Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Mutable Audible – An Operative Ontology of the Sound Image

In his dissertation Gabriel Paiuk explores the variable ways in which what is heard is formed. To address this, he postulates a novel concept of sound image in a post-anthropocentric context in which both mind and material artefacts are instances across which the image occurs, rather than hosts on which the image is anchored.

Gabriel Paiuk

Gabriel Paiuk’s project Mutable Audible investigates how that which is heard – the audible – is formed as inherent to material, collective and technical circumstances. The audible is conceived as not exclusively bound to the private realm of the mind or the will of the individual listener, but as dependent on the diverse operations that inform how a sensorial engagement with sound takes place.

To account for the mutable character of the audible, Paiuk postulates a novel concept of sound image built upon the work of the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon. This notion is unhinged from previous uses of the term, namely those that define it as a visual surrogate or a mental representation. Rather, the image is conceived as a node in a cycle of functions that articulate a metastable relationship between sensing agent and milieu. The result of this reconsideration is twofold. On the one hand, the sound image is postulated as a tool to address the audible as a variable locus of engagement with the world. On the other, it unsettles assumptions that keep the image anchored to its traditional visual-centric forms and techniques and drives its transformation to encompass the realm of sound. 

Four artistic works constitute the experimental backbone of the dissertation, that explore how the audible is variably produced. In this context, the relational character of sound is reassessed, not anchored in the presumed stability of listening subjects and the projection of sound identities, but emerging within collective protocols, material configurations and technical infrastructures in which listening unfolds.

The public defence of Mutable Audible – An Operative Ontology of the Sound Image will take place in October 11th at 13:45 at the Academy Building, Rapenburg 73.

On the days prior to the defence, three of the artistic works developed by Gabriel Paiuk as part of his dissertation will be presented publicly.

Sound installation
On October 6th, 8th and 9th the sound installation Focus will be exhibited at The Grey Space in the Middle – Paviljoensgracht 20-24, 2512 BP Den Haag– from 14:00 till 20:00. On October 10th Focus will be open to the public from 15:00 to 17:00 and from 18:00 to 20:00. Read more about the installation here.

On October 10th, the works The Construction of an Imaginary Acoustic Space­ and Sound Theory (The Clouds) will be performed by the New European Ensemble and cellist Arne Deforce at the Conservatoriumzaal in Amare – Spuiplein 150, 2511 DG Den Haag, at 20:00. Read more about the concert here.

As an addendum to the Gabriel Paiuk’s doctoral promotion a brief symposium will take place on October 12th, comprising presentations by Colombian sound scholar and enthnomusicologist Ana María Ochoa Gautier (Tulane University) and French philosopher Cécile Malaspina (Collége International de Philosophie), followed by a round table discussion.

The work of Ana María Ochoa Gautier, primarily articulated in her work Aurality – Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth Century Colombia, is a fundamental landmark in articulating how listening unfolds inherently to singular cosmologies and how this occurs within non-western indigenous communities. Ochoa elaborates on how diverse “ontologies and epistemologies of the acoustic” are proper of “audile techniques, in which sound appears simultaneously as a force that constitutes the world and a medium for constructing knowledge about it” (Ochoa 2014, “Aurality”, p.3) Cécile Malaspina is the author of An Epistemology of Noise and principal translator of Gilbert Simondon's On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects. In her work, the notion of noise is explored in its emancipatory potential as understood across a range of realms, not tied to the domains of the acoustic or the visual but as a fundamental category for the reevaluation of how theories of knowledge can be articulated.

Read more about the symposium here.

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