Sound, Media, and Modern Culture: An Introduction to Sound Studies and Sonic Arts

Prof. Dr. Sabine Sanio
Sound, Media, and Modern Culture: An Introduction to Sound Studies and Sonic Arts

Lecture in English, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS, open
Mondays, 15-17 h, weekly starts 21.10.2019, Lietzenburger Str. 45, room 314

This lecture offers an introduction to contemporary positions of sound studies and the sonic arts. We will cover theoretical and scholarly key questions of sound studies, a still young academic discipline, as well as aesthetical and musical topics of sonic arts, being slightly older. Parallels and differences between scholarly and artistic approaches can be easily demonstrated on the basis of central topics to both disciplines.
In particular these are the aesthetics and history of (audio-) media, which have caused radical changes in listening, the production of music, and have enabled the spawning of new genres such as the sonic arts. The different effects of audio-media are one of the central topics of both sound studies and sonic arts. One of these effects is the radical dissolution of the musical, nowadays being almost location-independent. The result is a profound transformation of the musical performance: music is not only produced anywhere but also transferred to any desired location. It has become mobile in itself and therefore accompanies us during all undertakings, no matter how long or short the paths connected may be.
Audio-media have not only influenced the musical performance practice and the places where we listen to music, but also our listening and listening habits. These changes must not only be understood in the context of a modified sound production but the alterations in listening have to also be examined in relation to our other senses.
The lecture will go over these different developments on the basis of exemplary concepts and works of the sonic arts and discuss the changes for the self-image of musicology, which have arisen and given rise to sound studies. It will also offer a broad overview of aesthetic positions of sonic arts and contemporary theories of sound studies. We will investigate exactly how sound studies as a young discipline, may position itself in relation to its two most important theoretical and scholarly reference systems – cultural studies and systematic musicology.

Supporting Media
Bull, Michael, and Les Back, eds: The Auditory Culture Reader, 2nd edition, London, New York Bloomsbury 2015.
Cox, Christoph, and Warner, Daniel, eds: Audio Culture. Revised Edition. Reading in Music. London, New York Bloomsbury 2017.
Daniels, Dieter, and Naumann, Sandra, eds: See this Sound: Audiovisuology: A Reader, 2nd edition, Köln, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2015.
Dolar, Mladen: A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press 2006.
Kahn, Douglas. Noise, Water, Meat. A History of Sound in the Arts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.
Kane, Brian: Sound Unseen. Acousmatic Sound in Theory and Practice, Oxford, Oxford University Press 2016.
Caleb, Kelly: Cracked Media. The Sound of Malfunction. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press 2009.
Seth, Kim-Cohen: In the Blink of an Ear. Towards a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art. London, New York, Bloomsbury 2009.
Schimmel, Paul, ed.: Out of Actions. Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Thames and Hudson, 1998.

Sabine Sanio,  geboren 1958, studierte Germanistik und Philosophie, Promotion, lebt in Berlin, seit 1991 zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen, Radiosendungen und Vorträge zur aktuellen Ästhetik, insbesondere zur Medientheorie und -ästhetik, zu Phänomenen in den Grenzgebieten der Künste sowie zur Idee ästhetischer Erfahrung. Zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen, Radiosendungen und Vorträge zur neuen Musik, zum Verhältnis von Kunst und Medien sowie zur Ästhetik des 20. Jahrhunderts.