Sonic Continuum

Steffani Jemison, Récitatif (What if we need new words), 2017. Research image. Courtesy the artist

Our research strand, Sonic Continuum, investigates practices of world-making through sound, both as a force that constitutes the world and a medium for producing knowledge about it. Thinking through sound, silence and speech, whose voices are heard, who listens, and by what means, Sonic Continuum, explores the sonic as the articulation of tempos and cycles of time.

This multi-platform, long-term research strand includes new issues of The Contemporary Journal, a rolling talks programme, symposia series and a writer in residence as well as new digital and movement-based commissions, study sessions and poetry that draw on sound to narrate historical and contemporary global processes. Imagining how listening might exceed existing frameworks of representation, Sonic Continuum brings together cross-disciplinary contributions towards another poetics of time.

The sonic offers a multidirectional form of social experience against the law-like authority of clock-time, set alongside the evolutionary tempos and rhythms of extinction as well as everyday metabolic processes and broader socio-political chronologies. By assembling multiple, overlapping timeframes, it proposes rhythm as a relational language, and conjoins our senses with the unsound, the not-yet audible, and the silenced for imagining new solidarities, aural alliances and forms of attunement. Playing with notions of voice and address, it attends to the grammars that shape our differential experiences of the world, and asks: can sound restitute failures to listen? How might we listen to time affectively? What auditory imaginaries and possible futures can listening unfold?

Sonic Continuum expands on the event series The Violence of Abstraction between March and July 2019, and questions how conjoining our hearing senses with the unsound, the not-yet audible, and the silent, projects imaginative modes of resistance, aural alliances and forms of attunement.

Sonic Continuum is curated by Sofia Lemos and assisted by Ryan Kearney.


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