Sung Tieu: Acousmatic Paranoia

Image courtesy Nottingham Contemporary and Till Gatheman
Image courtesy Nottingham Contemporary and Till Gatheman

Due to concerns around COVID-19, contributions to this event are available in a new Special Issue of The Contemporary Journal.

How do sonic frequencies redefine spaces of conflict? Can sonic fictions introduce new political possibilities and auditory imaginaries?

The second instalment of the symposia series Sonic Continuum, our long-term research strand investigating social architectures of time and practices of world-making through sound, features our exhibiting artist, Sung Tieu, thinkers and musicians to explore sonic warfare, and the psychoacoustic dimensions of fear.

Acousmatic Paranoia expands on Sung Tieu’s artistic practice, which questions geopolitics, sonic infrastructures and their factual ambiguity. In her talk, Tieu discusses her research on acoustic weaponry, from the “Ghost Tape 10,” an audio track used in the Vietnamese-American war, to “Havana Syndrome,” as well as their psychological, media and political aftermath. Tieu interrogates how journalistic language and advertising strategies, are used to convey political beliefs and discusses her first publication, co-published in collaboration with Haus der Kunst, Munich, in dialogue with Cédric Fauq, Exhibitions Curator at Nottingham Contemporary.

Talks by AUDINT members, Hyperdub founder Steve Goodman (Kode9), media scholar Toby Heys, and media theorist and sound artist Eleni Ikon, discuss uses of acoustic force and the sonic mobilisation of bodies in conflict scenarios, the near-future scenario of military research in hypersonicity and augmentations of audition to include the inaudible, informed by theories of post- and in-humanism.

Steve Goodman is an electronic musician (under the name Kode9), artist and writer. He has released three albums on the label Hyperdub which he founded in 2004, four mix compilations as well as numerous singles and remixes. He is the author of Sonic Warfare: sound, affect and the ecology of fear (2009) and he co-edited and contributed to AUDINT’s collection Unsound: Undead (2019).

Toby Heys is the Head of the School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University. He works with the AUDINT research unit which had its anthology Unsound: Undead (2019). His monograph Sound Pressure: How Sound Systems Influence, Manipulate and Torture was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2019.

Eleni Ikon is a writer, sonic artist and tutor at the Royal College of Art. She is editor of the Media Philosophy series (R&LI), co-editor of the recent anthology Unsound: Undead (Urbanomic), and member of the audio research collective AUDINT.

Sung Tieu is a Vietnamese-born, Berlin and London-based artist whose practice spans a range of media, predominantly installation, sound, moving image, sculpture, and photography. She assembles and brings together a rich vocabulary from journalism, archival research and conceptual art traditions into nuanced and layered exhibitions and moments of display. Her work contends with notions of history and analyses transnational movements of both people and objects—be it through the investigation of diaspora communities or the commercial, hyper accelerated ways that global capitalism is reproduced. Writing as research process and as medium is a recurrent thread in her practice. Current solo exhibitions include Zugzwang at Haus der Kunst, Munich and In Cold Print at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham. Forthcoming exhibitions include the 34th São Paulo Biennial; Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; GAMeC, Bergamo; Kunstmuseum Bonn; 1st Prague Biennale and Emalin Gallery, London.

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