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soundhelmets

I came across this fascinating project Hearing Modernity at Harvard. Speakers include Brian Massumi and Jonathan Sterne both of whom have been very influential for my own work. Link to the site, including a blog and many audio-visul features.

Here the announcement text:

Sound, fleeting and immaterial, has long proved resistant to academic inquiry. Faced with the impenetrable difficulty of pinning down sounds themselves, scholars have largely focused on written texts (instead of spoken words), while musicians have largely focused on notes (instead of sounds). In recent years, however, a number of very promising approaches from a variety of fields, which often bridge the arts and the sciences, have sprung up and have begun to capture this phenomenon in its wider context.

The 2013/14 John E. Sawyer seminar “Hearing Modernity” explores the world of sound studies. As the humanities turn away from the predominance of the visual domain and start exploring other sensory modalities, as the arts turn away from their traditional preoccupation with the work concept and toward a heightened appreciation of ecologies and soundscapes, and as the self-imposed limitations of C. P. Snow’s “Two Cultures” become ever more apparent, sound studies emerges as a new field that responds to multiple challenges at once.

Massumi’s talk MOTIVE COMMOTION AFFECT, INCIPIENT ACTION, AND THE INFRA- OF EXPERIENCE to be delivered on April 13, 2014 is for sure going to be a highlight.

Abstract:
It is a common feature of process-oriented philosophies to underline the formative role of nonconscious perceptions in emergent experience. This talk will propose a set of concepts for understanding this subthreshold incipience of experience, drawing from the work of such authors as A.N. Whitehead, Henri Bergson, C.S. Peirce, Raymond Ruyer and Suzanne Langer, as well as recent empirical research on perceptual “priming.” Special attention will be given to the interrelatedness of the senses at this level, with the emphasis on the often neglected sense of proprioception. Notions of “schema” and “body image,” which tend to overlay onto the emergent level of experience cognitive and perceptual models derived from conscious perception, will be avoided in favor of a vocabulary privileging the categories directly concerned with incipient activity (activation, animation, potentiation), orientation (tendency), and affect (directly lived quality of activity). The concepts proposed will revolve in particular around models for emergent experience modeled loosely on musical notions, as in the case of Bergson, Ruyer, Langer.

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