Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Towards a Materialist Conception of Sound as Thing

  • Luc Döbereiner (a1)

Abstract

This article proposes a conception of sound as the material of artistic experimentation. It centres on a discussion of the nature of sound’s ontological status and aims to contribute to a new understanding of the role of materiality in artistic practices. A central point of discussion is Pierre Schaeffer’s notion of the sound object, which is critically examined. The phenomenological perspective that underlies the concept of the sound object depicts sound as an ideal unity constituted by a subject’s intentionality. Thus, it can barely grasp the physicality of sounds and their production or their reality beyond individual perception. This article aims to challenge the notion of the sound object as a purely perceptual phenomenon while trying to rethink experimentation as a practical form of thought that takes place through interacting with sonorous material. Against the background of recent object-oriented and materialist philosophical theories and by drawing on the Heideggerian concept of the thing and Gilbert Simondon’s theories of perception and individuation, this article strives to outline a conception of sound as a non-symbolic otherness. The proposed idea of thingness revolves around a morphogenetic conception of the becoming of sonorous forms that links their perception to their physicality.

Copyright

Corresponding author

References

Hide All
Adorno, T. W. 1997. Quasi Una Fantasia: Essays on Modern Music. London: Verso.
Brown, B. 2001. Thing Theory. Critical Inquiry 28(1): 122.
Cox, C. 2011. Beyond Representation and Signification: Toward a Sonic Materialism. Journal of Visual Culture 10(2): 145–61.
Dolar, M. 2006. A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
Emmerson, S. 1986. The Relation of Language to Materials. In Emmerson, S. (ed.) The Language of Electroacoustic Music. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Eyers, T. 2012. Lacan and the Concept of the Real. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hainge, G. 2013. Noise Matters: Towards an Ontology of Noise. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
Harman, G. 2005. Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things. La Salle, IL: Open Court.
Harman, G. 2011. The Quadruple Object. Winchester: Zero Books.
Heidegger, M. 1971. Poetry, Language, Thought. Trans. A. Hofstadter. New York: Harper & Row.
Heidegger, M. 2002. Off the Beaten Track. Ed. and trans. J. Young and K. Haynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hui, Y. 2016. On the Existence of Digital Objects. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Husserl, E. 2001. Logical Investigations, Volume 1. Trans. J. N. Findlay. Abingdon: Routledge.
Ingold, T. 2007. Against Soundscape. In Carlyle, A. (ed.) Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practice. Paris: Double Entendre.
Lacan, J. 1993. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book III: The Psychoses 1955–1956. Ed. Miller, J.-A., trans. R. Grigg. London: Routledge.
Mills, S. 2014. Gilbert Simondon: Causality, Ontogenesis and Technology. PhD thesis, University of the West of England, Bristol.
Morton, T. 2007. Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Rheinberger, H.-J. 2009. Epistemic Objects/Technical Objects. In Rheinberger, H.-J., Feest, U. and Abel, G. (eds.) Epistemic Objects. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.
Schaeffer, P. 2017. Treatise on Musical Objects: An Essay across Disciplines. Trans. J. Dack and C. North. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Di Scipio, A. 2014. Sound Object? Sound Event! Ideologies of Sound and the Biopolitics of Music. Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology 13(1): 1014.
Scott, D. 2014. Gilbert Simondon’s Psychic and Collective Individuation: A Critical Introduction and Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Simondon, G. 1989. L’individuation psychique et collective. Paris: Aubier.
Smalley, D. 1986. Spectro-morphology and Structuring Processes. In Emmerson, S. (ed.) The Language of Electroacoustic Music. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Solomos, M. 2013. De la musique au son: L’émergence du son dans la musique des XIXe–XXIe siècles. Rennes: PU Rennes.
Szendy, P. 2016. Phantom Limbs: On Musical Bodies. Trans. W. Bishop. New York: Fordham University Press.
Teruggi, D. 2007. Technology and Musique Concrète: The Technical Developments of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales and Their Implication in Musical Composition. Organised Sound 12(3): 213–31.
Valéry, P. 2016. Collected Works of Paul Valery, Volume 14: Analects. Trans. S. Gilbert. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Wanke, R. 2017. The Emergence of an Ecstatic-Materialist Perspective as a Cross-Genre Tendency in Experimental Music. Organised Sound 22(3): 428–36.
Wishart, T. 1996. On Sonic Art, rev. edn. Ed. Emmerson, Simon. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed