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On Nonhuman Sound: Sound as Relation

Georgina Born, Oxford University

May 3, 2019 · 3:00 pm5:00 pm · 106 Woolworth

Department of Music, D David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project

Georgina Born, Professor of Music and Anthropology at Oxford University and Professorial Fellow of Mansfield College, will present “On Nonhuman Sound: Sound as Relation.” How should we conceptualize sound? Does the conceptualization of sound as an object reify and detach what are inherently fluid and relational sonic processes? In this lecture, by relating two auto-ethnographic stories, one ordinary, the other life-changing, Prof. Born points to the affective subjectification of humans by nonhuman sound. In abandoning the language of the sound object, she contends that we become attuned to the human-and-more-than-human assemblages through which sound is both produced and experienced. This exercise, through sound, connects to recent thinking that places the nonhuman in symmetrical relation to the human, for sound is both co-produced nonhumanly—as an apparently independent physical process, ‘object’ or ‘actor’—and yet also transubstantiates affectively and culturally into human experience.

This colloquium is part of the “Sound Knowledges” series, a Humanities Council Magic Project curated by Gavin Steingo.

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