Nothing Temporal Can Be Silent


Session Title:

  • Short Paper Presentations

Presentation Title:

  • Nothing Temporal Can Be Silent



  • The most underrated technological revolution to have ever happened has been the invention of the Phonograph. Prior to this momentous event no one had ever heard themselves before except through momentary echoes and reverberations. Sound is a vibration in the air registered by ear and brain. Sound waves produced by a late-twentieth century loudspeakers can be identical to those produced by the original source. A picture cannot be anything other than a picture. There is no ambivalence with objects. As Wittgenstein said, “Objects can only be named, signs are their representative, I can only speak about them; I cannot be put them into words,…”. Do we say what a sound is, or what it is of? If a sound comes from a loud speaker is it the sound of a loudspeaker? The moving image as it exists in time is automatically accompanied by ambient sound (machinery noise, doors, traffic, talking/breathing and so on) and sound from loudspeakers (the soundtrack) usually rendering the former inaudible.

    Processes of recording music (production/engineering) has produced particular sound quality which may be distinctive either as the identity of the artist(s) or as genre. Call signs, jingles and alert sounds are aural icons whose duration is insufficient to be experiential. Intellectual understanding of the aural domain is (understandably) impoverished. The development of visual/aural work is hindered by unconscious assumptions where thinking is dominated by language and the visual, and music is limited by instrumentality.