Time for Sound


Session Title:

  • Digital Aesthetics

Presentation Title:

  • Time for Sound



  • As Terry Eagleton and Susan Buck-Morss analysed, aesthetics is … a discourse of the body…a form of cognition, achieved through taste, touch, hearing seeing, smell — the whole corporeal sensorium.’ (Susan Buck-Morss, “Aesthetics and Anaesthetics”, new formations, Summer, 1993, p.125). Sound has a capacity for a particular sort of affect and effect, moving past the. interface, through time and into the body of the user, speaking directly and viscerally to the imagination. But, with the valorisation of speed in multimedia aesthetics and kinaesthetics, there is less and less time for sound. Using a number of works as examples, this paper argues that a central concern for new media aesthetics is to rekindle the sense of hearing, to revitalise listening – not necessarily to replace sight as dominant, but to let the different media and the senses rub against each other. This is essential in any experimental art work aiming to do more than reproduce existing forms and aesthetics – aiming to shift perception. The paper also asks what sort of listening bodies are being habituated, produced by new media? What are the techniques and aesthetics of sound in multimedia and how are they reconfiguring the senses?