“Bigger than Words, Wider than Pictures”: Noise, Affect, Politics

full name / name of organization: 
University of Salford and Islington Mill
contact email: 
B.Halligan@Salford.ac.uk

Call for Participation:

“Bigger than Words, Wider than Pictures”: Noise, Affect, Politics

University of Salford and Islington Mill, July 1-3 2010

Organising Committee:

Dr Michael Goddard, Dr Benjamin Halligan and Professor David Sanjek

“If there are people that are dumb enough to use Metallica to interrogate prisoners, you're forgetting about all the music that's to the left of us. I can name 30 Norwegian death metal bands that would make Metallica sound like Simon and Garfunkel.” – Lars Ulrich

“… this music can put a human being in a trance like state and deprive it of the sneaking
feeling of existing, ’cos music is bigger than words and wider than pictures… if the stars had a sound it would sound like this.” – Mogwai, “Yes! I Am a Long Way from Home”

Noise Annoys. Is it not a banal fact of modern, urban existence that one person’s preferred sonic environment is another’s irritating, unwelcome noise – whether in the high-rise apartment, on public transport or the street, or almost anywhere else? The contingent soundscape of jack-hammers and pneumatic drills, mobile phone chatter, car sirens and alarms, sound leakage from nightclubs and bars and – moving into the suburbs – lawn-mowers and amateur renovation projects, neighbouring kids and dogs, represents a near-constant aural assault. As a pollutant, noise can legally attain noxious levels; it is both potentially biologically harmful and psychologically detrimental.

But what exactly is noise and what conditions these relative thresholds in which sound crosses over into noise? Or are these more organised and polite sonic phenomena merely varieties of noise that have been tamed and civilised, and yet still contain kernels of the chaotic, anomalous disturbance of primordial noise? As a radical free agent, how is noise channelled, neutralised or enhanced in emergent cityscapes? As a consumable, how is noise – or lack of noise – commodified?

Such questions are particularly applicable to contemporary forms of music which, based as they are on a variety of noise-making technical machines, necessarily exist in the interface between chaotic, unpredictable noise and the organised and blended sounds of music and speech. Does modern noise seek to lead us to new, post-secular inscapes (as with psychedelia and shoegazer), or defy the lulling noisescapes of processed background muzak with punitive blasts of disorientating, disorderly noise? And why the cult of noise – in term of both volume and dissonance – in which low cultural practices (metal, moshing) meet those of the avant-garde (atonalism, transcendentalism)?

This conference seeks to address the contemporary phenomenon of noise in all its dimensions: cultural, political, territorial, philosophical, physiological, subversive and military, and as anomalous to sound, speech, musicality and information. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Psychedelic and Neo-Psychedelic Musics

Punk and Post-Punk Musics

Experimental Musics from Avant-Classical to Digital Noise / Raw Data

Industrial Musics and Cultures

Krautrock and German Noise

Shoegazer, Nu-Gaze and Post-Rock

Noise as Cultural Anomaly

Noise, Chaos and Order

Noise and architectural planning

Noise and digital compression

Noise Scenes from No Wave to Japan-Noise

Noise and electronic music pioneers (Delia Derbyshire, Varèse, Stockhausen)

Noise and Territory

Sonic Warfare

Noise and Urban Environments / “Noise pollution”

Noise and Subjectivation

Sonic Ecologies

“White Noise”

Noise and Political Subversion

Noise and hearing impairment / deafness

Psychic / silent noise

Noise and mixing, particularly in nightclub environments

Noise in Cinema, Video and Sound Art

Noise, Appropriation and Recombination

Noise and Affect

The conference will be organised by the Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Salford in cooperation with Islington Mill, Salford and will take place from the 1-3rd of July and will include both an academic conference and noise gigs featuring amongst other groups, The Telescopes and Factory Star and other special guests tbc. Confirmed keynote speakers include rock historian Clinton Heylin, author of From the Velvets to the Voidoids and numerous other works on (post)punk and popular music, Stephen Lawrie of The Telescopes, and Paul Hegarty, author of the recent Noise/Music.

In addition to conventional papers, noise, sound and video art proposals are also welcome.

To participate in the conference please send a 400 word abstract and biographical note to Michael Goddard, m.n.goddard@salford.ac.uk and Benjamin Halligan, b.halligan@salford.ac.uk by 28 February 2010.

cfp categories: 
american
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
humanities_computing_and_the_internet
international_conferences
popular_culture
religion
rhetoric_and_composition
science_and_culture
theatre
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond