sensing sound | sounding sense

trees have roots, but people have

mobile imaginations and bodies,

mutable interfaces for navigating the world.

(Roland Jean)

 

The senses with which we engage with the world inform the sense we have of the world. Sound endorses embodied experience, sensoriality, and the dynamic dimensions of sound and space. The listener makes sense of sound from within the transience and ceaseless fluctuation of its unfolding.  The fleeting presence and absence of sound raise questions about what was heard. The certainty of the visual–the stability of objects, the centred subject, borders, and logocentric knowing–is contested. Sonic materiality and temporality cause doubt.

How we listen to sound influences how we hear each other and the world. Sound connects the listener to others and to the world through visceral sensation, affect, and embodied knowing. The listener is in continual production with the non-sense of sound while making sense in and of its fluctuation. Sound, bodies, forces of energy matter, and the world intertwine in their becoming relations and transpositions. The different rhythms of sounding bodies affirm the diversity of the sounds of others and of sound as the other, the subjective and intersubjective engagement of listening, and the present-ness of sound’s fluctuation. We hear the world as relations and interrelations, transition, and transformation.

Small sounds draw me into their fluctuating tones and temporalities as if they are the beginning of language of the un(der)heard and (in)audible and of sound as a life force. The particularity of their soundings evokes the multiple subjectivities and pluralities of differences and otherness. Meaning is contingent, understanding incomplete. The listener constructs sense of and from sound within the presence and absence, transience, and temporality of sound’s materiality. Listening and hearing intertwine in embodied relations of sense and nonsense, sonic materiality, and otherness as Voegelin’s sonic possible, an alternate world that reveals how the world might be and the social and political implications of this possibility.