CFP: Anthropocene & Sonic Media Ecologies

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Felix Gerloff and Sebastian Schwesinger, researchers of the Sound Studies Lab, organise an international workshop in Basel in Spring 2016 on the topic of sonic media ecologies.

The past years have witnessed a shift in media and cultural theory towards an ecological understanding of human and non-human media cultures (Fuller 2005, Hörl 2011, Parikka 2015). Man-made technological infrastructures reshaped the planet earth to an extent that geologists are discussing the establishment of a new geological era: the Anthropocene (Crutzen 2002). Conversely, this draws attention to non-human actors, perspectives and ecosystems of animals, insects or machines. An ecological and posthuman approach to auditory media cultures (Volmar/Schröter 2013) might then be fruitful in order to develop new understandings of sonic phenomena and contemporary culture and society in their interdependence with their surroundings and geophysical or technological structures. This also involves including sound technologies and sonic media in the ongoing discourse on sustainability and environmentally conscious design.

An ecological approach entails investigations of actors and their interrelations with their respective environments in a rather biological understanding as well as in cybernetic and system-theoretical contexts. The work of Douglas Kahn is pioneering in this area in including sound in accounts of contemporary media ecologies on a global scale. In his recent book Earth Sound Earth Signal he investigates the impact of naturally occurring electromagnetism and its sounds on the history of telecommunications, the sciences and arts (Kahn 2013). Jacob Smith’s Eco-sonic Media applies an ecological critique to the history of sound media technologies with a focus on pre-electronic and non-digital media (Smith 2015).

Please find the detailed Call for Papers by the following link: