Colloquium Sound & Sensory Studies

Holger Schulze
Colloquium Sound & Sensory Studies

trumps listening,

we are no good
at receiving.«

Michel Serres, The Five Senses (1985/2008), S. 139

Be it sound art-pieces, academic articles, blogposts or a PhD-treatment, an artistic research proposal: in this biweekly research colloquium we immerse ourselves in discussing new approaches to sound studies.

Part of the interdisciplinary Research Group Sound & Senses we invite all researchers, artists, students or listeners to take part and to propose topics and materials for our future meetings.

As a collaborative workshop this meeting provides an opportunity for researchers of all levels (experienced scholars as well as PhD-/MA-students or artistic researchers) to discuss their approaches from various interdisciplinary fields with a special sensibility concerning sound.


biweekly on Zoom



Sound Studies Lab

On Zoom


Department of Arts & Cultural Studies
Københavns Universitet
Karin Blixens Vej 1
2300 København


Cf. on website Sound in Media Culture



* Tuesday 12.9. kl.15:15-16:30CET:


Topic: GRIEF – Sonic Expressions of Loss, Pain, and Sadness
Presenter: Meri Kytö (University of Turku)



* Tuesday 26.9. kl.15:15-16:30CET:


Topic: MediSouP – Mediterranean Soundscape Projects
Presenter: Yiannis Christidis (Cyprus University of Technology)



* Tuesday 10.10. kl.15:15-16:30CET:


Topic: Do Theremins Have Politics? Or: From the “Theremin of the Deaf” to the Bionic Sense of Hearing
Presenter: David Friedrich (University of Western Australia)

Abstract: In 2018, the Theremin of the Deaf was introduced to challenge our understanding of sound and hearing. Connected via a Bluetooth link with a cochlear implant (CI), a state-of-the-art hearing device implanted in the head of its user, this musical instrument was designed to generate a sound (Klang) without any acoustics involved. However, sound without dancing air molecules is no big deal since Karlheinz Stockhausen’s studio for electroacoustics at the WDR (West German Broadcast). Or is it? If sound is generated without mechanical waves, such as the Theremin of the Deaf does, why is it still called electro-acoustics? What does the media performance of the Theremin for the Deaf disclose?

The neurotechnology CI does not simply alter the sense of hearing due to its technological implementation. It enables users to perceive a soundscape beyond acoustics; an audible perception of electromagnetic fields that have only occurred in non-human organisms and machines. Whereas most discourses about the CI mainly focus on the acoustic-driven speech processor, sitting on the outside of the user’s head, a critical examination of the implanted receiver-stimulator is missing. This leads to the assumption that hearing via CI is only provoked by acoustic events. However, this stands in contrast to the actual sensation via the implanted part of the CI. Based on Mara Mills’ “Do Signals Have Politics?”, it will be shown how the CI discloses an entangled relationship between our understanding of sound and the sense of hearing. Moreover, it will be revealed which cultural and economic values are embodied in the implanted CI and why open source should be a human right in the realm of neurotechnologies.


Theremin for the Deaf:

Mara Mills “Do Signals Have Politics?”:,%20Mara%20-%20Do%20Signals%20Have%20Politics.pdf


* Tuesday 24.10. kl.15:15-16:30CET:


Topic: Sounding Crisis – Listening to Global Climate Change 2021-2023: An Interim Conclusion
Presenter: Ania Mauruschat (KU)



* Tuesday 7.11. kl.15:15-16:30CET:

Topic: Nature Scores
Presenter: Mareike Dobewall (University of the Arts Stockholm, SWE)

Abstract: In my current research, I focus on full-body listening and eco-conscious music creation, aiming to innovate my artistic process by collaborating with nature. In my presentation, I will share my experience and reflections on my recent work with Nature Scores.


Description of my residency at SAARI working with Nature Scores:

Documentation of the performance From Wood, based on intricate traces left by insects under the bark. The complex structures are made audible and reveal the elaborate but hidden musicality within the traces:


* Tuesday 21.11. kl.15:15-16:30CET:

Topic: Something fragile. Ambient listening & background musics qualia

Presenter: Piotr Kędziora (PhD, Institute of Cultural Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan)

Abstract: Sound epistemologies, specially those surrounding music, refer explicitly or implicitly to the definitions of professionalized listening and listener. From various typologies (+20 already collected), one can find a trace of the egalitarian/democratic, unprofessional, untrained listening which represents the silent majority. Obviously, this fragile (but described as ordinary, primitive, inadequate) mode of listening is marginalized from professional discourse, since it is described as a mode to be at best aware of, but surely as a negative one,
not actually important enough to bother with. This stigma depends on the particular interests of the agencies who force the answers on what to listen to and how to listen.

My research on commercial/artistic background musics and by the mentioned sound epistemologies brought me to the concept of ambient listening as overlooked and abandoned on one hand, and highly threatened and fragile, on the other. Among the many ways in which ambient listening can be defined, one seems particularly important in the context of the pedagogical and conceptual efforts of acoustic ecologies. Do they speak with the voice of those they wish to protect from the consequences of sound pollution when they fail to define and consider their underlying form of acting in and through the soundscapes, which is naïve, unlearned, distracted listening? My attempt is to raise this problem from the web of connections between scientific images of hearing/listening, social/cultural conditions of listening practices, and technological/political sources of their amplification.

It can be considered as a descriptive move towards defining a fragile and innocent quasi-listening mode, which is also the most susceptible, and therefore the most oppressed, situational and ephemeral moment of developing sonic subjectivity, or as an emerging new field focused on the ‘hear-to-listen’ moment when the conscious, meaning and judgement can be free up and expanded or intercepted and instrumentalized.


* Tuesday 5.12. kl.15:15-16:30CET:

Topic: Basta. Polyphonic phonetic compositions influenced by dialectical shifts in American Western English.
Presenter: Victoria Keddie (Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics Frankfurt, DE)