What is the Sound of the Energy Revolution?

2021-01-21 by Holger Schulze | 0 comments

Recently, the German magazine zweitausend50 (meaning: twothousand50) − issued by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries, representing about 1,900 companies − got in contact with us. They wished to know more about the sonic aspects of the so-called energy revolution. For the Sound Studies Lab we got the permission to translate our conversation into English.

Mr Schulze, you research the effect of sounds on people. What kind of sound does the energy transition make?

The shift from fossil fuels to a sustainable circular economy aims to put an end to the resource extraction of the last two centuries. It is a change of direction that not only transforms national economic cycles, but also strives to save us from climate collapse. Sound-wise, this means: we move from sounds of raw material extraction to sounds of a more respectful form of economy. Because sounds are created through concrete actions. In the energy transition, I hear above all a slow fading of the militant noise of industrialisation:

Fires are dying, heavy machinery is being discarded, winding towers in Europe and the southern hemisphere are being shut down. Labour society is being rebuilt. Less steel and cast iron beats against each other here, we hear more the gentle whir of electric circuits; occasional melodic signals that span the entire frequency bandwidth. Mild loops, perhaps a fragile overtone singing, growing quieter, ever quieter. Cities are also becoming quieter, more whirring. We should not give away this potential by rushing to sonify our more silent cities. The diminishing of noise is also an expression of the reduced force and energy needed in the economy. We also hear the rise of social progress in the circular economy. More equality, recognition and respect.

What kind of impact does this have on people?

It is a relief, definitely. Maybe not everyone feels it that way yet. The extraction of raw materials and energy in the last centuries marked a sort of panicking industrialisation. Their endless series of more or less life-saving inventions and consumer products made the mass societies of Europe so prosperous in the first place. Mortality fell, life expectancy rose. Local welfare societies became conceivable. Today, we can sense how this incredible frenzy of growth is ending.

We can open our eyes to other needs and values of economic activity. Furnaces of fire seem increasingly alien to us. We no longer want to burn, but to maintain a steady state. It is a different way of life. This way of life ensures that social classes in our country and cultures on other continents do not suffer. That is its impact on human beings. We are also becoming quieter and more cautious in this respect. We recognise the benefits and harms of mass production and strive to find alternatives. It is a struggle. But we recognise the benefits for all. The energy transition is clearly also an act of planetary solidarity. This becomes audible in the smaller, sober sounds. Their softness becomes dominant.

Is there a specifically European sound of the energy transition − and if so, what is it?


The energy turnaround is necessary for survival and will initially cost a lot of money. It requires a radical change of direction − the cushion for this was acquired by European societies in the course of industrialisation; not without lasting damage, as we know. We cannot get out of this dialectic: our prosperity is unique − but bitterly bought. That is our specific European (sound) history. Social progress comes not for free. The sound of the energy transition therefore also includes the sound of this progress: a sound of contradictions, of historicity, perhaps even of reparations. Social equality, conceived in planetary terms, is the goal. So, what does such dialectical progress of a society sound like?

Probably it also sounds contradictory: not only whirring loops or mild overtone singing can be heard; but also sounds of social struggle for the new circular economy. The fears and protests of not wanting to give up the familiar economy and not wanting to lose their professions; the protests and fears due to the destruction that threatens us if we do not change course. This ambivalence and historicity, its explicit mention − also in this place, in this magazine − that is for me the outstanding heritage of a European cultural history in sound.

Two New PhD Positions

2021-01-18 by Holger Schulze | 0 comments

The Department of Arts & Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen announces two new, full PhD positions. Deadline is February 25th, 2021; the application must not exceed 12,000 characters (including spaces). You can find all the details for the application right here.

If you are selected, you will be a full member of staff at one of our four sections (i.e. musicology, art history, literature studies, performance studies); for three full years you can then work on your PhD in Copenhagen, close to or even at the Sound Studies Lab − starting September 1st, 2021.

On January 26th, 3pm, we offer an information meeting on zoom for all interested applicants:

How to Apply for a PhD?

A Conversation with Bjarki Valtýsson, Lise Henriette Hindsberg & Holger Schulze, IKK January 26, 2020

In this conversation (on zoom) we are happy to inform all interested applicants about the format, the goals, requirements, and the process regarding an application for our PhD programme.

We will cover e.g. the following areas:

– Working As a PhD Student

– Research at IKK

– Application & Recruiting Process

– How to Design a strong PhD project?

And: we are happy to answer all the non-disciplinary questions regarding the application and the application process.

Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2020

Time: kl.15:00

Zoomlink: https://ucph-ku.zoom.us/j/65676723425

You can find all the details for the application right here.

Five Exercises in Smelling

2020-11-23 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on Five Exercises in Smelling

Can you smell that? The pandemic of the year 2020 and our collective hygienic measures against it are gradually not only transforming what one might hear, but they also alter what exactly one can smell and how one would evaluate these smells.

All of a sudden, alcoholic clouds are sweeping through all buildings open to the public. Disinfectant scents that otherwise I only knew from clinics or tattoo studios are now escorting my everyday work or leisure time. And as soon as you do smell another person’s body odor or perfume too clearly, you will immediately realize: we have fallen below the minimum distance. Danger threatens!

These days the exhibition BERLIN_LOKAL_ZEIT | PHÄNOMENOLOGIE DER PANDEMIE at the CLB BERLIN, provides a wide array of explorations of the pandemic conditions at present times, including works and performances by Sam Auinger, Ingrid Beirer, Peter Cusack, Maren Hartmann, Susanne Jaschko, katrinem, Udo Noll, Dietmar Offenhuber, Ursula Rogg, Sven Sappelt, Paul Scraton, Georg Spehr, Hannes Strobl, Linh Hoang Thuy and many others. (note: all works are presented in a form that conforms the current contact restrictions and hygienic measures; many of the works can therefore be accessed online)

For this exhibition I prepared a series of Five Exercises in Smelling (or: Fünf Riechübungen). These small, but intense smelling exercises shall provide a five-step guide to exploring this new fragrance era.

You can download them right here – and you might then perform almost all of them right now, at the place and situation where you are right now:

Holger Schulze: Five Exercises in Smelling (CLB 2020)

Holger Schulze: Fünf Riechübungen (CLB 2020)

Sonic Vignettes

2020-11-10 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on Sonic Vignettes

These days we start a new series together with the great team at Norient – our absolutely preferred resource for new artists and directions in the wider contemporary area of global pop: Sonic Vignettes.

Sejma Fere: The Sound Politics of Video Calls

But – what are Sonic Vignettes?

Sonic Vignettes discuss one fragment, one experience, recording, one viral video, stream, one monograph or encounter at a time – in all its depth, its historical and affective ramifications.

With the finest expertise in sound studies provided by a range of researchers, young scholars, artists and contributors.

We start this November of 2020 with a vignette on the sound politics of videocalls. Enjoy!

Holger Schulze: Sound Politics of Videocalls

How to do Sonic Anthropology?

2020-10-26 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on How to do Sonic Anthropology?

IMG_0314v3A scribbled paper and recording devices at the Sound Studies Lab (October 28th, 2019: Salomé Voegelin and Mark Peter Wright visited Carla Maier and Melissa Van Drie).

In the fall of 2019 Salomé Voegelin and Mark Peter Wright from the reseach project Listening across Disciplines (LxD) at the CRiSAP / University of the Arts London visited us several times here in Copenhagen, at the Sound Studies Lab. They inspired us to think and talk about listening protocols (e.g. I, II, III & more to come!).

Primarily, however, our both guests focused on their fieldwork. For this purpose they followed and participated as observers in our work on the anthropology of sound. They invited us, Melissa Van Drie, Carla Maier and Holger Schulze, also to a series of longer conversations on our research practices, our methods, and our major goals in our past, present and future research. We spoke about sensory and multi-sited ethnography, about public space, sculptures, and about food. 

This wednesday, 28th of October 2020 you can listen to this fourth episode, titled Sonic Anthropology in the project’s series on ResonanceFM. Enjoy!

Job Offer: Popular Music Studies

2020-07-21 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on Job Offer: Popular Music Studies

Why not join us? The section of musicology at the University of Copenhagen is looking for a new colleague (assistant professor, tenure track) in the area of popular music studies – with approaches in cultural theory, anthropology, sociology, and history equally included.

You get the chance to work within an experienced group of seven colleagues (and various PhD’s & Postdoc’s) focusing on musical anthropology, music history, music analysis, and – what a surprise: sound studies.

This research environment offers one of the broadest set of approaches and backgrounds you can possibly find in musicology these days – all teaching in the same MA- and BA-programmes as well as collaborating in research.

Here is the announcement with all the details:
Tenure-track assistant professorship in Musicology

Sonic Talks Online

2020-07-17 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on Sonic Talks Online

All three Sonic Talks In a Forest of Letters, performed on the evenings of July 13th, 14th and 15th, 2020, at CLB Berlin by Holger Schulze together with artists, researchers, writers and thinkers katrinem, Katja Kullmann and Christiane Frohmann are now online (in German):

The Hum of the Pandemic (From the installation: In a Forest of Letters, CLB 2020) Photo: Jeneba Komma - Text: Holger Schulze - Concept: Nina Backman.

The Hum of the Pandemic.(From the installation: In a Forest of Letters, CLB 2020; photo: Jeneba Komma, text: Holger Schulze, concept: Nina Backman).

Sonic Talk 1:
katrinem, walking artist & researcher:
Die Innenstadtstrasse

(CLB Berlin, 13.7.2020)


Sonic Talk 2:
Katja Kullmann, writer & essayist:
Balkonien

(CLB Berlin, 14.7.2020)


Sonic Talk 3:
Christiane Frohmann, thinker & head of Frohmann Verlag:
Der Garten am Haus

(CLB Berlin, 15.7.2020)


How did your or my sensology transform in recent weeks and months? How can one perceive the policies and their principles regarding the senses that have prevailed in urban and rural areas in the last years or decades? In what ways did you engage with a forest, with enveloping letters or language fragments, or other agents of sonic convivality and their generative and regenerative forces?

Sonic Talks explore the state of the senses and our sensory entangled and affected lives under the conditions of progressively urbanized and mediatized cultures. Holger Schulze invited earlier – together with sound artist Sam Auinger – to investigate their present, recent, or expected sensologies and sensibilities.

Three Sonic Talks

2020-07-10 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on Three Sonic Talks

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Sonic Talks explore the state of the senses and our sensory entangled and affected lives under the conditions of progressively urbanized and mediatized cultures. Holger Schulze invited earlier – together with sound artist Sam Auinger – researchers, artists and writers to investigate their present, recent, or expected sensologies and sensibilities.

The three Sonic Talks In a Forest of Letters in July 2020 now invite three artists and writers, researchers and thinkers who contemplate together with Holger Schulze about their recent life with sounds and the senses:

How did their sensologies transform in recent weeks and months? How do they percieve the policies and their principles regarding the senses that have prevailed in urban and rural areas in the last years or decades? In what ways did they engage with a forest, with enveloping letters or language fragments, or other agents of sonic convivality and their generative and regenerative forces?

All three conversations will be recorded, in German. After the Sonic Talks they will be freely accessible online.

Conversation partners and dates (NOTE: only a maximum of 10 audience members are granted access to these conversations. Please make a reservation with a mail and the precise date you wish to attend to: gonzalez-galan@clb-berlin.de:

Monday, July 13th, 2020, 7pm
katrinem, walking artist & researcher:
The Inner City Streets

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020, 7pm
Katja Kullmann, writer & essayist:
The Balcony

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020, 7pm
Christiane Frohmann, thinker & head of Frohmann Verlag:
The Garden at the House

In a Forest of Letters

2020-07-06 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on In a Forest of Letters

On July 10th, 2020, an exhibition and a series of conversations and concerts opens at CLB Berlin in the Aufbauhaus on Moritzplatz that was conceptualized during and for these times of contact restrictions: In a Forest of Letters.

In times of intense pressure, of medical emergencies and political insecurities, desires to stop and rest become strong. The Forest of Letters in the CLB provides an arena for these desires and wishes to be fulfilled. The Forest offers an occasion for a sensible encounter in quietude.

Tasting this space

Listening with you

Digesting new creations

Detecting the next steps to take

Visitors are invited just to enjoy this space, to write so-called Sensible Letters, to listen to three Sonic Talks on July 13th, 14th and 15th with with artists, writers and thinkers katrinem, Katja Kullmann and Christiane Frohmann, to attend 1:1-Concerts, and some visitors are being invited by the organizers to engage in a Silence Meal.

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Each visitor in the Forest receives a small card for a Sensible Letter. They are invited to write down their loving confessions to recent sentiments and to place them directly in the Forest – for future visitors to discover. Some Sensible Letters can be found in the Forest from the beginning.

Nina Backmann, Finnish artist and creator of the Silence Meal teamed up with Holger Schulze, Sound Studies-scholar at the University of Copenhagen and the CLB’s director Sven Sappelt to provide this arena for rest, reflection, and recreation.

This forest is an invitation: an invitation to listen, to sense, to articulate tentatively, to engage in a brief yet meaningful conversation. A conversation that does not deplete one of hope and energy – but a conversation that serves as a revitalizing, a reenergizing agent.

A Conversation on Sound Art

2020-07-03 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on A Conversation on Sound Art

A few weeks ago, on June 11th of 2020, composer and sound artist Jeremy Woodruff invited Sanne Krogh Groth and me to a longer interview session. Being a member of the famous sound art project space Errant Sound in Berlin, he wanted to know from us how we had conceptualized The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art and how all these highly diverse and rather unconventional conceptual cores composed into this volume came actually together.

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Whilst he had contributed himself a great and insightful chapter on the aesthetics of permaculture (chapter 2), he obviously was not involved in all of our editorial work with the other 34 authors, co-authors and interviewees in this handbook.

Woodruff’s intricate and insisting questions helped us in our conversation to carve out the concept and the various insights running through this handbook and, at least partially, altering the discourse around and within what has come to be called sound art in the broadest sense. The result is a concise, sonic introduction into this handbook as a whole.

You can listen to our conversation, with some added sound examples right here, on the website of Errant Sound:

Errant Sound Podcast: Interview with Holger Schulze and Sanne Groth, Editors of the Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art