Sounding Crisis

2021-03-09 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on Sounding Crisis

On Febuary 8, 2021 the European Commission announced the results of the MSCA Individual Fellowship 2020. €328 million in grants have been awarded this time to 1,630 excellent researchers from all over the world. It is my great pleasure and honour to announce that sound and radio scholar and journalist Ania Mauruschat (CH/DE) has been awarded one of these prestigious grants for her impressive project „Sounding Crisis: Sonic Agency as Cognate Energies for Climate Action in Denmark/Greenland & Australia“. She will join us as a Marie Curie research fellow at the Sound Studies Lab, University of Copenhagen, from Septeber 1, 2021 for two years .

In her project Ania Mauruschat researches the concept of sonic agency within the climate change discourse as an alternative to dominant concepts of energies. In contrast to the concept of energy used in the area of fuel and power generation, energies in this case are understood as multi-faceted and interrelated phenomena that emit sound and can be listened to in productive ways. Sonic agency, therefore, is defined as acoustic as well as electronically amplified and transmitted sounds as levers to the senses and creators of potential change.

This anthropological notion of sound encompasses both the sound practices of Indigenous peoples addressing environmental issues as well as urban climate activism and its sound practices across all the sites in which it may be present: be it classical media reports, audiovisual representations in social media, music performances and street protests, artistic expressions and newly developed techniques and practices. The aim of her project is to unveil the continuities and variations of different forms of sonic agency therein.

For cultural studies in general and sound studies in particular this project is innovative in its understanding of sound as an analytical point of access to the complex concept of energies. It understands sound as a form of energy in three ways: (1) sound waves as mechanical energy, (2) sound practices of urban climate activists as articulations of the so-called energy unconscious and (3) as urban examples of the Indigenous’ notion of energy intimacy.

Sounding Crisis will assume a synchronic and a diachronic perspective: it looks at historic protest movements and the role of sonic agency within those. Thus, it aims to provide new insights for further developing the terminology, methods and theories in sound studies and for re-thinking the Western concept of energy. It combines, moreover, in a highly innovative way the approaches of an Anthropology of Sound with those from Sound & Energy Studies. This combination might allow to refine the concept of sonic agency and to contribute to the emerging field of Energy Humanities.

The offical launch of the project is planned for mid-September 2021. An invitation and regular up-dates will be published timely.

My Listening Protocol IV

2021-02-02 by Melissa Van Drie | Comments Off on My Listening Protocol IV

A sonically rhythmic carrot, cauliflower, cumin soup to brighten a winter day

As part of the listening protocol series, I propose a sonic sensing experience in the form of a performative recipe. Very simply, it brings sonic touch into a moment of cooking. Recipes do also »organise and articulate listening in a way that is useful and adaptable to various disciplines, enabling and legitimising sonic processes and materialities as part of research and knowledge production.«

How does noticing the soundings and hearings involved in food making relate the vibrant and intimate textural layers? Consciously activating one’s own presence to be in the space is important. What sensory pathways and changing orders happen when we rhythmical score a recipe? This exercise corresponds to my research project Sounds Delicious (which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 753565).


(This recipe is from Melissa Clark’s “Lemony carrot and cauliflower soup” published in the NY Times)


  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, more for serving
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 small cauliflower head
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • chili powder or fresh chilis, for serving
  • fresh coriander leaves


  1. Enter your kitchen and pause. Feel your feet on the ground. If you feel like it, do a couple movements that feel good to you. Wake up your fingers, chest and shoulders.
  2. Bring your attention to the space through its sounds : what hums ? what drips ? what rustles from the outside? Match one of the sounds with your own vocal hums or song.
  3. Start rummaging performatively. Find vegetables for a simple carrot and cauliflower soup (ingredients below). Greet your veg with a sonic touch: shaking it, feeling its textures, weight, smelling and listening to its ripeness.
  4. Toast the cumin seeds over medium heat on the stove. During this moment, begin cutting the onions and garlic. Notice the rhythms and textures of your cuts of each ingredient. Every once in a while stop to hear and smell the state of the roasting. Try to hear the heat before looking at the pan. Remove the seeds from the heat when they are finished (2-3 minutes).
  5. In a large pot, heat oil and the cook the onions (7-10) minutes. Cut the carrots into medium sized pieces and the cauliflower into florets. Take listening pauses from the cutting to hear the onions sizzling gently. Bring your attention to your cutting movements and the feel.
  6. Grind the cumin seeds… with a mortar and pestle if you have one and find a concentrated rhythm of stone. Notice your hand-arm gestures and your feet on the floor.
  7. Add garlic to the onions and cook until the odour arises. Add the carrot pieces, crushed coriander, salt. Pour in 6 cups water to the pot, and listen to the sound of water. Stir in the miso until it dissolves. Listen to the sound of the liquid. Can you hear the simmer? When it comes to a simmer, leave it uncovered and cook 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in cauliflower and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. During this time, grate lemon rind and squeeze lemon juice. Do this in counterpoint to the resonances of the covered pot.
  9. Take the pot of the heat. Find a food processor and smooth all ingredients to a purée. How do the vibrations of the processor move through your body? Where do you feel it? In your jaw? In your hands? What does it to the appetite? Does it upset the tone of the kitchen? Is it too high-pitched? Does it change the smell?
  10. Stir in the lemon juice and rind. Pour or ladle the soup in broad, comfortable strokes into a bowl. Dress to taste with olive oil, salt, chile, fresh coriander leaves. Enjoy through a combination of noisy slurps and soft spoonfuls. How are you connected to the meal after this moment of sounding? How is your appetite? Do you want to dance now?

What is the Sound of the Energy Revolution?

2021-01-21 by Holger Schulze | Comments Off on What is the Sound of the Energy Revolution?

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 | Comments Off on Two New PhD Positions

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


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:

(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


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:

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