Sonic Thinking

On sonic constituents of knowledge production

How is culture, its perceptual modes, its thinking and its epistemic practices constituted by the sonic?


Ravines of Thought


Sonic Thinking (KlangDenken) as a research project wants to uncover sonic dimensions within cultural history and history of knowledge, take into account sonic epistemic practices from outside our cultural horizon, and actively experiment with sonic epistemic settings to develop new approaches to thinking through sound.

Following a dispositif analytical research on sonic thinking we endeavour to identify and assess the forms and efficacy of sonic epistemic models in analysis and synthesis, taking into account dispositive structures of the sonic such as technological media, historical discourses and bodily listening practices. Studying the constitutive relations between sound phenomena and culture in this way may transgress the realm of the auditory, e.g. in tracing sonic models like resonance or noise into other, non-sounding fields of practice. Once such productive models are identified they might have the potential to be intentionally transposed to other contexts – to foster alternative ways of understanding, but also of reconfiguring or designing the world we live in.

Sonic Thinking is a research project in the making. Activities contributing to its development since 2011 are a public lecture series (hosting scholars like Veit Erlmann, Anahid Kassabian, Hillel Schwartz, or Trevor Pinch), a colloquium and an upcoming workshop (December 2016).



Institute of Cultural History and Theory, Humboldt-University Berlin
Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory«
Critical Media Lab Basel, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures, HGK FHNW
C60/Collaboratorium for Cultural Practice

Monthly Colloquium

Please contact: or

Cluster of Excellence
Image Knowledge Gestaltung
Sophienstraße 22a, 2. courtyard
10178 Berlin


Sebastian Schwesinger: Noisy Economies. Infrastructure Design & Semiotics

Felix Gerloff: Coding the Sonic (sub-project of dissertation on »Creativity Cultures in Software Development«)


Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »Sonic Thinking: Epistemological Modellings of the Sonic in Audio Papers and Beyond«
[Paper, forthcoming, in: Interference. A Journal of Audio Culture, issue 5 2016.]

Schulze, H.: »How to Think Sonically? On the Generativity of the Flesh«
[Paper, forthcoming, in: Herzogenrath, B. (ed.) ›Sonic Thinking: A Media Philosophical Approach‹, Vol. 4 of the book series Thinking Media, Bloomsbury, New York 2017.]

Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »Die Erfindung des Dezibels und Lärmmessung in der Stadt. Auditive Medien als Reservoir epistemischer Werkzeuge«
[Paper, in: Volmar, Axel/Schlüter, Bettina (ed.) ›Von akustischen Medien zur auditiven Kultur? Zum Verhältnis von Medienwissenschaft und Sound Studies‹, Navigationen, 15/2 2015.]


Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »The Genealogy and Efficacy of the Decibel«
[Talk at conference in Stony Brook, NY, April 2016: ›Periods and Waves. A Conference on Sound and History‹]

Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »Testing Hearing and Measuring Noise: Inventing the Decibel«
[Talk at conference in Berlin, December 2015: ›Testing Hearing. Science, Art, Industry‹]

Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »Sonic Materialism? Der epistemische Zugriff auf die materielle Dimension von Klang«
[Talk at conference in Lüneburg, February 2015: ›Treueschwur und Realitätsverlust. Phasen und Dispositive auditiver Medienkultur‹]

Schwesinger, S: »Raum, Körper, Wissen: Die materielle Dimension des Klangs«
[Lecture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, January 2015: ›Ringvorlesung Berliner Kulturwissenschaft‹]

Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »From thinking sound to sound thinking. A Kulturwissenschaft approach to the sonic within culture«
[Talk at conference in Copenhagen, June 2014: ›Sound Studies. Mapping the Field. Second Conference of the European Sound Studies Association‹]

Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »Remixen. ccMixter als klangkulturelles Dispositiv«
[Talk at conference in Graz, June 2014: ›Auditive Wissenskulturen. Das Wissen klanglicher Praxis‹]

Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »›Wir tanzen wie Maschinen, im Rhythmus der Maschinen‹. Die Materialität des Klanglichen im Detroit Techno als Disponent prototypischer emotionaler Erfahrungen der Clubkultur«
[Talk at conference in Berlin, April 2014: ›Sounds, Klänge, Töne. Zur klanglichen Dimension von Musik und ihrer emotionalen Bedeutung und Wahrnehmung‹]

Gerloff, F./Schwesinger, S.: »KlangDenken: Auditive Medien als Reservoir epistemischer Werkzeuge«
[Talk at conference in Bonn, January 2014: ›Von akustischen Medien zur auditiven Kultur? Zum Verhältnis von Medienwissenschaft und Sound Studies‹]

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