For some weeks now, Salomé Voegelin and Holger Schulze invite all Clubhouse members to join their weekly reflections, meditations, and musings around the Sounds of The Week. The conversation is open for everyone to drop in, each wednesday, starting 6pm CET, just lasting for thirty, maximum forty minutes. A virtual chat at the corner; on the way to the commute; between two commitments, on all things sounding and non-sounding.
We talked about the sound of the snow or at icy creeks, the sound of parrots in Mannheim or in Sjælland, about sound qualities at videoconferences, the missing accidental encounters, when everything is so purposful, the serendipity in random conversations; we heard about the personal, quite idiosyncratic time structures that some of us had the chance to develop during the pandemic shutdown; and about some fears directed at the future moment when our societies dare to allow more and more meetings in person, with a lot of other people again. For us, this small, weekly conversation allows for some sonic serendipity, when strangers drop in and surprisingly concerns or memories get to be articulated.
The so-called »drop-in audio chat platform« Clubhouse is still comparably new in Europe. It is in business, though, in the U.S. since April 2020 and achieved recently 8 million downloads. New ventures into platform and surveillance capitalism coming from the Silicon Valley need in general to be approached with caution; and the data grab executed by this app as well as its exclusive construction (invite only, iOS only, no transcript service, no messaging) is truly not doesn’t really inspire much confidence.
However, as the sound studies aficionados that we are, we wish to explore new sonic territories and non-territories: what we can do, perform or listen to on this platform? What can an audio platform really do for sound studies and sonic theory? Is it just another shutdown fad, like the massive global rise of podcast listening to a mainstream activity in spring 2020, when so many people were looking for more entertainment at home? Or is Clubhouse just paving the way for other recently created audio chat platforms: Dive, Twitter Spaces, Yalla, Jira, Asana – and even the well established Discord might reach more audiences outside the gaming community?
Recently, a Sound Studies Club was created on Clubhouse (see picture above). All members interested in or working on sound studies are invited to join and start their talks focused around sonic theories, sound practices, sonic experiences, and historiographies of the modes of listening (Chion), auditory dispositives (Großmann/Schulze), soundscape composition (Truax/Schafer), or audile techniques (Sterne)
So: join us, if you will! And if you still need an invite: drop us a mail. We might know who you are anyway – and right now, we have a good handful of invites to give away… you know, where you find us, by mail, on Twitter or Facebook.