“… thinking through sounding takes on an altogether different complexion than it does in practice. Sounding boasts a radical edge, entirely absent from habitual patterns of thought in terms of light and image. From the trumpets sounding the downfall of the walls of Jericho, the destabilising influence of audition has long been recognised."
— Julian Henriques (2011) Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing
Repeatedly untamed, sound remains as an active agent suited to bathe, modulate, probe and infect. It is a permanently open and involuntary external signal sensed through an auditory system that receives it effortlessly, providing a constant three–dimensional perception and navigation abilities. Its volatility as matter marks a platform of interference with the world or of production of worlds. Such condition renders sound as a paradoxical figure floating between the possibilities of an ethereal state, one that refuses medium specificities beyond its own; and the practicalities of its parasitic behaviour, one defined by a continued palpable involvement with surrounding materials.
It is precisely in this internal oscillation that sound finds its validation as an epistemological instrument, expanding its operational capabilities into fields of speculation and deviation, a procedure that manifests itself in the sonification of data, in the construction of sonic ecologies, in the reconfiguration and reevaluation of categories, in questioning and testing of social, cultural, environmental and artistic contracts, in mapping, rendering and establishing invisible territories, in the overall reconstitution of itself as a modality and experience of knowledge.
In 2021, the School of Arts — UCP Open Lectures Programme aims to approach sound as a set of practices that can emerge, lead to or simply make use of sound as a world–building tool in politics, philosophy, geography, engineering, poetry, ecology and art. As such, a group of guests, among artists, researchers, and performers, from different contexts and geographies will gather in order to explore a transversal profile of sound as a functional instrument in contemporary culture.