CfP: Powers of Sound. 1st International Conference on Sonorities Research

June 5th to 7th, 2019

Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

„A man with a loudspeaker is more imperialistic than one without because he can dominate more acoustic space”
(R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape)

The 1st International Conference on Sonorities Research – Powers of Soundis an initiative by the Image, Sonorities and Technology Studies Group (GEIST), formed by researchers from six Brazilian institutions: UFSC, UFES, IFRS, UFRGS, UNISINOS and UFF. The initiative seeks to promote and develop discussion of sound and its intersections with related fields – Technology, Audiovisual Media, Music, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Communication, Economy, etc – through a multidisciplinary perspective, in different countries, expanding the reach of the Sound Studies field in Brazil in dialog with foreign institutions and researchers.

The possibility of sounds that never stop sounding or sounds that are heard without us being able (or needing) to identify their origins transforms the act of listening to and creating sounds into a relation of power. Contemporary society not only fills the environment with an incalculable number of new and powerful sounds, but simultaneously inserts these sounds into modes of producing sense. In a moment of ideological hardening where the state and society have seen often violent disputes, sound has been shown to be an efficient instrument of control and of the infliction of damage upon people and objects. Sounds work with identities, whether in groups or individually; sounds configure relations of power, among individuals or institutions; sounds unveil historical structures of production; sounds are essential components of the entertainment industry; sounds cause pain and death and pleasure.

More than an object of research, sound should be thought of as an instrument and as a method of investigation, as a mediator among different models of listening and the relations of power, economy, culture, aesthetics etc. that are constructed from those previously mentioned phenomena. With this breadth in mind, the Powers of Soundconference emphasizes materialities of sound — those that mobilize practices of listening and sounding, or the artifacts and devices, technological or not, that shape and make potent what can be accomplished with sounds. For this first edition of the conference – to be held at UFSC, Brazil, from June 5th to 7th, 2019 – we invite researchers from across the globe for a three day discussion, arranged in working groups with specific research themes, roundtables with invited experts and international keynote speakers, and the exhibition of sound performances relevant to the main theme of the conference.

Presentations will be organized according to the following themes:

a) Sound media archaeology

b) Sound, affect and signification

c) Sound technologies and sociocultural practices

d) Sound and culture

e) Sound art

Researchers, professors and undergraduate and graduate students can participate as attendees or presenters. The abstracts must have: up to 300 words; 3 to 5 keywords; affiliation and degree of the authors; suggestion of the theme it fits within (see below); written in Portuguese, Spanish or English. They are to be received by February 8th, 2019, and submitted to Detailed information about registration and submission can be found on the event-website

Streams descriptions:

Sound media archeology:
This perspective takes a careful look at “sonic objects” and its materialities. It includes the study of sound devices in their machinic specificity and within the creation of a logic inherent in the context in which they are used, problematizing sociocultural approaches that tend to abstract or refuse aspects of the physicality of objects. This streamwill accept proposals that deal with different technological configurations, different sound apparatuses and their particular existence in a given mediatic ecology.

Sound, affection, and significance:
This stream concentrates researches that investigate the sounds both as text and force, aiming for possibilities of convergence between their somatic and cognitive dynamics. Thus, it intends to understand the interfaces between what a sound can do and what it can mean, with an emphasis on its aesthetic dimension. We accept papers that promote analyzes of musical and sound works, both from a hermeneutic perspective, and those that elicit the effects of sonic vibrations on the bodies of their producers and listeners.

Sound technologies and sociocultural practices:
Technologies can be understood as a set of solutions developed and crystallized in different objects designed to perform certain tasks. This definition may be extended to incorporate the protocols and pragmatics cultivated in certain human activities that, although not depending on specific machines, propose an organization of actions and a certain logic internal to those processes. Technologies are not dissociated from sociocultural phenomena, but sometimes propose an autonomous and uncritical discourse about their own functioning. This stream intends to discuss different aspects of these relations.

Sound and culture:
Sounds are mediators of social and cultural processes. This stream deals with sounds as processes and dynamics of circulation and symbolic consumption, as well as a means with which socialization, transformation, maintenance, cohesion and organization of social groups and their respective cultural paradigms takes place. It receives papers on sociocultural phenomena from a perspective that focuses on sonorities as a central tool for these practices.

This stream is concentrated on the emerging field of sound art, be it in its aspects of production or experiencing of sonic pieces. It receives theoretical papers that critically analyze the tasks and experiences related to the making and auditioning of installations and sound performances, experimental pieces made from the use of sound recordings, radiart, electroacoustic music, as well as poetic works that focus the word as sonority, instead of its semantic aspects, etc.