Cities are made up of shifting relations between sonorous and silent, human, non-human, and “not-quite-human” agents (Weheliye 2014). These relations of modern urban space are incontrovertibly noisy; the sonic aspects of social relations continue to be thoroughly studied (García Quiñones, Kassabian & Boschi 2013). But the thought of the “sound” of the city also invites us to contemplate the “unsound,” as both the inaudible and the unstable substrate of these dense urban relationalities. As politically, socially, and ecologically unsound, the relational city is our frame for asking about the vexations of power in contemporary urban space. Key to our inquiry into these flows of power is a multi-layered definition of relationality: (1) across communities, borders, and identities within the strained category of the human; (2) between humans and their sonic organs/instruments; (3) between, among, and within species (Haraway 2003/2016); and (4) between and among different localities and temporalities, acknowledging their inextricability.
We seek to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations that speak to, against, or alongside ideas of the city as a sounding, relational organism in its own right. In short, we invite participants to ask how the sonic politics of urban space and the rhetoric of soundness provide a critical vantage into the role of sound and music, real or imagined, in organizing or disorganizing urban life.
We seek proposals for performances, panels, workshops, and 20-minute papers. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
Sound and music in the city, in relation to:
- Space, geography, and urban studies
- Architecture; Indoor or outdoor space
- Sanctuary cities
- The law (e.g. cabaret laws)
- Historical and/or ecological preservation
- Ability and accessibility
- Silencing, policing, and protest
- Listening, communication
- Instruments, devices, and organology
Urban voice and vocalities
Boombox, PA systems, Muzak, busking, music festivals
Metaphors of sound and harmony in political rhetoric
Non-human sounds in cities
Urban space and the musical instrument supply chain
Industrial noise and residential quiet
Sonic and musical imaginations of cities
Electromagnetic Spectrum usages and regulations
We welcome submissions from scholars and artists at any career stage, and especially encourage independent scholars and graduate students to submit. We hope that financial concerns will not prevent anyone from submitting an abstract, and there is a limited fund available to support travel on an as-needed basis.
Send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, November 1, 2019. Please include your full name and institutional affiliation (if any) in the body of the email, and attach a written abstract (max 300 words) with no identifying information. For performance and installation proposals, also include technical requirements and any relevant audiovisual work samples.