Department of Cultural History and Theory
Humboldt University of Berlin
Summer semester 2018
The common definition of noise is that of unwanted, unpleasant, and disturbing sounds.
Though these qualities are not necessarily only negative. Through art and cultural theory different concepts of noise ssist us focussing on and questioning aesthetic, political and environmental issues, which often demands either a preservation of the old or a step into the new as reaction. The former stance is often subscribed to R. Murray Schafer and the sonic environmentalist movement
who are valuing “natural” sounds over human made “sonic pollution”. The latter distinction was most notably addressed by Luigi Russolo in his Futurist Manifesto in which he celebrates the art of noises as the necessary break with the historical past and leap into the future of mankind. Addressing these and other key movements and actors in noise theory and practice this course aims towards a manifold critical understanding of noise in the sonic arts, music, everyday life, and politics.