sound artist · sound thinker


Sounding out Time

Department of Cultural History and Theory
Humboldt University of Berlin
Summer semester 2017

“Attentive to time (to tempo) and consequently to repetitions and likewise to differences in time, [the rhythmanalyst] separates out through a mental act that which gives itself as linked to the whole: namely rhythms and their associations. He does not only observe human activities, he also hears [entend] (in the double sense of the word: noticing and understanding) the temporalities in which these activities unfold.”
Lefebvre, Henri: Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life, Continuum: 2004, p. 88.

This seminar will focus on the relationship between sound and time. Three major themes will be addressed: Sound as a model of time; time and the auditory in everyday life; time in the sonic arts.

How do we perceive, structure and think time? This question has especially been addressed by the french philosophers Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Henri Lefebvre, but also Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Albert Norman Whitehead has worked intensely in this field - many of them using sound more or less explicitly as an approach to or exemplification of an understanding of time developing concepts such as: rhythm, memory, recollection, becoming, process, continuity/discontinuity, past/present/future, the moment, measured time, historical temporality, repetition/difference, and linear/cyclical time.

We think we know what time is - until we are asked. By approaching the question of time through sound arts, auditory cultures, and philosophy the aim of the seminar is to develop a manifold understanding of time in sound and sound in time following texts from above mentioned philosophers as well as sound theorists Christoph Cox, Eleni Ikoniadou, Veit Erlmann, Karin Bijsterveld and others.

Students can choose to do a written paper or an audio paper for their exam. Theoretical as well as practical/artistic experimentations are encouraged.