The Sonic Effect: Aurality and Digital Networks in ‘Exurbia’

Greetings folks,

We’ll have a swath of new posts on here in the coming weeks I expect, but I thought I’d start the year with a piece I’ve just published with the journal Evental Aesthetics. Since EA doesn’t have a commenting feature, if you’ve any thoughts on the piece theocculture seems as good a place to post them as any.

The full text is available online (for free) here:

The abstract is as follows:

“This essay examines the problem of medial specificity in music and sound art, giving particular attention to Seth Kim-Cohen’s call for a non-cochlear sound art based on the notion of “expansion” that has been decisive in visual arts discourses.  I argue that Kim-Cohen’s non-cochlear intervention in In the Blink of an Ear might be productively pressured towards the concept of a “sonic effect” that acknowledges the material-discursive particularity of sound without recourse to the phenomenological claims of authenticity that Kim-Cohen correctly abhors.  In service of this argument, the essay extensively discusses a sound and media artwork – Exurbia, created by myself and William Brent – that leverages the metaphorics of sound against existing understandings of specific forms of network communication.  I argue that the conceptual and material dimensions of the project stridulate in a hum of recursive vectors for considering the constitution and consequences of networked aural interaction.  Exurbia can thus be parsed in terms of medial specificity precisely because its digital aural materials are themselves discursive.”

~ Cecchetto