In the face of climate crisis, the project researches the concept of ‘Sonic Agency’ within climate change discourse as an alternative knowledge of ‘energies’. In contrast to the concept of ‘energy’ in sources and systems of fuel and power generation, the project owner Ania Mauruschat understands ‘energies’ as ‘multi-faceted and interrelated phenomena that emit sound and can be listened to in productive ways’. ‘Sonic agency’ is defined as ‘acoustic as well as electronically amplified and transmitted sounds as levers to the senses and creators of potential change’. This anthropological notion of sound encompasses both the sound practices of Indigenous peoples addressing environmental issues as well as urban climate activism and its sound practices across all the sites in which it may be present, such as classical media reports, the a/v in social media, music and street protests, artistic expressions and new techniques and practices. The aim is to unveil the continuities and variations of different forms of ‘sonic agency’. The project is innovative in its understanding of ‘sound’ as an analytical point of access to the complex concept of ‘energies’. It understands sound itself as energies in three ways: (1) Sound waves as mechanical energy, (2) sound practices of urban climate activists as articulations of the so-called ‘energy unconscious’ and (3) as urban examples of the Indigenous’ notion of ‘energy intimacy’. The project will have a synchronic and diachronic perspective, as it also will refer to historic protest movements and the role of ‘sonic agency’ within them. Thus, it aims at providing new insights for enhancing the terminology, methods and theories of Sound Studies and for re-thinking the Western concept of ‘energy’. It combines in an innovative way the two novel approaches of Anthropology of Sound and Sound & Energy Studies to further elaborate the concept of ‘Sonic Agency’ and therefore contributes to the emerging field of Energy Humanities.
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My name is Ania Mauruschat, I am the researcher behind this project. Originally, I am a German media studies scholar (aesthetics & ecology, theory & culture) and lecturer, focussing on sound and radio. Trained as a journalist and as an editor and educated in the humanities and social sciences in Munich, I worked from 2002 to 2012 full-time for the press and public radio stations. Mainly I focused on the ramifications of digitization on art, literature, and sciences. This led to special research and work collaboration withradio drama & media art department of the Bavarian broadcasting station Bayern 2 (BR), amongst others resulting in the 15 part interview series „suchmaschine wissen macht: Chancen & Risiken der Digitalisierung“ (2007/08).
My main fields of research and interest are aesthetics, artistic research, sound and radio studies, environmental humanities and energy studies, media theory, digitization, catastrophes in art and culture, gender, and media.