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Climate Change & Sonic Agency: Lecture & Workshop Series in March 2022

Climate activist rally at COP26 in Glasgow 2021. Photographer: Danny Lawson.

“What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now!” Battle cries of climate change activists like that can be understood as evidence for the proposition that especially in recent years climate crisis and species extinction have become a sounding crisis. Responsible for this novel energizing sound of the crisis are – despite the long history of the green movement – in particular the climate activist movements Fridays for Future (FFF) with its female spokesperson Greta Thunberg and a majority of female activists, and Extinction Rebellion (XR). They started their protests in European metropolises in and around 2018; over the course of 2019, European climate activism transformed from a local and regional into a global, hybrid off- and online movement with allies and offshoots on every continent.

One of its most important allies' are artists researching via the means of sound political and energetic alternatives to contemporary practices, institutions, rationalities, and sensibilities of western, capitalistic societies, which are of European origin. The lecture series is intended to spur the discussion about the potential of sound to uncover new analytical and methodological approaches and tools, which are needed to cope with the current climate crisis as the biggest threat to humanity.

The lecture and workshop series comprises two events in March 2022, which will be focusing on artistic, feminist, and new materialist approaches to the relationship of climate change and sonic agency. The workshops with the guest speakers will take place before and after the lectures. They are open to interested MA and Ph.D. students. To sign up for the workshops please write to:

ania (dot) mauruschat (at) hum (dot) ku (dot) dk. Participation in the lecture as well as in the workshop are for free.

March 24, 2022, 17:00 to 18:30, University of Copenhagen, Southern Campus, room 15a.0.13

Listening to Wicked Problems:

Sound Studies as Transversal Studies

Guest speaker: Prof. Dr. Salomé Voegelin, Sound Artist and Professor of Sound, London College of Communication, London University of the Arts (UK)

Climate change and global health emergencies manifest as complexly interwoven problems that are at once cultural, economic, social, and political. They can be identified as “wicked problems” (K. Popper), “because of the incomplete knowledge of effects and interdependencies, (…) and because they are intertwined with other problems in complex and, to a large extent, unmanageable systems” (P. M. Schiefloe). Salomé Voegelin will propose that the relational capacity of sound, its connecting logic and entangled mattering, offers novel ways to engage these complex inter-dependencies. Thus she appeals for Sound Studies as an interdisciplinary study that remains “undisciplined” but embeds itself and works across every discipline, to broker their entanglements. Such a transversal Sound Studies generates, from a feminist and new materialist sensibility, novel methodologies that hear climate and health and other emergencies from how they sound together.

After the lecture and Q&A session a little pop-up reception will take place. All are welcome.

Workshop: Prof. Dr. Salomé Voegelin, Prof. Dr. Solveig Gade, Associate Professor for Theatre and performance studies, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, UCPH & & Prof. Dr. Holger Schulze, Head of Sound Studies Lab, UCPH.

March 10, 2022, 17:00 to 18:30, University of Copenhagen, Southern Campus, room 15a.0.13

Sonic Visions of the Arctic:

Tracing Sound's Inherent Agency

Guest speaker: Dr. Åsa Helena Stjerna, Sound Artist and Artistic Researcher, Stockholm (S)

Acoustic technologies play a crucial part in mapping and generating information about the Arctic. Sound as artistic practice harbors a unique potential in exploring and making the condition of this region perceivable. Nevertheless, our perception of the Arctic has remained profoundly visual. The ongoing research project “Sonic Visions of the Arctic” aims at altering this by investigating the “agency of the sonic” and its potential to raise awareness for this region of global significance in times of climate crisis. By artistically investigating the role of the acoustic underwater technologies used in scientific research on the Arctic in Sweden, Greenland, and Svalbard, this project intends to both map existing sonic worlds and to develop new sonic experiences. Thus, it seeks to re-articulate the potential of sound as an ethical-aesthetical practice that explores and engages with the multitude of inter-relational agencies, human as well as non-human, involved in each artistic process.

After the lecture and Q&A session a little pop-up reception will take place. All are welcome.

Workshop: Dr. Åsa Helena Stjerna, Prof. Dr. Sanne Krogh Groth, Associate Professor in Musicology and Office Director of the Sound Environment Center, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Lund University (S) & Prof. Dr. Holger Schulze, Head of Sound Studies Lab, UCPH.

The lecture and workshop series “Climate Change & Sonic Agency” serves also as a pre-conference to the 1st Sound Studies Lab Conference “What Sounds Do” (Sept. 13 – 16, 2022). It has received generous funding from the Center for Modern European Studies (CEMES) of the University of Copenhagen (UCPH).

Download of flyer and poster:

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