Research Networking Day: The Power of Sound

Kunstquartier Studio 1, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin Map
Tickets: Free entrance


13:45 15:15

Talks by Johanna Wenzel & Thao Ho, Luise Wolf, Sam Austin & Edward Wainwright
Hosted by Christoph Jacke

The Research Networking Day provides a platform to exchange ideas and experiences for students and researchers from different European graduate and postgraduate programmes traversing the fields of audio, arts, media, design and related theoretical disciplines. A yearly initiative co-organised with Humboldt University’s Department of Musicology, the RND sought submissions from students, junior researchers and persons pursuing higher levels of research and studies to present projects and findings connected to the CTM 2018 Turmoil Theme.


The second module within the 2018 Research Networking Day is hosted by Christoph Jacke, who is Professor of Theory, Aesthetics and History of Popular Music, and Director of the BA and MA programme in Popular Music and Media at the Department of Music at the University of Paderborn. His research focus is on media, culture and communications theory, cultural studies, celebrity studies and popular music studies.

The Potential of Noise: Striving for Sounds of Protest in Electronic Music

Johanna Wenzel & Thao Ho (Potsdam University / Freie Universität Berlin, DE)

Noise is undesired, unpleasant, and loud. Harmonic sounds are preferred over dissonant sounds just as harmony is preferred over disruption in social environments. However, social noise is a necessity for the invisible Other which can take on different forms, such as street protests. Based on Michael Bull and Les Black’s call for a more auditory culture, this talk will analyse noise as a potential entity of change by looking at the concept of noise itself, and the different layers of sounds that constitute it, thus interpreting electronic music that incorporates field recordings and its effects. This talk demonstrates the importance of noise that is often ignored just as the source of noise. It argues that music allows an integration of these unwanted sounds and therefore makes the marginalized audible.

Thao Ho is the founder of Deutsche Asiat_Innen Make Noise, an initiative that aims to make Asian Germans visible and strives for an equal participation of BPOC in political discourses. She is an active member of korientation e.V. and Feminism Unlimited. She studies American and Japanese literature and sociology at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests include migration, diasporic literature, body politics and ethnomusicology.

Johanna Wenzel is founder of trugschluss, a nonprofit organization that aims to mediate Neue Music and experimental sounds through concerts at off-spaces. She worked at radio x, an uncommercial radio station in Frankfurt am Main and for the documentary filmmaker Mo Asumang. She is currently completing her M.A. in Cultural Semiotics at University of Potsdam. Her research interests include music philosophy, cultural diplomacy, ethnomusicology, and electronic dance music.

Drone. From the Sense of Possibility to the Loss of Sense(s) - Variations of Aesthetic Experience in the Presence of Sonic Materiality

Luise Wolf (Humboldt University, DE)

The Haxan Cloaks’ drone music evokes an intense physical experience of sonic materiality which goes beyond vibration through a bass line. The body resonates differently in-depth. Listeners speak of cathartic feelings through that music, a voluntary self-abandonment, and sense new ways of expression. But others experience a horrifying absorption, a loss of sense(s) within the dominance of sound. This thesis explores the artwork-inherent and bodily-subjective conditions – the perception modes, aesthetic proportions, musical parameters, physiological and acoustic effects – that lead to such drastic and differing experiences.

Sound is the material of our real and bodily relation to space, time, and other bodies as well as to our own figure. Its intense quantities (Will Schrimshaw) can make us listen ‘on the edge’ of our perception, stretching our auditory and tactile threshold. The Haxan Cloaks’ music rearranges our bodily relations by composing formerly unheard sonic quantities. Embodying these alien sonic gravitations, the relation of the mind and body is transformed as well; augmented and eventually parted from itself and from how it used to sense itself and reach rational meaning. Listeners can be driven into a negative mimicry (Christian Grüny), a loss of sense and self-perception within the massive materiality of sound.

Luise Wolf works as a freelance Journalist and author in Berlin. She is currently studying Physics at the Humboldt-University, where she had previously completed a Masters degree within the Department of Cultural History and Theory. Her academic focus lies on the transdisciplinary research of the perception, description, and mediation of sonic materiality, and its philosophical, aesthetic, cultural, and acoustic significance and conditions.

Intoxicated Passion

Sam Austin & Edward Wainwright (Newcastle University, UK)

What is Passion? [...] It’s a state, something that falls on you out of the blue, that takes hold of you, that grips you for no reason, that has no origin. [...]Passion gives itself all the conditions necessary to continue, and, at the same time, it destroys itself. In a state of Passion one is not blind. One is simply not oneself. To be oneself no longer makes Sense. – Foucault, 1996

Passion is turmoil; it puts us into a place of intoxication. The self that attempts to identify as solid and stable is agitated through stimuli external to the body: sound, light, chemicals, space. Passion is unstable: it consumes itself and yet is capable of continual expansion. Passion as intoxication can, through careful modulation, induce an experience of turmoil that moves us out of ‘ourselves’ and allows a space outside of the colonization of capital to open up. How this turmoil can be produced spatially and aesthetically through material and immaterial encounters has formed the basis of our design and research studio at Newcastle University. We propose to present our experiences of designing with and through spatial intoxication, and to contemplate the capacity for resistance through moments when ‘one is simply not Oneself’.

Together, Dr. Wainwright and Dr. Austin lead Intoxicated Practices / Intensities of Production, a design studio at the school of architecture, Newcastle University, and design and produce experiential spatial environments using digital technologies and architectural methodologies.

Dr. Edward Wainwright is a lecturer in architecture, a researcher and designer exploring the intersections of architecture and culture, and the politics of architectural production. His design interests are concerned with architecture's relationship to fine art and spatial experience. He has worked internationally with artists and architects on collaborative installation projects and spatial research for national and international organizations.

Dr. Samuel Austin is lecturer, researcher, design collaborator and Associate Editor of arq: Architectural Research Quarterly (published by Cambridge University Press). He completed his doctoral thesis ‘Travels in Lounge Space: Placing the Contemporary British Motorway Service Area' at Cardiff University in 2012. Past experience includes practice at Mecanoo Architecten, Delft and at the Design Research Unit, Wales, and tutoring at The Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University.

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