video < sound & listening

MIT ACT | Kinetic Sound Creations | Spring 2016
Instructor: Jan St. Werner

A reading of an excerpt from Listening to Noise and Silence by Salomé Voegelin. Performed live at MIT on April 12 2016.


An aesthetic and philosophy of sound art is based on the discovering drive.
This is not a gnostic drive, but a drive to knowing.

Knowing as past participle,
always now,
unfolding in the present,
bringing with it the uncertainty of a fleeting understanding.

Such listening does not pursue the question of meaning, as a collective, total comprehension, but that of interpretation in the sense of phantasmagoric, individual and contingent practice.
This practice remains necessarily incomplete in relation to an objective totality but complete in its subjective contingency.

Sound narrates,
and fills,
but it is always ephemeral and doubtful.

Between my heard and the sonic object/phenomenon

I will never know its truth

but can only invent it, producing a knowing for me. This knowing is the experience of sound as temporal relationship. This ‘relationship’ is not between things
but is the thing,
is sound itself.

Listening cannot contemplate the object/phenomenon heard separate from its audition because the object does not precede listening. Rather, the auditory is generated in the listening practice:

in listening I am sound,
there can be no gap between the heard and hearing,
I either hear it
or I don’t,
and what I perceive is what I hear.

I can perceive a distance
but that is a heard distance.

The distance is what I hear here,
not over-there.

It does not signal a separation of objects or events but is the separation as perceived phenomenon