This is an essay that was a talk, which preceded a workshop that tried to make its participants experience the world as an interdependent environment generated by breath and sound and manifesting as a viral sphere. In this way it hoped to develop an embodied thinking, able to engage with the interdependent global and local challenges of today. The essay continues this intention and describes the relationality of current emergencies, outlining the connected reality between planetary and public health, scarcity of resources, consequent migratory pressures, growing population density, persecution, exclusion, violence and death. In response it acknowledges that the entanglements of these challenges necessitate the capacity to think and sense relationally. It proposes a transversal sound studies as the practice of a theory that generates the knowledge and sensibility of the world and of human and more-than-human beings and things with the world, as an entangled and responsible socio-geography that aims to know accountably from the connections and the in-between, generating a “response-able conviviality”: a being as being with, and an understanding of the inevitable contagion or contamination that this being with entails.

This is an essay that was a talk, which preceded a workshop and therefore unfolds in two parts: the first stages the problems and situations that I mean to address by thinking the world as an environment generated by breath and sound and manifesting as a viral sphere; the second outlines and brings into a workshop scenario elements of a transversal sound studies as a potential response to those problems by thinking and practising, together, the world as a viral environment made from sound and breath and relationships.

In this way, I aim to bring you to the problems I understand to currently beset us and then to the suitcase you see in the image below. This suitcase is contextualised by art, as image and work, performative and iconic, at once nostalgic and contemporary.[2] It is conceptualised in relation to travel, as privilege and possibility, as well as the threat of forced movement and the inability to move.[3] It stands as a focus and tool, playful and serious at the same time, to collectively generate a new thinking and sensing from sound as a multi-sensory path towards an urgent novel engagement with wider problems: the global challenges of climate and health emergencies, scarcity of resources, consequent migratory pressures, growing population density, persecution, exclusion, violence and death.

This suitcase is filled with things, suggestions and scores. These aim to enable a sonic doing as active sound-making and listening, recording and narrating, together, to experience the world as a relational sphere and generative of another view on our being as beings with—with human and more-than-human bodies in conviviality and contamination, in a relational and indivisible world.

Still from performance of the suitcase at Bauhaus-University Weimar, June 2022. © Salomé Voegelin.

First Part

Recent times are probably the most troubled and troubling of my life. We are at the tail end of a global pandemic, or maybe just the start of a new wave, which in its reach and rebound demonstrates the complex interdependencies between cultural habits, social structures, economic opportunities, political governance and health outcomes. It shows that what we eat, how we travel, earn money, live, use resources and relate to human and more-than-human bodies and things has an impact on public health. And, as the climate emergency has become too real to be ignored by all but the staunchest denialists, it becomes apparent that the interdependent drivers of this public health emergency also interact with planetary health, where the scarcity of resources—drinking water, for example—is strongly felt in many areas of the world, while other waters drown its surface. Furthermore, there is a war not many miles from where we met for this essay, when it was a talk and a workshop in Berlin, emphasising that the fragility of physical and planetary conditions interact with a political desire for territory and resources to stem their impact, while exacerbating its cause.

Elon Musk, Richard Branson and others seek to avoid these problems by going to another planet. Or by sending our detritus to another planet. A move that still very much represents the Enlightenment project of objectivity and measurability enabled by distance, and a Euro-modernist desire for expansion and mastery as key positions from which to grasp the world and know and thus tame its problems. Both of which ultimately express the sensibility and perspective of a visual culture and ideology that believes in the individuation of bodies and things as separate and quantifiable and thus lexically categorisable entities, enabling the taxonomies that furnish a current knowledge system along its lines of mastery and metrics. The presumed objectivity and hegemony of this system captures things and bodies in its scheme and is violently exclusive of other possibilities to know and be.[4]

These billionaires’ trips into space, their solution of the remote and its private annexation, represent an ideological move that stands at once for empire-building and the rejection of responsibility towards the notion of a shared world. Its imagination is conjured from a position of social disengagement and considers the unfettered right of the individual not only a possibility but an entitlement, with lines drawn and boundaries made, partitions built, distance owned, as the best way to deal with global problems that through their complex entanglements and messy interdependencies are a threat to the very belief in individuation and separation that present themselves as the only solution possible. This is the paradox of a cultural visuality that does not look but sees its own metrics at the expense of the unmeasurable but felt in-between: the fuzzy geography of our connections and the relationality of the world’s ephemeral design.

In this context and in response, the aim of this talk as essay is to promote a transversal sound studies, that is not the study of sound, sonic technologies or sonic cultures, or not only, and that is not the rejection of visuality but rather a reperformance of its cultural economy through the sensorial of an invisible indivisibility: to “see” the fuzzy relationality of what is unmeasurable within an objective scheme and make it count as a valuable knowledge possibility. Therefore it is a study that practises a sonic thinking and working, in its connecting logic, as a central methodology across disciplines and problems: approaching them from what remains invisible in a normative investigation, and from there focusing on overlaps and shared possibilities rather than foregrounding an isolated expertise. In this way we may come to see disciplines and problems through their interdependencies, enabling a working in hybrid modes. The objective of such a study is to address and engage the problems of today through their entanglement and from the entanglement, actual and conceptual, of sound. Employing its connecting logic to understand a connected world.

In other words, I aim to promote the practice of a theory that listens to everything and sounds across every subject, to generate a knowledge and a sensibility of the world and of human and more-than-human beings and things with the world, as an entangled and responsible socio-geography: to know accountably from the connections and the in-between rather than from a distance and in cartographies. This is what we in the context of this publication might call a “response-able conviviality”: a being as beings with, together, and an understanding of the inevitable contagion or contamination that this being with entails. This sensibility is fostered through sound’s indivisible and relational materiality and is response-able to all flesh and material bodies in its sphere. Such conviviality defines sonic sensibility as an awareness of permeation, of being together not as separate beings, individuated and closed, but open and porous, exposed and subject to the same conditions, and thus careful and caring of those conditions that generate the world as a voluminous sphere, indivisible and shared.

A cultural visuality separates subjects and things and consequently, to be social we have to breach our distance. By contrast, in the indivisibility of sound we meet in the impossibility of our separation. Instead of individuation we practise an always already connected sense of being, where moments of separation are made possible, if at all, only by masks, rockets, planetary travel, populist/xenophobic rhetoric and billions of Pounds or Dollars.

In such “sonic conviviality” we are without or “before” the imagination of the breach, which always assumes a separation, a chasm that has to be overcome to be social.[5] When the overcoming enables sublimation and demands assimilation, and thus holds the potential of violence and exclusions. Instead, the conviviality of a sonic sensibility is based on living interdependently in shared conditions, aware of the consequent inevitability of contagion. Thus, it generates a more contingent and continuous being with that is response-able to connections and aware of entanglements. This responsibility may not stop violence and discrimination, acts of bad faith against human and more-than-human bodies and ecologies. However, its condition in an inevitable connectivity and co-dependence at least creates a different morality as it reveals this violence to necessarily rebound and thus to have an impact on the perpetrating self as a self that is always already in conviviality and contagion.

This sonic conviviality understood through our porosity and as the condition of contagion is not, as we know from the pandemic, a choice. Rather, it is our base condition and the foundation of our being. We leak and are permeated by what leaks around us.[6] Our conviviality is our necessity and our inevitable sociality untamed by social order, the illusion of visual boundaries and the false possibility of individuation. It is our primordiality, from which we may try to extricate ourselves through money, rhetoric and technology, refusing to be part of its fleshly amalgamated monster and voluminous expanse, horrified by what we connect to, and yet living its inevitable consequences in the troubles we face.

Therefore, and from here, to get back to the trouble mentioned at the beginning as defining of this time, I want to suggest that these troubles are part of our conviviality and a result of our refusal to accept its reality. They are not over there and cannot be shifted over there. Our bodies are not metric and are not at a distance. Taxonomies, categories, measurements are reductions and standards that we have taken for real in a foundational world-view that eschews the unreliable, formless, porous as illegible because unquantifiable and messy. When it is this messy unquantifiability that is reality and that holds the key to deal with the problems we face. In this sense, this troubled and troubling time with which I introduced this section, could be read with Donna Haraway not as a trigger to produce a visual solution from a distance, but as a state to be and stay with in order to see things in their entanglement; to spend time with what the problem demands of us together and in our togetherness, rather than relying on the illusion of individuation and quantification within disciplinary expertise, which is what landed us in these troubles in the first place.[7] And so instead, from the sense of a sonic conviviality and understanding the condition of contagion as the condition of being human as being human with, I propose a transversal sound studies as a theoretical possibility whose practice might make us see in entanglements and able to change how we are. Together.

Such a transversal sound studies does, as I hope to show, not function as a separate discipline but interacts, interlopes and interferes with every discipline. It is an “undiscipline” that works transversally, across subjects and problems, making other disciplines’ sonic dimensionality accessible and thinkable, and thus augmenting their conventionally visual methods and approaches from the invisible. In this way, transversal sound studies can confer the sensibilities of the relational, the porous and the indivisible to all disciplinary thinking and working, troubling disciplinary borders and boundaries to get to know the world from its diffuse contingencies, unstable relationalities and potent interdependencies, and promoting a “hybrid epistemology”—the shared and open system we need to engage with the global challenges of today and design a possible world that includes the invisible, the tacit, the embodied and the sensorial in its knowledges.

To get there and to physically understand and sense the need and possibility of such a sensibility, as a tacit engagement that lets us “see”, as in appreciate the world from its entanglements, I want to start with a short breathing score. Breathing has become an extraordinarily important and central activity in recent years. Doing it together without masks feels still a little controversial. However, this controversy is exactly what is at the core of the possibility of sound in its permeating of physical and disciplinary boundaries, making us sense our primordial conviviality through its condition of contagion. And so I invite you to step into a space with other human and more-than-human bodies, and without a mask, to perform this score:[8]



Breathe normally

Listen to your breath

in and out, in and out, in and out…

stop breathing.


We have all become acutely aware of the air we breathe over the last three years. Appreciative that it is the same air we breathe, all around the globe. Which makes us physically aware that we cannot—as some have tried politically and rhetorically and others hope to achieve technologically and scientifically or economically—separate ourselves, gain sovereignty, individuation and opt out of the global (social) contract.

In the viral air we breathed and breathe it has become increasingly obvious that this opting out of the social contract (performed by air), is not really or only partly possible. It is the illusion of the neoliberal dream of individuation, of the self-saving and self-made man, which belies the fragility, porosity and openness of contagious bodies that we all are, and the interdependent condition that we all share in the world as a voluminous sphere.

the viral is the contemporary

The viral is the contemporary because the danger or opportunity of its contagion defines an invisible contemporary aesthetic that describes a current experiential reality and sense of things and bodies as things that are open to each other, leaking, entangled, inseparable but also vulnerable and response-able.

We live in viral environments, and this is not or not just an allusion to the online and digital sphere but also to the physical world, whereby the distinction is starting to be tenuous. The viral as an invisible and indivisible sphere defines our experience as contemporary bodies, entangled together in viral environmental existence. Of course, we have not all suffered the same health, financial, social or physical consequences of the pandemic. Depending on age, job, income, ethnicity, access to healthcare, where you live and so on, people fared better or worse. But there is also unpredictability and uncontrollability to these categories of protection. They are not rigid or certain. Our entangled porosity makes us all vulnerable when breathing the same air.

I believe that in the course of the pandemic we have developed—consciously or unconsciously—an awareness if not acceptance of this entangled existence, the possibility of contagion and the consequences that it implies. In this sense, the pandemic has made Haraway and Karen Barad and others’ ideas of entanglement and its new materialist understanding, sensible and thinkable to a degree that no theory could ever achieve. It has made the theory a practice, a practice of breathing as the essence of being as being with. In turn, the pandemic has made their writing seem prophetic and a potential guide for what Is to come or how we could live in a sonico-viral conviviality. In this viral air we are, as they and others suggest, interbeings, made from the same stuff as the world, uncontained and uncontainable, held together not by skin but by the vibrations of breath and air: molecules moving ever so fractionally but decisively between us to give us a formless form and to foreground the in-between and the relational rather than the substance of flesh and material bodies.

random negative used as slide in presentation given at Bard College Berlin, October 2022. Public Domain.

It is not mine or your body, this or that thing, that is relevant in this viral sphere but the invisible in-between: how we relate and what we become together formlessly and temporarily in passing that defines our being as contingent beings with. This makes the world thinkable as a cosmos: an indivisible volume, and relational expanse, rather than a mapped-out globe or cartography of lines and borders. Here human and more-than-human bodies and things move in an expanse of their collective making, generating an indivisible dimensionality in whose invisible fabric everything is made and whose reality we cannot grasp through visual theories, but have to narrate from the invisible, the sonic, the in-between, in a theory that remains contingent, watery, fluid and fluent, making bodies and environments rather than defining them. In this viral contemporary, distances are not measured but felt up close, however far away, as it is the connection that makes the form we sense.

The pandemic created the condition to think of the possibility of the body and the world as such a relational body and a relational world, that is, a sphere of interdependencies which we all co-generate and within which we all belong, and in which we are as skinless, formless, unprotected flesh open to contagion. This co-generative contagion is not, however, symmetrical or benign. As the demographics of Covid deaths show, the viral reveals rather than hides inequalities. The view on the world as co-generative and contagious demonstrates its interdependencies and in this way also shows the impossibility to de-link wealth and opportunity from discriminations and injustice. Instead, in their rebound and forceful consequentiality, the viral interdependencies starkly reveal the connection between opportunity and lack of opportunity, between having and not having, and dispel any illusion of their noncausality and instead foreground their consequences.

Thus, the pandemic recomposed the sense of self and sovereignty through an interdependent reciprocity that as vulnerability demands responsibility. Our viral impact on each other emphasises the impossibility of distance as measure of safety and objectivity, and instead foregrounds accountability through the criticality of closeness as care and as a means to social/economic justice. Consequently, it demands a different way of knowing and being in proximity, or what we might call response-able conviviality.

To access this invisible sphere of interdependence to foster a thinking and criticality that could take account of its insights, I worked a lot with the viral environmental body in lockdown, practising this tight relationship between body and space and time that the virus revealed, and that sound allows us to perform and make accessible. Being locked in for the better part of five months in London, I wrote and performed text scores that worked on this paradox between unavoidable viral proximity and the consequent need for physical separation that reveals the illusion of physical individuation which our whole science, philosophy and theory is based on. I wrote text scores to perform within that paradox, to try a possible body and a possible environment that might serve to shift the scientific paradigm of objectivity towards a relational and fuzzy in-between, where a sonic conviviality performs its contagion.



Stand in front of a window

Preferably one overlooking a busy street

Start cleaning the window with your tongue

Making loud sloshing sounds.


As the windowpane is smudged with sloshing sound, the line of separation, that is, the line of political and scientific objectivity and visual clarity, is finally lost in the diffusion of the viral load. Instead, reality becomes evidenced through a fuzzy geography of my tongue seemingly blurring vision and troubling perspectives but creating new ones, up close: tacit, local, embodied and potentially plural.

Ultimately I worked with eight artists at a distance, themselves locked down and in their separate but connected viral environments. I sent them scores inviting short responses to produce an album of our joint effort at being apart. The invitation was for them to re-perform their viral bodies in viral environments. To rethink their forms through formlessness and through porosity in contagion with human and more-than-human things.

Works by Siavash Amini, claire rousay, Rie Nakajima, AGF (Antye Greie), Arturas Bumšteinas, Rebecca Lennon, Rhodri Davies and KMRU. Design and art © David Mollin.

All scores by Salomé Voegelin
All tracks by listed artists
Design and art by David Mollin
Mastered by Nima Aghiani
Lathe cut Bladud Flies
Released 27 January 2022

Produced by Flaming Pines


Liner Notes, 2022

The performance of rather than obedience to instructions, of finding a response-able and ethical response, to one-self and others, has been thoroughly tested in this time of lockdown and contamination. What does it mean to do as you are told, who for, who with, against what? How to perform instructions ethically and how to perform the self in solidarity and with care in a world of interdependence? The pandemic tests the liberal notion of personal freedom and sovereignty in the context of conviviality, collectivity and shared space, against the dangers of contamination. How do we perform the social contract made of viral air? How can such being together take account of and be response-able to asymmetries, individual and collective illness, trauma, lack and precarity? And most importantly, how can we take this viral sensibility into a new normal, as a sonic conviviality, to sustain contagion as criticality and paradigmatic shift into postnormality?

the postnormal

Against such challenges and in the paradoxical tension of being with, the desire for many, including myself, is and was to go back, to be “normal” again: to live without masks, with hugs and kisses, closeness and intimacy performed without the fear of contagion because we understand ourselves as separate bodies. However, as it is that very normal, with its cultural and social behaviours, economic habits, extractive resource management and so on, that got us into this troubling situation in the first place, we may want to reconsider this desire to simply turn back. Instead of returning to the normal, it is the “postnormal”, as the newfound sensibility of our complex entanglements, understood as a sonico-porous conviviality, that we could embrace. To avoid repetition and come to different solutions and better planetary and public health outcomes, we may want to stay with the trouble and generate a different way of being. Together.

The pandemic has reframed the body in a network of bodies combined in breath, in air, in overlapping and porous waves. This newly gained sense of an interdependent world and porous, indivisible bodies gained not be ignored in our haste to get back to normalcy. Instead, we could move to a post-normal that practises an entanglement of disciplines, methods and research, where theory is a practice of a body with, with human and more-than-human bodies, performing their contagion and conviviality and able to embrace the knowledge of a fuzzy and relational geography.

I know the pandemic is not over, and I do not dare to pre-empt its end. In any event, I do not see it as an end but as ushering in a new era in which pandemics remain and will come back, regularly, caused by humans ignoring the world’s invisible dimension and interdependency, its relational and connecting logic, from which we could conjure new ways of thinking and living, with human and more-than-human things, in care and responsibility. And from where we could focus on the in-between and being with, abandoning the visual certainties and values that exploit the world’s resources and each other for the illusions of an individuated body, with a separate fate and individual success that cannot see the antimony of its desire: to succeed alone is not to succeed at all, because in an entangled world, binaries haunt each other in the same breath.

In response, sound, as a sonic sensibility and condition of a porous conviviality can foster and maintain awareness of the voluminous and the relational with us. The pandemic made this inter-being co-dependency apparent while sound makes it thinkable and ultimately and sustainably workable in a practical theory. A sonic sensibility can keep us porous and entangled, open to understand our own complex interdependencies so we might use this knowledge and viral sense of self with others to engage in and solve the issues of the pre-pandemic—the complex interwoven global challenges of climate and public health, of scarcity of resources and consequent migratory pressures, what we eat, how we eat, how we live and work, how we move and cultivate food, etc.—which are all complexly interwoven cultural, social and political habits and norms that got us to the pandemic in the first place, and that in our striving towards a solution we ignored as its cause.

Second Part

This is where I want to move on to the practice of the theory, which opens everything described above to its contingency.

Logo Transversal Sound Studies. © Salomé Voegelin.

Earlier, I introduced my aim for a transversal sound studies as a practical mode of theorising, with ears and voice and hands, and across disciplines and cultures, which in its radical non-disciplinarity and interloping potential has the capacity to reveal and access the world in its complex relationality. The aim is to produce generative and plural knowledges not from outside their disciplines but through embedded co-listening, creating hybrid-(un)disciplinarities: listening in and with every subject to unperform its borders and the violence of singular hegemonic knowledge paths; hearing entanglements and complex contradictions, uncertainties and idiosyncrasies, to contribute new solutions from sound’s entangledness.

Such a transversal sound studies does not define an autonomous discipline but interlopes in every field to develop a “sonic competency” as a connecting logic that thinks relationally, enables us to challenge hegemonic knowledge strands and handle the complex interwoven problems that describe the interdependencies of a viral world.

From here, I propose the founding of an undisciplined, interloping and interfering but curriculum embedded sound studies, that is, the practice of a theory that listens to everything and across every subject, together, in the hybrid space of an indivisible world. I pursue this sound studies not as an essentialised undertaking but as a move towards a “multisensory studies” that does not stop at invisibility but senses it as a cause, to hear, smell, taste, see and so on differently, and create a physical image of the world in its entanglements.

Sound as an analytical, thinking and practising tool and concept, as sensibility and relational logic, allows and equips us, in that it gives us the capacities and competencies to theorise the world as viral volume of human and more-than-human bodies, without separating it in theory, which is always already a tool of binaries and divisions. Since, as Michael Eng, via Christoph Cox, reminds us, theory is always already “caught in the web of representation”, a view on this or that rather than a sense of this with that.[9] Sound, as a sensory knowledge and viral concept, instead provides the perspective on the entangled or rather an entangled perspective that defies a humanistic and dualistic thinking, and provides a posthumanist response-ability and in-between: a practical theory that knows through being and doing with.

But how to see this entanglement, how to train a new way of looking that is not at but with. This is where I get to the suitcase. Because a suitcase is needed to remain transversal, nomadic, fluid in flux, across cultures and disciplinary fields, and able to respond as well as be response-able, appreciative also of the precarities of movement and the terror of an enforced fixed position. This is a suitcase that remains mobile, that adapts and transforms according to the different embedded engagements and problems we aim to work with. In this sense, transversal sound studies is a responsive and response-able studies that goes to different researchers and disciplines and meets them on their contingent territories to open them up through the hybrid capacity and the relational logic of sound, so they can meet other disciplines and subjects in their unmeasurable but valuable in-between.

In relation to the particular context of this workshop, which is the source and cause of this writing, I would like to share three text scores that propose listening and sounding exercises for us to do separately but together. They aim to initiate the practice of a sonic sensibility, which I suggest may get us to the postnormal, generate the critical conviviality of a different social response-ability and enabling of novel ways to think our collective troubles.

These were the scores given to the workshop participants after the talk as a tool to practise its ideas, to try its theoretical proposition in an applied sonic conviviality. They consist of three sheets of paper with props and instructions as an invitation to do. They are included below in the hope that some of you will try them to explore and test their propositions: to engage with score 1 in the fuzzy geographies of an unmeasurable sound; to tend to the sonic convivialities and threats of contagion with score 2; and with score 3 to activate the relational in-betweens that generate our indivisibility and being with human and more-than-human bodies in the voluminous dimensionality of the world.

Score 1, Dead kittens. © Salomé Voegelin.
Score 2, Face to Face. © Salomé Voegelin.
Score 3, Tapping. © Salomé Voegelin.


  1. This is a text that exists in different iterations and states of completion, as talks, workshops, relating and developing each other, trying to understand through repetition and in an exchange with different audiences and workshop participants what it is that a relational sensibility might bring to the table of knowledge and how we can possibly foster and establish such a thinking and doing. Elements of this essay have, in different orders and with different aims been presented, including as part of “I am not sitting in a room” conference at Bauhaus-University in Weimar; at Uniarts in Helsinki; at the “What Sounds do?” conference in Copenhagen; at Casino Display in Luxembourg; at Aarhus University; and at Bard College Berlin. The text remains in flux, performative, growing and shrinking, adapting and transforming. In addition, this essay also contains elements of my most recent book, unperforming and reperforming already the category of the book itself. See Voegelin, Salomé. Uncurating Sound: Knowledge with Voice and Hands. London: Bloomsbury. 2023.
  2. This suitcase stands historically in reference to works such as Alexander Calder’s Circus (1926–31) and Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise (1935–41), taking on their playful anarchy. More contemporaneously it is aware of works such as unpacked by Mohamad Hafez and Ahmed Badr (2017), in which suitcases hold, model and narrate the memory of middle eastern refugees, and thus communicate a different narrative knowledge of war, geography and power from the personal. See https://www.unpackedrefugee.com/ (accessed 2023-04-20). It is mindful also of Yhonnie Scarce, who uses the suitcase as a means of bringing her ancestors and their knowledge along on her travels, declaring them her royal family as opposed to the British colonisers’ royal family. “As fas as I’m concerned, my grandparents, great grandparents and those people who walked my Country before me, are Australia’s royalty”, in the Remember Royalty series (2018), see https://acca.melbourne/education/resources/contemporary-atsi-art/key-idea-3-kinship-family/ (accessed 2023-04-20). The suitcase holds the potential for narratives and inspires performance, invites a telling and retelling, a bringing along and taking back. It questions fixed and singular knowledge strands and initiates engagement and exchange.
  3. Here I am reminded by Doreen Massey’s writing in “Power Geometry and a Progressive Sense of Place” (1996), of the asymmetries of movement. In this essay she critiques the discussion of movement and flux as necessarily positive by reminding us of the inequalities between privileged travellers, for whom movement always happens in relation to nice hotel rooms and the certainty of a home to go back to, and the enforced movements of refugees, evoking the precarity of living in flux without the stabilising port of home, while also mentioning the enforced fixity experienced by those whose movement is stopped by political, economic and other powers of those who move easily. See Massey, Doreen. “Power Geometry and a Progressive Sense of Place”. In Mapping the Futures. Edited by John Bird, Barry Curtis, Tim Putnam and Lisa Tickner. London: Routledge. 1996. pp. 59–69.
  4. The reference here to the visuality of this thinking does not mean to set up a binary between seeing and hearing, looking and listening. Instead it articulates a critique of a cultural visuality, where vision is reduced to recognition, reading and legibility rather than experience, and is thus brought into the service of the binary, the measurable and objective against an embodied and fuzzy view. The suggestion is not that sound and listening are better per se, but that a non-referenced “direct” sound can help us see more than the semantic and the source and from there critique the reduction of a cultural and scientific visuality.
  5. This being “before” the chasm can be thought with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s discussion of “The Intertwining and the Chiasm”, where he describes seeing as being part of the visible, as a thickness. “[T]he thickness of the body, far from rivaling that of the world, is on the contrary the sole means I have to go unto the heart of the things, by making myself a world and by making them flesh.” See Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Visible and the Invisible. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Edited by Claude Lefort. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.1968. p. 135. However, for Merleau-Ponty there are still two parts, the body and the world, made of things. Perception brings them into proximity and into an intertwining but this is a human perception, his “making them flesh”, and it is essentially visual, based on the possibility of separation. And however small the gap, between seer and seen, toucher and touched, the principle of distance still determines their proximity and thus how we overcome it. Only when he comes to speak of the voice, of vociferation, and listening, does he approach the possibility of a sonorous inscription “in the world of silence”, and reaches another, what he terms “figurative” meaning of vision through the body, what we could understand as an embodied vision, where (Husserl’s) horizon of perception opens to a new type of being: “a being by porosity, pregnancy, or generality and he before whom the horizon opens is caught up, included within it” (p. 149).
  6. This leak at once refers back Merleau-Ponty’s open horizon and embodied vision. His “open world” and an “opening of the world” articulated as “ouverture au monde” as our movement towards the world that generates it and as the reciprocity of this movement that generates us. And clarifies it via Margrit Shildrick’s articulation that this “openness should not be interpreted as weakness, nor as indecision, but rather as the courage to refuse the comforting refuge of broad categories and fixed unidirectional vision.” See Shildrick, Margrit. Leaky Bodies and Boundaries, Feminism Postmodernism and (Bio) Ethics. New York, NY, and London: Routledge. 1997. p. 3. Via Elizabeth Grosz it reveals sonic conviviality as an intersectional feminist condition in that it associates porosity and leakage with the idea that “the female body has been constructed not only as a lack or absence but with more complexity, as a leaking, uncontrollable, seeping liquid; as formless flow; as viscosity, entrapping, secreting” and as lacking self-containment. See Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. 1994. p. 203; and Shildrick’s notion of the female body in “its putative leakiness, the outflow of the body which breaches the boundaries of the proper” in Shildrick, Leaky Bodies and Boundaries, p. 17. This loss of containment and definition, provokes a “a deep seated fear of absorption” (Grosz) and a sense of “unease and even horror” (Shildrick) which an cultural-visuality and visual scientificness tries to overcome while doing violence to the porous body. However, it is also the imaginary that can support a transformative, transforming and transversal morphology that is emancipatory and powerfully connecting for all marginal bodies.
  7. Haraway, Donna. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2016
  8. Please keep a mask on if you are ill or think you may be.
  9. Eng, Michael. “The Sonic Turn and Theory’s Affective Call”. Parallax. Vol. 23. No. 3. 2017. p. 316.