Auraldiversities: Session Two

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The Foundling Museum

40 Brunswick Square

London

WC1N 1AZ

United Kingdom

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Auraldiversities - Session Two

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Silent Sound: Onomatopoeia on and off the Page

Session lead: Dr. Richard Hamblyn (Birkbeck, University of London)

(Talk; seminar; workshop)

Onomatopoeia might seem a simple matter: words and symbols constructed to convey non-verbal experiences of sound, either in spoken and/or imitative form, or intended for silent reading /viewing. But there is more to onomatopoeia than meets the eye and ear, and the varying uses to which it has been put, in different times, places and contexts, can speak to wider cultural assumptions about sound and noise and their relationship to other forms of communication, such as writing, speech, song or gesture.

For example, one of the characteristics of the so-called New Journalism of the 1960s was the representation of twentieth-century American modernity through an acceleration of increased sensory stimulation, including sound. The titles of Tom Wolfe’s early essays, such as his ground-breaking piece on the US custom car scene, ‘There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored (Thphhhhhh!) Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (Rahghhh!) Around the Bend (Brummmmmmmmmmmmmmm)…’ (1963); or, ‘Las Vegas (What?) Las Vegas (Can’t hear you! Too noisy!) Las Vegas!!!!’ (1965) both use onomatopoeia to frame modernity through an increase of noise that interrupts or overlays other forms of sound such as speech or the background cadences of radio or passing traffic.

This seminar and writing workshop will look at varying uses of onomatopoeia, from poetry and prose to visual forms such as graphic novels, including Japanese manga, which has developed a wide repertoire of onomatopoeic kanji, featuring more sound-symbols or sound-equivalents than any other language on earth. The session will include reading/listening and discussion, as well as a practical workshop element intended to stimulate the participants’ own onomatopoeic creativity.

A Dangerous Supplement

Session lead: Dr. Josephine Dickinson (Independent scholar)

(Lecture, plus performance)

‘What is at stake… is whether a poem’s form is simply and most purely the sounds of the spoken word, or whether the poem’s form also involves the spatial dimension of the paper (or screen) on/in which it is written/read. And, in the end, I agree with Derrida that the written poem is not an inferior supplement to Speech but rather a dangerous supplement.’ Aaron M. Moe, Ecocriticism and the Pioesis of Form, Holding on to Proteus

In this lecture/performance, d/Deaf poet/artist/composer Josephine Dickinson will begin by telling the story of her life-trajectory from full hearing in early childhood, through sudden sensorineural deafness (SSD) at age six, use of hearing aids throughout ‘mainstream’ education and beyond, then loss of all residual hearing seven years ago in another SSD event, receipt of a cochlear implant and subsequent experience, activities and thought.

In particular, Josephine will describe how her experiences of music, language and visual arts have been shaped and affected by her various aural realities.

Performance of works will include but not be restricted to one or more sound/visual poems; ALPHABETULA (published in Magma 69), snow (published in This Place I Know, Handstand Press) and Peat (published in English OUP). These poems challenge the boundaries both between language, music and visual art and between cultural positions in the Deaf and hearing worlds and languages. They celebrate her experience of sound and language as a d/Deaf composer/artist/poet. They directly address different experiences of the auditory stimulus of voiced language and challenge assumptions around meaningful experience of semiotic sound units by hearing and d/Deaf alike. They enact complex relationships between geology, culture, dialect, sounds and units of language in the liminal eco-niche in which she practises.

An intense engagement with everything

Session lead: Dr. Patrick Farmer (Oxford Brookes University)

(Lecture; workshop; listening walk)

This session will focus on listening to the weather as a way of thinking about sound and borders/identity. How can thinking about the relationship between sound and weather help to ‘implode’ and ‘explode’ the relationship between inside and outside? How can sound redefine or denaturalise language when language rubs up against sound? What even is sound?

Participants will be led ‘outside’ on a listening walk, with a focus on the weather/acoustic atmospheres, before returning ‘inside’ to discuss and experiment ways in which language might help accommodate and expand, rather than shut down, the fluctuating relationship between sound and weather.

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Auraldiversities is a series of lectures, workshops and in-situ training sessions seeking to encourage creative and critical attention towards aural diversity within the arts and humanities, with particular focus on an ecology of the ear, designed for all those researching within the Arts and Humanities, especially those with an interest in the creative, social and political dimensions of sound and listening.

These sessions specifically address the need for further study and practice inspired by, and concerning, this specific turn in research and focus on a particular theme led by an academic/practitioner with invited guests selected to represent a range of approaches. A CHASE PhD candidate with associated research interests will also give a presentation.

Sessions are purposefully multifaceted, practical, intuitive and experimental in approach and encourage collaborative work and collective activities:

Sign up to the other sessions in the series here

Session One: Thursday 13 F ebruary | 10-6pm |

Session Two: Thursday 27 February | 10-6pm |

Session Three: Thursday 12 March | 10-6pm |

Plenary: Thursday 26 March | 3-6pm |

All attendees to sessions should attend the plenary where possible.

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The Foundling Museum

40 Brunswick Square

London

WC1N 1AZ

United Kingdom

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