Journal of Sonic Studies, volume 2, nr. 1 (May 2012)Huw Hallam: THE PRODUCTION OF LISTENING: on Biopolitical Sound and the Commonplaces of Aurality
Expression and listening imply a complex interface. Neither can be conceptualized without the movement of intention and receptivity implied by their conjunction. Yet nothing is less certain, since conjunction requires an intermediary space, where a relationship may be formed in common or else violently impelled. This space – of listening and making oneself heard – is fundamentally political, and this essay explores its key forms in the age of biopolitics and neoliberalism. It is examined via artistic evocations of sonic production and listening in works by André Kertész, Iannis Xenakis and Federico Fellini. Then it is analyzed through two major contemporary paradigms of listening: the institutional network where sound art continues to stake out territory; and the private auditory ‘bubble’ generated by the mobile personal audio-player. Finally, in work by Pedro Almodóvar, a revolutionary approach to expression is found that acknowledges the common space of listening on which it depends.