Sound is not something self-sufficient and isolated within nature. It cannot be for itself. So regardless of whether it is audible or not, it is always coupled with a listening. The apprehension of sound is always articulated with the listening that corresponds to it, even if this listening is virtual. The reminiscence of sound, the evocation of a sonorous memory, always proceeds via the mobilization of a stance of re-listening. The convocation of sound invariably implies the presence, the possibility, of a listening. This coupling is not univocal, though; which means that we need to distinguish different ways in which listening can be used, different types of listening...

François J. Bonnet

Call for Presentations



1.

Perhaps the most ‘visible’ and known queer sonic cultures are those documented in film and literature. In film we may think, for example, of the visceral echoes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety’s cinema that relies on the in-between spaces of visual and aural storytelling. Other examples can be found in the documentary-fictional landscapes of Peter Ackroyd’s Queer City, Dave Haslam’s Life After Dark, Tim Lawrence’s Life and Death On The New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983, and Bill Brewster’s The Record Players. Literary examples include S.J. Naudé’s The Third Reel and The Pornographers by Akiyuki Nozaka.

2.

However, queer sonic cultures take many forms and are by no means limited to film and literature. In Aeon, for example, a work created by a team that includes queer artist Lz Dunn, the audience is provided with a portable speaker to guide their sonic walk through a queer ecology. This immersive experience is activated by both silence and sounds, as well as an entanglement of queer intentionality that draws creator and audience into assemblages aimed at undoing the rigidity of traditional aural performances and expectations.

3.

Expectations around the sonic extend also beyond music or art performances as trans voice studies are showing. In particular, these studies draw attention to the still pervasive normativity in sociophonetic studies. As Lal Zimman says: Despite the ‘wealth of knowledge about the social construction of gender through language, gender differences in the voice are frequently treated as natural, direct products of sex differentiation’ (2017). Uncovering these expectations around gender differences in voice is thus one movement towards the queering of sonic expectations.

Call for Presentations

Perhaps the most ‘visible’ and known queer sonic cultures are those documented in film and literature. In film we may think, for example, of the visceral echoes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety’s cinema that relies on the in-between spaces of visual and aural storytelling. Other examples can be found in the documentary-fictional landscapes of Peter Ackroyd’s Queer City, Dave Haslam’s Life After Dark, Tim Lawrence’s Life and Death On The New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983, and Bill Brewster’s The Record Players. Literary examples include S.J. Naudé’s The Third Reel and The Pornographers by Akiyuki Nozaka.

However, queer sonic cultures take many forms and are by no means limited to film and literature. In Aeon, for example, a work created by a team that includes queer artist Lz Dunn, the audience is provided with a portable speaker to guide their sonic walk through a queer ecology. This immersive experience is activated by both silence and sounds, as well as an entanglement of queer intentionality that draws creator and audience into assemblages aimed at undoing the rigidity of traditional aural performances and expectations.

Expectations around the sonic extend also beyond music or art performances as trans voice studies are showing. In particular, these studies draw attention to the still pervasive normativity in sociophonetic studies. As Lal Zimman says: Despite the ‘wealth of knowledge about the social construction of gender through language, gender differences in the voice are frequently treated as natural, direct products of sex differentiation’ (2017). Uncovering these expectations around gender differences in voice is thus one movement towards the queering of sonic expectations.

Abstract submission

Riffing on these themes, we invite papers that:

  • think about queer sonic cultures, be it the rave scene, popular cultures of drag voicing, sound tricksters, queer audio drama or any other form of audio culture that could be thought of as queer or queered;
  • trace histories of queer sonic cultures in literature and/or film;
  • explore the kinds of gender injustices that play out in electronic and experimental music: at festivals, or in terms of the technical aspects of sound design, etc.;
  • imagine how sonic performativity can be queered towards future sounding possibilities;
  • think about how, at the level of ‘the nation’, we can begin to think differently about the sounds of state-sponsored PR, about stately noise, sonic civility and citizenship, and about the sounds of war;
  • probe questions related to contexts of the Global South, such as the intersections between queer sonic cultures, aural possibility and orality, hip-hop, oral histories and storytelling;
  • investigate sound philosophically (see here, for example).
  • think about the relations between queer culture, art and sound; and
  • any related topic not listed here.

Riffing on these themes of aural-text landscapes, sound ecologies and knowledge construction(s), we invite any presentations related to the theme “queer sonic cultures”. Please send a 400-word abstract or proposal to the conference convenors, Prof. Chantelle Gray and Wemar Strydom at gray.chantelle@gmail.com to reach us by 31 January 2020 with FL2020 ABSTRACT in the subject line. Proposals for papers, panels and performances are welcomed.

Participants will be notified of acceptance by 2 February 2020. Participants who need acceptance before this date for funding purposes are welcome to let the organisers know.

Abstract submission

Riffing on these themes, we invite papers that:

  • think about queer sonic cultures, be it the rave scene, popular cultures of drag voicing, sound tricksters, queer audio drama or any other form of audio culture that could be thought of as queer or queered;
  • trace histories of queer sonic cultures in literature and/or film;
  • explore the kinds of gender injustices that play out in electronic and experimental music: at festivals, or in terms of the technical aspects of sound design, etc.;
  • imagine how sonic performativity can be queered towards future sounding possibilities;
  • think about how, at the level of ‘the nation’, we can begin to think differently about the sounds of state-sponsored PR, about stately noise, sonic civility and citizenship, and about the sounds of war;
  • probe questions related to contexts of the Global South, such as the intersections between queer sonic cultures, aural possibility and orality, hip-hop, oral histories and storytelling;
  • investigate sound philosophically (see here, for example).

Riffing on these themes of aural-text landscapes, sound ecologies and knowledge construction(s), we invite any presentations related to the theme “queer sonic cultures”. Please send a 400-word abstract to the conference convenors, Prof. Chantelle Gray and Wemar Strydom at gray.chantelle@gmail.com to reach us by 31 January 2020. Proposals for papers, panels and performances are welcomed.

Registration

The February Lectures conference is free and open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter.

To register, email Prof. Chantelle Gray at gray.chantelle@gmail.com by 31 January 2020. Please indicate access, dietary or other requirements.

Keynote speakers

C-drík

Cedrik Fermont (also known as C-drík Fermont or Kirdec) is a vegan artist, academically trained musician, DJ, singer, composer and drummer. They were born in Zaire (DR Congo) and currently live in Berlin (Germany). C-drík is a former student of electro-acoustic composer Annette Vande Gorne (Royal Conservatory of Mons, Belgium) and in 2017 was co-awarded the prestigious Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica in digital music and sound art. C-drík was involved in the writing and editing of Not Your World Music: Noise in South East Asia together with Dimitri della Faille (2016), published by Syrphe (Europe) and Hushush (Americas). The book explores the notion of 'world music' and argues that there are far more diverse histories of music than what dominant ideas of cultural difference allow for under this rubric. This book traces the history of noise music in South East Asia and reflects on the social determinants of this form of music in the region. C-drik recently toured through Africa to explore a similar line of inquiry. You may learn more about them on their website.

The February Lectures conference series

February has been designated LGBTQI* History Month, and the February Lectures conference series was initiated to encourage academic engagement with the intersection between queer theory and the Global South lived experience.

As such, we are especially interested in creating spaces of exploration and discussion on both the past and the future of queer writing, theory, arts, archiving, theatre, translation and film in South Africa, but also in/on/of the Global South.

Current and upcoming February Lectures conferences

The February Lectures conference series takes place in February each year, with a programme structure that encourages a recognition of historicity, futurity and theoretical practice.

The first conference took place in 2018 at UNISA, South Africa and focused on the queer engaged fiction of Koos Prinsloo, queer theory and decoloniality. The second took place in 2019 at Northwest University and focused on queer African visualities.

The third conference takes place in 2020 and once again we encourage participants to think about the ways in which historicity, futurity and theoretical practice intersect.