Practices of listening: the launch of Soapbox Journal
In cooperation with Soapbox: Journal for Cultural Analysis
While we may have always been talking, practices of listening are undergoing a transformation. For this event, Soapbox, a graduate journal for cultural analysis, invites the authors of this first issue to discuss their work on the conditions, practices, and policies of listening in political protest, speech to text software, and audiovisual 'time crystals'.
New practices of listening come at us from all sides, complicating rules, relations, and expectations set in place by the old. Emerging forms of political activism and the cacophony of digitally distributed voices make the act of directing attention itself politically saturated, while speech recognition software and audiovisual distribution platforms tether the listener to the listened to in new and unexpected ways. Presenting a variety of perspectives on and examples of listening, the speakers in this event share one idea: perhaps it is less what we say that affects our social and political condition than the various ways in which what we call the practices of listening take place. For them, acts of listening are not simply an individual choice, but rather subject to infrastructural distributions of listening channels, both aesthetic, technological, and political – amplifying voices from some directions and muting those from others.
Soapbox is an open-access platform for cultural analysis, run by students from the University of Amsterdam. Its website and each biannual issue both give the floor to students, PhDs and young researchers, publishing forward-thinking and experimental work on a broad range of cultural artefacts, concepts and phenomena.
This event was made possible by the support of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA) and the Literary and Cultural Analysis department of the University of Amsterdam.
About the speakers
‘Dragon NaturallySpeaking: Being Listened to and the Subservience of Speech’
Through her experience writing with speech recognition software, Eeke van der Wal (rMA Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam) finds listening to be an active determinant in the relation between listener and speaker.
‘Earwitnessing the Assembly: Listening to the Voice of ‘the People’ in the Gezi Park Protests’
Duygu Erbil (rMA Comparative Literary Studies, Utrecht University) analyses protest sound in Istanbul’s Gezi Park demonstrations, presenting a practice of ‘earwitnessing’: attuning to sonics and noise to hear the voice of the people.
‘Immersed in Multiplicity: Subjective Time in a Time Crystal’
Emilio Aguilar (Early Music Singing, Conservatory of Amsterdam; rMA Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam) rethinks hearing/listening through the temporally complex ‘audiovisual canon’ of music video ‘Peace for Triple Piano’.
‘One Megaphone and Two Thousand Bottles: Listening to Frames of a Mistransmitted Protest’
Erica Moukarzel (rMA Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam; Oude Kerk, Amsterdam) compares two different media framings of Lebanese prime minister Saad el Hariri addressing a crowd of protesters – listening to recover the otherwise distorted voices of the precarious crowd.
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