Sound! Congrats to Lecturer Dr Marie Thompson, at the University of Lincoln School of Film & Media, on her new book. Beyond Unwanted Sound: Noise, Affect and Aesthetic Moralism (Bloomsbury, 2017) delves into noise and how we talk about it explained researcher and author Marie. Noise is a topic that remains fascinating to me – it’s one of those subjects that everyone has something to say about it; be it their experiences of noisy neighbours, or the nostalgic crackle of their vinyl collection.
Beyond Unwanted Sound stemmed from my interest in how noise is used in the sonic arts. To me, the idea of noise as ‘unwanted sound’ didn’t make sense in this context. As a result, the book thinks through how noise might be understood otherwise, so as to allow for noise’s potentially positive, useful or serendipitous manifestations, in addition to its capacity to be unwanted, negative, detrimental and so on. I draw on the histories of media theory to suggest that noise does not just prevent or limit mediation but also allows mediation to happen in the first place. I then use this to question what I call the ‘aesthetic moralism’ of R. Murray Schafer’s acoustic ecology, which hears noise as ‘bad’ to silence’s ‘good’; and what I refer to as the ‘poetics of transgression’, which frequently features in accounts of noise music. The book is out now. Continue reading