This is an experimental format for academic publications in/with/through sound, developed in Copenhagen in 2015 as part of the “Fluid Sounds, Fluid States” conference, and later edited in Berlin. The format follows insights I’ve developed in my article published in Design Issues. The “Audio Paper Manifesto” written by the organizers can also be read here.
This audio paper is an experimental fusion of Speculative and Critical Design (SCD) with sound-based research methods. It is part of an ongoing investigation into the politics of designing for sound, and its accountability for the configuration of violent soundscapes. Due to its speculative nature, the delivery of the paper assumes a storytelling format, in which (half) imaginary auditory worlds and speculative devices are presented to the listener as if already part of a distant past; political nuances and overtones of this world are only hinted at but never fully explained, leaving the task of filling the gaps to the listener herself. The narrator – someone that might be a researcher, an activist or a concerned citizen – gives a few clues as to where to situate the story: events that happened in the “past” (from the point of view where the audio paper starts, that is, our near-future) are presented as if they are well-known episodes, but no exact dates are given. The voice over describes how these episodes were chronicled by “official accounts”, while at the same time offering the listener a series of “archaeological specimens” which tell another story – one that investigates how listening devices might be deployed as tools for subversion and political resistance.
Image credit: Graphics by Signe Lupnov, photo by Sanne Krogh Groth